Professor Joel Smith

Joel Smith
Associate Professor

Office:  Ladd 217
Phone:  (518)-580-5407

M.A. in Religion, Vanderbilt University (1984)
Ph.D. in Philosophy, Vanderbilt University (1977)
M.A. in Philosophy, Vanderbilt University (1970)
B.A. in Philosophy, Carleton College (1966)

Teaching and Research Interests:

Philosophy of Religion, Comparative Philosophy, Existentialism, Buddhism, Hinduism 

I have cross-disciplinary interests in Western philosophy and religion, and in Asian philosophy and religion.

In Western philosophy, my interests focus on existential philosophy (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus) and comparative philosophy of religion.  In Asian philosophy, my interests focus on the Madhyamika schools in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, the Kyoto school in Japanese Buddhism, and the Vedanta schools in Hindu philosophy.
In religion, my interests focus on comparative philosophy of religion, Hindu and Buddhist religion in the Himalayas, Hindu Goddesses, Christian theology, and religious art and literature in selected traditions.

I have conducted field research in India nine times, as well as in Japan, China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC), Thailand, and Burma (Kampuchea).   I have led or co-led three undergraduate study programs in India and mentored individual undergraduate research projects in India three times.  I was a co-founder and board member of the New York State Independent College Consortium for Study in India, 1990-2008.  I served on the board of ASIANetwork, 1999-2003.  I was a founding member of the Saratoga Hospital Ethics Committee, 1984-1988.

Published Works:

1. “Creation, Fall, and Theodicy in Paul Tillich’s Systematic Theology” in John J. Carey (ed.), Kairos and Logos:  Studies in the Roots and Implications of Tillich’s Theology (Cambridge, Mass:  North American Paul Tillich Society, 1978); the book was reprinted by Mercer University Press in 1984.

2. “Religious Diversity, Hindu-Christian Dialogue, and Bede Griffiths” in  Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium of Asian Studies, 1986 (Hong Kong:  Asian Research Service, 1987).

3. “Nishitani and Nietzsche on the Selfless Self” in Asian Philosophy, Vol. 4 No. 2, 1994.

4. “Human Insufficiency in Shinran and Kierkegaard” in Asian Philosophy, Vol. 6 No. 2, 1996.

5. “Masao Abe on Negativity in the East and the West” in Donald W. Mitchell (ed.), Masao Abe:  A Zen Life of Dialogue (Boston:  Charles E. Tuttle & Co., 1998).

6. Book review of The Concept of Bodhicitta in Shantideva’s Bodhicaryavatara (SUNY Press, 2000) in International Journal of Hindu Studies, Vol. 4 No. 2, 2000.

7. Book review of The Adornment of the Middle Way:  Shantarakshita’s Madhymakalankara with Commentary by Jamgon Mipham (Shambhala, 2005) in East-West Connections:  Review of Asian Studies 6.1 (2006).

 Works in Progress:

1.“Jesus Was not a Bodhisattva:  Jesus, Shantideva, and the Dalai Lama on Compassion”

2.“Purity and Pollution at the Ganges:  The Transcendent and Immanent Goddess”

3. “Transcendence Embodied:  Christian Trinity and Buddhist Trikaya

4. “Buddhist Upaya and Religious Pluralism”


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