Associate Professor

Dr. John Thompson

  • PhD, Graduate Theological Union
  • MTS, Boston University
  • BA, College of William and Mary

Office: McMurran 119
Phone: (757) 594-7457

Areas of Specialization:
Asian religions, Buddhism, Chinese religious thought, Hinduism, Islam, world religions, mysticism and spirituality, comparative philosophy, globalization, Chinese and Japanese culture, religion in America, interreligious dialogue, religion and science

Book Publications: 

  • Sacred Matters, Stately Concerns: Essays on Faith and Politics in Asia. Editor. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., under contract.   
  • Understanding Prajnā: Sengzhao’s ‘Wild Words’ and the Search for Wisdom. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2008.   
  • Buddhism. Vol. 3 in the Student’s Guide to World Religions. Ed. Lee Bailey. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006. 

Articles, Reviews, and Book Chapters:

  • “Contemplating the Horrible: Confronting Buddhist Terrorism.” In The Root of All Evil? Religious Perspectives on Terrorism, edited by Lori J. Underwood, 64-98. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2013.
  • “Huineng.” Dictionary of Chinese Biography. Ed. Kerry Brown. Berkshire Publishing Group, forthcoming.
  • “Huineng.” Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism. Ed. Richard Payne. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • “The Bhakta and the Sage: An Intertextual Dialogue.” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy. (Forthcoming). Special issue on The Bhagavad Gita and Chinese Thought. 
  • “Mixed up on ‘Matching Terms’ (geyi): Issues and Confusions in Cross-Cultural Translation.” Brahman and Dao: Comparative Studies of Indian and Chinese Philosophy and Religion. Ed. Ithmar Theodor and Zhihua Yao. Lexington Books, forthcoming.   
  • “’Religion,’ ‘Violence,’ and ‘Peace’: Problems with Definitions and Assumptions.” Living in Peace: Insights from World Religions. Ed. Chanju Mun and Ronald S. Green. Honolulu: Blue Pine Press, 2012.   
  • “Learning by Reciting.” Teaching Theology and Religion 15: 2 (2012): 157.     
  • “Reconceiving Philosophy as Bodily Discipline: Clues from Master Zhu.” An Anthology of Philosophical Studies. Vol. 5. Ed. Patricia Hanna. Athens: ATINER, 2011.   
  • “Foreword.” Aimin Shen, The Limits of Language: A Comparative Study of Kant, Wittgenstein, and Lao Tzu. New York: the Edwin Mellen Press, 2011.    
  • “Buddhism in America: Seeking Nirvana in the USA.” Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture 45.2 (2010): 78-94.
  • “Dharma for Bums and Angels: Musing on Jack Kerouac, Buddhism, and The Scripture of the Golden Eternity.” Memory and Imagination: Essays and Explorations in Buddhist Thought and Culture. Ed. Eisho Nasu and Dr. Ronald Y. Nakasone Festschrift Committee. Kyoto: Nagata Bunshodo, 2010. 
  • Gibbons, Jeffrey A., Lee, Sherman, and Timani, Hussam S.“The Islamophobia Scale: Instrument Development and Initial Validation.”  International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 19.2 (2009): 92-105.
  • “The Stūpa: Marker of Sacred, Political and Economic Power.” Explorations in Media Ecology 8.4 (2009): 265-282.     
  • “Awakening to Mortality: Buddhist Views of Death and Dying.” Ultimate Journey: Death and Dying in the World’s Major Religions. Ed. Steven J. Rosen. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2008.   
  • Berling, Judith and Foy, Geoffrey. “Imagine Teaching the Daode Jing!” Teaching the Daode Jing. Ed. Gary DeAngelis and Warren Frisina. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • “Cosmic Body: Zhou Dunyi’s Understanding of Taiji.” Philosophia 37:1 (2008): 14-22.
  • “The Tower of Power’s Finest Hour: Stūpa Construction and Veneration in the Lotus Sūtra.” Southeast Review of Asian Studies (SERAS) 30 (2008): 119-136.   
  • Various entries on Confucianism and Daoism. Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Ed. Edward A. Irons. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2008.
  • “Fumbling the Flywhisk: the ‘Hidden’ Complexities of Buddho-Daoist Debate.” From Ancient Greek to Asian Philosophy. Ed. Elizabeth Hoppe and Ronald Weed. Athens: ATINER, 2007.   
  • “Huineng (Hui-neng), 638-713 CE.” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. James Fieser and Bradley Dowden, 2006. Web.
  • “Particular and Universal: Problems Posed by Shaku Soen’s ‘Zen’.” Papers of the Nineteenth Century Theology Group. Vol. 36.  Ed. Elizabeth Dreyer, Harvey Hill, and Walter E. Wyman. Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2005.   
  • “Navigating a ‘Floating World’: Teaching Basho as a Way towards Global Citizenship.” The International Journal of the Humanities 1 (2003): 1655-1667.   
  • “Philosopher as Exemplar: Daoan’s Dao.” Religion East & West 3 (2003): 59-77.   
  • “Meditations on the ‘Ruthlessness’ of Heaven and Earth.” The Empty Vessel: A Journal of Contemporary Taoism 9 (2003): 19-21.   
  • “Reflections on Structure(s) in Chinese Spirit Tales.” International Review of Chinese Religion & Philosophy 3 (1998): 3-44.
  • “Buddhism as the Extension of Filial Respect.” Vajrabodhi Sea: A Monthly Journal of Orthodox Buddhism 27 (Dec 1996, Jan and Feb 1997). 
  • “Cochise: Shepherd of his People.” The Chesopeian: A Journal of North American Archaeology 25 (1987): 12-17.

Select Presentations:

  • “Entering the Chrono-synclastic infundibula – The Sirens of Titan in the Religious Studies Classroom.Annual Meeting of the AAR. Chicago, IL.  November 2012. Conference Presentation.
  • “The Loveliest Lass in the Lotus – Looking Closely at the Naga-king’s Daughter.” The Virginia Humanities Conference. Roanoke College. Roanoke, VA. April 2012. Panel Presentation.
  • "Religion and Social Justice." Norfolk Interfaith Lecture Series.  Co-sponsored by RUMI Forum and Christopher Newport University Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Newport News, VA. January 2012. Guest Speaker.
  • “Turkey – Overview of Culture and Religion.” Warwick United Church of Christ. Newport News, VA. March 2011. Guest Speaker.
  • “Views on Faith & Sexuality: CNU Faculty Panel.” Office of Student Activities-Diversity Initiatives (OSADI). Newport News, VA. October 2011. Invited Speaker.
  • “The Bhakta and the Sage.” Annual meeting of the AAR. San Francisco, CA.  November 2011. Conference Presentation.
  • “Reconceiving Philosophy as Bodily Discipline: Clues from Master Zhu.” Fifth International Conference on Philosophy. Athens Institute for Education and Research. Athens, Greece. May 31- June 2, 2010. Conference Presentation.
  • “Liminal or Liminoid: Transgression in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Biography.” SECSOR. Atlanta, GA.  March 2010. Conference Presentation.
  • “Faithful Neighbors: Conversations About God.” Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. Newport News, VA. January 10 and 17, 2010. Guest Speaker.
  • “Denouncing Violence in the name of GOD.” Co-sponsored by RUMI Forum and CNU Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Newport News, VA. 4 April 2009. Invited Speaker.
  • “Dharma for Bums and Angels: Musing on Jack Kerouac, Buddhism, and The Scripture of the Golden Eternity,” Annual Meeting of the Modern Languages Association. Philadelphia, PA.  December 2009. Conference Presentation.
  • “Forcing the Buddha to Show Himself: Early Pure Land ‘Mystical’ Visualization.” Annual Meeting of the AAR. Chicago, IL.  November 2008. Conference Presentation.
  • “The Tower of Power’s Finest Hour.” SEC/AAS. Hilton Head, S.C. January 2008. Conference Presentation.
  • “The Stūpa – Place of Meeting(s) Sacred and Profane.” The Lotus and the Cross: East-West Exchange Along the Silk Road. San Francisco, CA. 21 September 2007. Symposium Presentation.
  • “American Religion.” TiNA Program, Christopher Newport University. Newport News, VA. Summer 2006. Guest Lecturer.
  • Interfaith Forums: “Women in the World’s Religions,” “The Afterlife in the World’s Religions,” “War in the World’s Religions.” Christopher Newport University. Newport News, VA. March 2006-Spring 2007. Panel participant.
  • “The Stūpa: the Buddha’s Sacralizing Presence in Absentia.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association. San Antonio, TX. November 2006. Conference Presentation.