John Thompson

Honors Program - Department of Philosophy and Religion

John Thompson


McMurran Hall 265
(757) 594-8778


  • Ph D in Cultural and Hist Study of Religion, Graduate Theological Union
  • MTS in Philosophy, Theology, Ethics, Boston University
  • BA in Philosophy, The College of William and Mary


Buddhism, Asian Religious Thought (particularly Chinese and Japanese), Religion and Violence, World Religions, Scripture, Mysticism and Spirituality, Comparative Philosophy and

Religion, Myth and Ritual, Religion and Popular culture


Same as Teaching Interests.


The younger son of a staunchly Southern Presbyterian family, John has travelled to places as varied as Greece (where he met his wife) and Asia. He lives in Williamsburg with his wife and 2 daughters.

  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2020). Aṅgulimāla: Buddha’s Original ‘Super Foe’. University of Mississippi Press. Pages, 95-105.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2020). Lessons from Fred Rogers’ Dao. Open Court Publishing. Pages, 157-165.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2019). Envisioning a Dharmic Society: Retelling a Traditional Buddhist Tale. Palgrave Macmillan. Pages, 125-158.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2019). When Father doesn't know best: Dharmic Conversion in Chapter 27 of the Lotus Sutra. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Pages, 61-80.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2018). Forgiving the Unforgiveable: The Buddha and Aṅgulimāla. Vernon Press. Pages, 133-149.
  • Conference Proceeding
    (2018). “Bearing the Unbearable: Buddha’s Lesson to Aṅgulimāla (and us all)”. The Virginia Humanities Conference. Pages, 80-95.
  • Book Review
    (2018). Review of Refiguring the Body: Embodiment in South Asian Religions. Nova Religio. Volume, 21. Issue, 4. Pages, 116-117.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2017). Buddhist Scripture and Moral Injury: Reflections on the Story of Aṅgulimāla. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Pages, 169-189.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2017). Crazy Like a Fox: Mulder, Madness, and the Cultural Definition of Sanity". Open Court.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2017). The Mystic with the Mouth. Open Court. Pages, 299-310.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2015). “ ‘In that time . . .’ in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Epic Myth-Understandings and Myth- Appropriation in Star Wars,”. Wiley-Blackwell. Pages, 10.
  • Encyclopedia Article
    (2015). “Zhou Dunyi (Chou Tun-i), 1017-73 CE”. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    (2015). “Ahimsā and its Ambiguities: Reading the story of Buddha and Aṅgulimāla,”. Open Theology. Volume, 1. Issue, Topical Issue on "Violence of Non-Violence".
  • John Thompson, Sacred Texts and Human Contexts Conference: Mystical Traditions – Approaches to Peaceful Co-existence, "Peacefully ‘fighting’ the Dark Side: Lessons from Buddha and Jesus," Rome, Italy. (2020)
  • John Thompson, Annual Meeting of the Virginia Humanities Conference, "Thinking like an Ancestor: Making the Future Here and Now," James Madison University. (2020)
  • John Thompson, Annual Conference of the American Academy of Religion, "Who is REALLY your Friend? – ‘Good Friends’ in the Lotus," San Diego, CA. (2019)
  • John Thompson, Sacred Texts and Human Contexts: Religions and the (De)Legitimation of Violence, ""Speak Dhamma bit Carry a Big Stick: The Specter of Violence in Early Buddhist Discourse"," Nazareth College, Rochester, NY. (2018)
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