Superheroes, Religion, and the Paranormal

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 10:10 am

Jeffrey Kripal — a prominent religious scholar who also has written about mutants, mystics, comic book superheroes and the paranormal — will deliver two lectures on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

  • Scholars’ Convocation: “Authors of the Impossible: How to Think About the Paranormal”
    Noon, Wednesday, Dec. 4, Rosenfield Center Room 101
  • Religious Studies' annual  Gates Lecture: “Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics and the Paranormal”
    7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, Rosenfield Center Room 101

No tickets are required for these free public performances.

One of the few in his field who advocate including the paranormal in religious studies, Kripal holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought in the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is chiefly interested in the comparative erotics of mystical literature, the history of American metaphysical religion, the history of western esotericism, and the interface between the paranormal and American pop culture.

Kripal is the author of six books, the first of which, Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna, won the American Academy of Religion’s History of Religions Prize for Best First Book in 1995. It also garnered controversy in the western world and India, where activists have attempted to have the book banned.

Two of Kripal’s books — Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred — are being made into documentary films.

Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you need accommodations, please contact Conference Operations at 641-269-3235.