Dr. M. Thomas Thangaraj
Guest Lecturer



      Lecture 1:  Boundaries and Spirituality
                          Monday, October 13, 2014     11:00-11:50 a.m.

      Lecture 2:  Crossing Cultural Boundaries
                          Tuesday, October 14, 2014       9:30-10:20 a.m.

      Lecture 3:  Crossing Musical Boundaries
                          Tuesday, October 14, 2014       1:30-2:20 p.m.

      Lecture 4:  Boundaries and Spirituality
                          Wednesday, October 15, 2014   1:30-2:20 p.m.

All lectures will be held in Crill Performance Hall in the Cooper Music Building on PLNU’s main campus at 3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego. Please contact us with any questions at: philrel@pointloma.edu, or (619) 849-2234.


Dr. M. Thomas Thangaraj, is Professor Emeritus of World Christianity at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA and is currently the Visiting Professor of Global Christianity at Boston University School of Theology in Boston, MA. After serving as a Minister in the Church of South India in the Tirunelveli area, Professor Thangaraj moved to teach at the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary, Madurai, India from 1971 to 1988, before joining the faculty at Emory. He has also taught as Visiting Professor of World Christianity at Harvard Divinity School and served as the D. W. Hughes Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Oklahoma City University.  

Dr. Thangaraj earned his Doctor of Theology degree from Harvard University and was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree Honoris Causa by Lagrange College, LaGrange, GA in 2008. He has been actively involved in programs of interreligious dialogue both at the national and international level and has guest lectured around the world in the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, Norway, Germany, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Cuba, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and India. He served on the Assembly Worship Planning Committee for the Assembly of the World Council of Churches held in Zimbabwe, Africa in 1998 and is a recipient of the Lilly Theological Research Grant of the Association of Theological Schools for the year 2001-2002. Dr. Thangaraj was the William Paton Fellow, Selly Oak Colleges, Selly Oak, United Kingdom (Autumn 2001) and a Visiting Scholar at Pacific School of Religion, Berkley, CA (Spring 1995) and Tainan Theological College and Seminary, Tainan, Taiwan (Spring 2002). For 10 years he was a member of the “Thinking Together” think tank, sponsored by the Office of Inter-Religious Relations of the World Council of Churches, which brings theologians of various religions to think theologically together annually.

Dr. Thangaraj is the author or editor of several books and articles. His publications include, The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christology (Abingdon Press, 1994); Relating to People of Other Religions: What Every Christian Needs to Know (Abingdon Press, 1999); The Common Task: A Theology of Christian Mission (Abingdon Press, 1999); and Discipleship and Dialogue: New Frontiers in Interfaith Engagement, co-edited with Eric Lott and Andrew Wingate (Delhi, ISPCK, 2013).  He is currently working on the book that forms the basis for his PLNU lectures, Journeying through Diversity: Crossing Boundaries as a Spiritual Practice.  

Apart from his academic interests, Professor Thangaraj is keenly interested in South Indian music, both classical and popular, and also in the art of hymnody in Tamil. Twenty of his hymns are now incorporated in the official hymnbook of the churches in Tamilnadu published by Christian Literature Society, Chennai, India. A few of his hymns in English are published in the United States, Sweden, Germany, Norway, and Denmark.