Religious Studies Department

Dr. Jay McDaniel

Dr. Jay McDanielProfessor of Religion 
(501) 450-1366

Ph.D., Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University
B.A., English Literature and Philosophy, Vanderbilt University


Teaching and Research Interests:

  • Constructive Religious Thought
  • Contemporary Christian Theology
  • Contemporary Buddhist Thought
  • Inter-Religious Dialogue
  • Process Philosophy and Theology
  • Religion and Ecology
  • Mysticism, Meditation and Prayer
  • Chinese Culture and Philosophy 

Personal Statement:

Trained in the philosophy of religion and theology, my specialty is Process or Whiteheadian thought.  My Ph.D. dissertation was on Whitehead and Buddhism, with particular focus on whether and how, with help from Whitehead's way of thinking, human beings might jointly awaken to the wisdom of Buddhist enlightenment and simultaneously live from faith in God.  Since writing the dissertation many years ago, I have had the privilege of teaching the religions of the world, and my interests have grown to include them all.  Even though all religious traditions are finite and none can be said to have all the truth, I am impressed with the various kinds of wisdom that each contains: wisdom that seems relevant not only to their adherents but also to the wider world.  I am simultaneously impressed by the need on the part of people in the many different traditions to develop forms of awareness that are sensitive to the value of the more-than-human world- that is, the plants and animals, the hills and rivers- and to engage in dialogue with one another for the sake of peace and mutual transformation.  Accordingly, I have written books on religion and ecology, religion and inter-religious dialogue, and spirituality in an age of consumerism.  My current interest is to see how these myriad concerns might unfold in China.  I have taken students to China several times and have made many good friends in China myself, thanks to the work of the China Project, which is based at the Center for Process Studies in Claremont, California.  In the summer of 2006 I taught the first annual "Whitehead Summer Academy" in China, taking three Hendrix students with me as teaching assistants.

My aim as a teacher at Hendrix is to help students understand how people live and think in different parts of the world when they are shaped by religious points of view.  It is also to help students develop "philosophies" and "theologies" of their own in dialogue with the many religions and also with people who are not interested in religion.  I think of myself as a "constructive theologian" and encourage my students to recognize that they, too, can be creative thinkers in their own right.  Understanding others and creatively responding to what one learns: these are the guiding ideals of my teaching.


Projects and Publications:

Books and Edited Collections:

  • What is Process Thought?  Seven Answers to Seven Questions.  P&F Press, 2008.
  • Gandhi’s Hope: Learning From World Religions as a Way to Peace.  Orbis Press, 2005.
  • Process Theology: A Handbook.  Co-edited with Donna Bowman.  Chalice Press, 2005.
  • Living from the Center: Spirituality in the Age of Consumerism.  Chalice Press, 2000. 

Articles and Dictionary Entries:

  • “Nine Guidelines for the Greening of Religion” The Journal of Religion and Society Supplement Series:  The Greening of Papacy, Ch. 10, (pp118-32), Supplement 9 – 2013.
  • Jay McDaniel, “Environmental Theology, Ch. 66, The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought, available in May, 2013.  PDF version of article available now
  • “Religion and Environment” The Journal of Religion and Society Supplement Series, Ch. 6, (pp109-31), Supplement Series – September 2008.
  • I Listen Therefore I Am: An Asian American Approach to Post-Materialist Living.”  Dialog, Volume 49, Issue 4, Winter 2010 (323-331)