Mark W. Muesse was born in Waco, Texas in 1957 and attended Baylor University, where he received a B.A., summa cum laude, in English Literature (1979). He also attended Harvard University, where he earned a Masters of Theological Studies (1981), a Masters of Arts (1983), and a Ph.D. in The Study of Religion (1987). At Harvard, his principal teachers were Gordon D. Kaufman, Richard R. Niebuhr, and Sharon Welch in theology and Wilfred Cantwell Smith, William Graham, and Diana L. Eck in religion. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the relationship between liberalism and fundamentalism.
Muesse has taught at Harvard College, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Southern Maine, where he also served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Muesse came to Rhodes College in 1988 as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and became Associate Professor in 1995. He served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Director of the Life:Then and Now program from 2004-2008. He currently holds the W. J. Millard Chair in Religious Studies and directs the Asian Studies program.
At Rhodes, he teaches courses in world religions and philosophy, modern theology, and spirituality. In 2007, he received national recognition by Fortress Press, which presented him with its Undergraduate Teaching Award at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in San Diego. In 2008, he received the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching, Rhodes′ highest honor for a member of its faculty. He was a 2011 recipient of the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Viswayogi Viswamji Foundation for Universal Integration and Peace in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, for “outstanding and dedicated community service and exceptional efforts to promote ‘human values and culture.’”
He has produced four lecture series and companion books for The Great Courses: The Great Religions: Hinduism; Religions of the Axial Age; Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad; and Practicing Mindfulness. He is the author of many articles and reviews in comparative religions and theology. His books include Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities and The Hindu Traditions: A Concise Introduction, which was awarded a Certificate of Special Distinction by the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies. His most recent book, The Age of Sages: The Axial Age in Asia and the Near East, was published by Fortress Press in 2013.
Muesse has also been Visiting Professor of Theology at the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in Madurai, India. He has traveled extensively throughout Asia and has studied at International Buddhist Meditation Centre, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Bangkok, Thailand; the Himalayan Yogic Institute, Kathmandu, Nepal; the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey; and the Subodhi Institute in Piliyandala, Sri Lanka. His wife Dhammika, a native of Sri Lanka, teaches in the Rhodes Chemistry Department. They have a daughter, Ariyana, who is a fourth grader at St. Mary′s Episcopal School in Memphis.
We′ve all heard of theism and atheism, but what is mysticism? Muesse sheds light on this approach to the nature of ultimate reality and explains why it′s relevant to our time.
B.A., Baylor University (Phi Beta Kappa)
Religious Studies 102 - THE BIBLE: TEXTS AND CONTEXTS
Religious Studies 255 - RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS OF INDIA
Religious Studies 258 - SPIRITUALITY WEST & EAST
Religious Studies 258/Philosophy 250 - ASIAN PHILOSOPHIES
Religious Studies 300 - THE FOUR WISE MEN: CONFUCIUS, BUDDHA, JESUS AND MUHAMMAD