About James Carse

James P. Carse

For much of my thirty years at NYU I was the sole Professor of Religion. The Program in Religious Studies relied on the part-time contributions of members of other departments, especially Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, and Classics–altogether a gifted roster of academics. Two introductory courses–one on the religions of the West, the other religions of the East–were offered each year. Professor Frank Peters, renowned scholar and widely published author, taught highly popular courses on early Christianity and the relations between the three principal religions of the West. His course on Jesus and Muhammad was a particular favorite. My own teaching focused more on the encounter between religious thought and such secular fields as science, philosophy, literature, and political theory. The range of these interests is evident in the titles of courses I taught over the years: “Theism, Atheism, and Existentialism,” “The Perfect Society,” “Modern Religious Movements and Counter-movements,” “World Mythology,” and “The Meanings of Death.” 

My own published work reflects the broad interests I brought to the study of religion and its place in the world. My first novel, PhDeath, to be published in the Fall of 2016, grew out of a life-long dedication to the institutions of higher education (I went to school at the age of five and never left) and profound alarm at the self-inflicted degradation of the university–which, after all, is Western civilization’s noblest creation. (More comments on the page describing the unusual nature and purpose of PhDeath.)