American Academy of Religion


Since 1970, the American Academy of Religion (AAR) has hosted the world’s largest gathering of scholars interested in the study of religion.

At this year’s conference, held in Baltimore from November 23-26, 2013, Dr. Ithamar Theodor from Haifa University has been selected to present a paper on the unique theological contribution of Hridayananda das Goswami (Dr. Howard J. Resnick) during one of the conference’s panel sessions organized by the Dharma Academy of North America (DANAM).

Dr. Theodor’s paper is entitled “Howard Resnick Rationalizing the Theology of Bhaktivedanta Swami.” The following is an abstract of his essay:

Bhaktivedanta Swami came to the West and disseminated his teaching in English; perhaps more than anyone else, his teachings were intellectualized by Dr. Howard J. Resnick, whose scholarly career was divided between acting as a Hare Krishna Guru and as a scholar of Western Academia.

Resnick articulates his ideas with a certain passion, which combines Indian spirituality with a Western commitment to rationality and reason. In doing so, he seems to transcend the dichotomy of East and West, being free from both Indian or Hindu Nationalism as well as Western Orientalism. Resnick seems to aspire to construct a global, rational and faithful philosophy or theology from the Vedic and Neo Vedic tradition, or a restoration of a classical renaissance of ancient Indian harmony between the physical and the metaphysical sciences. Resnick bases this worldview on certain Vaishnava elements of the classical Indian/Hindu tradition with an emphasis on the Bhagavad-gita, relevant aspects of the Epic and the Puranic literatures, the later medieval Bhakti traditions, and the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. In the sphere of ethics, he advocates the basic metaphysical principles of yoga, highlighting austerity, simplicity, renunciation and non accumulation as values representing spirituality.

Apparently, Resnick aims at furthering a theistic worldview which may revert the deterioration of dharma and morality. This worldview would have to be not only theistic but personalistic as well, i.e. it would include a Personal Supreme Being.

For more information regarding the conference, the complete AAR online program book can be found here.