737 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824
Religions in North America; Mysticism; Esoteric Religion; New Religious Movements; Asian Religions; Religion and Non-Profits; Religion and Politics
Arthur Versluis is Professor of Religious Studies in the College of Arts & Letters. His doctoral work at the University of Michigan was on American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions, subsequently published under that title by Oxford University Press. He also specializes in esoteric religion, and in particular, Christian theosophy (the tradition of esoteric Christianity that begins with Jacob Böhme (1575-1624), discussed in a trilogy of books on that theme, Theosophia, (Lindisfarne, 1994), Wisdom’s Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition (SUNY Press, 1999), and Wisdom’s Book: The Sophia Anthology, (Paragon House, 2000). Other books on Western esotericism include The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2001), Restoring Paradise, (SUNY Press, 2004), and his survey of the field, Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism (Rowman Littlefield, 2006). This book derived from a popular course that he created here at MSU with the same title, Magic and Mysticism (REL 275). He is editor of JSR: Journal for the Study of Radicalism. Some of his more recent books include American Gurus: From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion (Oxford University Press, 2014), Platonic Mysticism (SUNY Press, 2017), and American Gnosis: Political Religion and Transcendence (Oxford University Press, 2023).
Prof. Versluis enjoys teaching; his courses are dynamic, and they often cover material that you will not encounter anywhere else.
Prof. Versluis has long been active in scholarly organizations devoted to the study of religion as well as in founding and directing several non-profit organizations, and is the founding president of Hieros (hieros.institute), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that furthers exploring transreligious dimensions of the sacred in contemporary life. He is very interested in the study, development, and practices of social entrepreneurship, especially in connection to the study of religion. Among other courses, he teaches REL 285, Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship and Religion, so far as we know, the first course of its kind in a Religious Studies curriculum. In our innovative new Masters degree online program, his teaching areas include GNL 823 Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Religion, GNL 824, Social Entrepreneurship and Religion: Case Studies, GNL 825, Creativity in Organizations, and GNL 826, Flourishing Under Stress.