Gavin Flood

Humanities (Religion)

Yap Kim Hao Visiting Professor


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Professor Gavin Flood was born in London, raised in Brighton, United Kingdom, and has a keen interest in the arts and humanities. He did his undergraduate and graduate work in Religious Studies at Lancaster University and taught at a number of universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. Before coming to Yale-NUS, Prof Flood was Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion at Oxford University and Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall. He was elected to fellowship of the British Academy in 2014.

Much of Prof Flood’s research has been on Hindu traditions, particularly medieval tantric traditions and their texts, but more recent work has widened to questions of comparative religion and the explanation of religion. His research falls into three broad areas. Firstly, he addresses the question of how we account for the persistence of religion in the global context. This involves an interdisciplinary approach that draws on the harder sciences of evolutionary biology and social cognition as well as hermeneutics and phenomenology. Secondly he addresses the issue of comparison in religion through concrete historical studies (such as of the categories ‘inwardness’ and ‘life’). Thirdly he conducts philological study of Sanskrit texts, specifically an edition from two manuscripts of the Netra Tantra. Prof Flood regards these projects as united by a vision of comparative religion that links deep philological reading to broader philosophical concerns.

The Truth Within: A Comparative History of Inwardness in Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. (Oxford University Press, 2013)

The Importance of Religion: Meaning and Action in Our Strange World. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)

The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation, with Charles Martin. (Norton, 2012)

The Tantric Body: The Secret Tradition of Hindu Religion. London: I.B. Tauris, 2006

The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition. (Cambridge University Press 2006)

Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of religion. (Cassell 1999)

Introduction to Hinduism (Cambridge University Press 1996)

Editor of The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism (Blackwell 2003)

The Self in Comparative Perspective