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Todd Gooch

Todd Gooch with the EKU Colonel Mascot
  • Professor

Bio  •  Curriculum Vitae

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I was born and raised in southern California but spent several summers as a boy on a farm in Lincoln County, Kentucky, that’s been in my family for seven generations, and which it has fallen to me to take care of since coming to EKU in 1999.  Since that time, I have taught 25 different courses here, mostly in the areas of philosophy and religious studies.  These have included courses on world religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as beginning philosophy, Greek and Roman philosophy, and modern philosophy, not to mention upper division electives on Hume and Kant, on Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud, and on the thought of Charles Taylor.  Over the years I have also co-taught, together with faculty from several different departments on campus, interdisciplinary seminars in the EKU Honors Program on topics as diverse as The Rediscovery of Antiquity in the Modern Age and Search for Self.

I am a historian of modern religious thought, which I conceive broadly to include powerful critiques of religion that have emerged since the Enlightenment; challenges to religious belief posed by the astounding growth of scientific and historical knowledge in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and by social dislocations resulting from industrialization, democratization, colonialism and globalization; as well as attempts on the part of major philosophers, theologians and social theorists to respond to these challenges, either by re-conceptualizing traditional religious categories, or else by proposing alternatives to them.

I earned a BA in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1990.  After attending an Episcopal seminary affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, for three semesters, and serving for one year as an intern at a parish in Inglewood, California, I received my MA (1997) and PhD (2000) in philosophy of religion and theology from Claremont Graduate School in southern California.

Just prior to my arrival at EKU, I spent two academic years (from 1997-1999) as a Fulbright scholar conducting doctoral research at the University of Marburg in Germany on an important figure in the newly emergent discipline of religious studies in the twentieth century named Rudolf Otto (1869-1937).  Otto, who was trained as a Protestant theologian, but also wrote books on Hinduism and travelled several times through Asia, is best remembered as the author of a classic book called The Idea of the Holy (1917).  In it, he coined the term “numinous” to refer to the sort of experience of awe-inspiring mystery that he considered to be the essence of religion, and which he found expressed in a variety of forms in a wide and multicultural range of religious texts.  Since the publication of my monograph, The Numinous and Modernity: An Interpretation of Rudolf Otto’s Philosophy of Religion (de Gruyter, 2000), I have on three occasions been invited to participate in academic conferences on Otto in both Germany and Italy and have published several book chapters on various aspects of his thought.

Over the past decade I have also published several book chapters and journal articles on the nineteenth-century philosophical critic of religion, Ludwig Feuerbach, and several related nineteenth-century figures, including Hegel, the Young Hegelians, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.  These publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online), The Oxford History of Nineteenth-Century Germany Philosophy (2015), the Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (2019), The Oxford History of Modern German Theology (forthcoming), and The Journal for the History of Modern Theology (de Gruyter).

From 2013-2018 I served as chair (or co-chair) of the Nineteenth-Century Theology Unit of the American Academy of Religion.


Subject  TitleDatesLocationTerm
HON 308WContesting the ClassicsTR 11:00am-12:15pm University Building 233Fall 2022
HON 310WContesting the ClassicsTR 11:00am-12:15pm University Building 233Fall 2022
HON 320WContesting the ClassicsTR 11:00am-12:15pm University Building 233Fall 2022
PHI 300Greek & Roman PhilosophyTR 2:00pm-3:15pm Combs Building 106Fall 2022
REL 301World ReligionsTR 9:30am-10:45am Wallace Bldg 328Fall 2022
REL 301World Religions  Internet Classes Fall 2022
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