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John D'Arcy May

Research Fellow


John D’Arcy May was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1942. He holds the degrees of STL (Università Gregoriana, Rome, 1969); Dr. theol. (Ecumenics) (Münster, 1975); Dr. phil. (History of Religions) (Frankfurt, 1983). He was wissenschaftlicher Assistent at the Catholic Ecumenical Institute, Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Münster, 1975-1982; Ecumenical Research Officer with the Melanesian Council of Churches, Port Moresby, and Research Associate at the Melanesian Institute, Goroka, Papua New Guinea, 1983-87; Director, Irish School of Ecumenics, Dublin, 1987-1990; Associate Professor of Interfaith Dialogue, ISE, 1987-2007.

He is now a Senior Research Fellow of ISE and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He is also Adjunct Professor of Australian Catholic University’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Interreligious Dialogue in Melbourne. He has been a visiting professor in Fribourg, Switzerland (1982); Frankfurt, Germany (1988); Wollongong, Australia (1994); Tilburg, Netherlands (1996); Australian Catholic University, Sydney (2001); Istituto Trentino di Cultura, Centro per le Studie Religiose, Italy (2006); Zentrum für interkulturelle Theologie und Studium der Religionen, University of Salzburg (2008); and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Interreligious Dialogue, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne (2009).


Meaning, Consensus and Dialogue in Buddhist-Christian Communication: A Study in the Construction of Meaning (Berne: Peter Lang, 1984);

[ed.] Living Theology in Melanesia: A Reader (Goroka: The Melanesian Institute,1985); Christus Initiator. Theologie im Pazifik (Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1990);

[ed.] Pluralism and the Religions: The Theological and Political Dimensions (London: Cassell, 1998);

After Pluralism: Towards an Interreligious Ethic (Münster-Hamburg-London: Lit Verlag, 2000);

Transcendence and Violence: The Encounter of Buddhist, Christian and Primal Traditions (New York and London: Continuum, 2003);

[ed.] Converging Ways? Conversion and Belonging in Buddhism and Christianity (St Ottilien: EOS Verlag, 2006).

Research Interests

His current research interests concern the emergence of Buddhist theology and the possibility of a ‘collaborative’ Buddhist-Christian theology, and the reconception of the ecumenical and ecumenics.

Areas of expertise

Religious pluralism, ethics in multicultural societies, Buddhism and the Christian dialogue with Asian religions, Religion in Australasia and the Pacific islands, religion and ecology


Ph.D., History of Religions, University of Frankfurt
Dr. Theol. In Ecumenics, University of Munster
S.T.L., Gregoriana University, Rome

Select publications

Converging Ways? Conversion and Belonging in Buddhism and Christianity. Sankt Otillien: EOS, 2007.

Transcendence and Violence: The Encounter of Buddhist, Christian and Primal Traditions, London & New York: Continuum, 2003.

After Pluralism: Towards an Interreligious Ethic, Munster: LIT Verlag, 1999.