SHARPE, Eric John. Lancaster 19.9.1933 — Sydney 19.10.2000. British Scholar of Comparative Religion in Australia. Born in a working class family, educated in Lancaster. In his teens became close to Methodist church and began studies at Hartley Victoria College in Manchester to become minister, but turned to History of Religions and was never ordained. In 1954-58 at Manchester University, B.A. and M.A. under S. G. F. Brandon. From 1958 further studies in Sweden, 1965 Dr.theol. Uppsala, in Church History and Missiology. From 1966 taught at Manchester, from 1970 Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Lancaster (collaborated with N. Smart), 1975-76 Reader. In 1977-96 the first Professor of Religious Studies at Sydney, founding a new department. Retired 1996. Married 1962 Birgitta Johannesson.
The phenomenology of religion, the history of modern Christian mission, and inter-religious dialogue are mentioned as his main interests.
Publications: Diss. Not to Destroy but to Fulfil: the Contribution of J. N. Farquhar to Protestant Missionary Thought in India before 1914. 387 p. Studia Missionalia Upsaliensia 5. Lund 1965.
– Edited with John R. Hinnels: Hinduism. 224 p. Newcastle 1972.
– Comparative Religion. A History. 16+311 p. L. 1975.
–“Sadhu Sundar Singh and his critics: An episode in the meeting of East and West”, Religion 6, 1976, 48-66.
– Faith Meets Faith: some Christian attitudes to Hinduism in the nineteenth and twentieth Centuries. 178 p. L. 1977.
– The Universal Gita. Western images of the Bhagavadgita: a bicentenary survey. 204 p. L. 1985.
– Nathan Söderblom and the Study of Religion. 258 p. Chapel Hill 1990.
– Many further publications, e.g. in Religion.
Sources: Arvind Sharma, Religion 31, 2001, 63-66; *G. Trompf, Australian Religion Studies Review 14, 2001, 128-131; Wikipedia (with more publications); CV and bibliography in This Immense Panorama: Studies in Honour of Eric J. Sharpe. Sydney 1999.
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