René Gothóni
Humanist of the day

René Gothóni

René Gothóni is a scholar of the study of religions specialising in monasteries, pilgrimage and hermeneutics. In addition to academic monographs, professor Gothóni has published works of non-fiction and study material as well as fiction and songs, all of which draw on his knowledge in the fields of the study of religions and the psychology of religion. Gothóni is the first Professor of Comparative Religion at the Faculty of Arts.

René Gothóni

10.4.1950, Helsinki

Master of Theology 1973 and Doctor of Theology 1983 (study of religions), University of Helsinki

Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Helsinki 2003-

Senior Lecturer in Comparative Religion 1984-2003; acting Professor of Comparative Religion 1985; Clare Hall Visiting Fellow, Cambridge, UK 1989-90; acting Professor of Comparative Religion 1993-94; Director of the Orthodox Monasticism and Society project funded by the Academy of Finland 1993-96; acting Professor of Comparative Religion 1995-97; Docent of Comparative Religion 1996-2001; Professor of Comparative Religion 2001-03 (fixed-term)

Publications, research projects and other academic activities
Research topics: comparative religion, specialising in comparative and empirical research on religious traditions

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Written by René Gothóni and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

At the beginning of his career, Professor Gothóni conducted fieldwork among the Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. He defended his doctoral dissertation on Theravāda monks in 1982. The unique self-governed monastic state of Mount Athos, with its pilgrimage sites, provided an excellent point of comparison for his interest in monasteries.

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  • World Council of Churches grant for fieldwork in Sri Lanka 1974-75
  • Finnish Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge 1989–90
  • The Oskar Öflund Foundation main award 1998
  • Patron of the Friends of Mount Athos (Oxford) 2005-
  • Knight, First Class, Order of the White Rose of Finland 2011
René Gothóni in Sri Lanka conducting fieldwork among Buddhist monks, 1974. Kuva: © Raili Gothóni​​
René Gothóni in Sri Lanka
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