a simple picture of Bill Parsons, with a Rice building in the background

William B. Parsons is Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. He has written and edited several books, including The Enigma of the Oceanic Feeling (Oxford, 1999), Teaching Mysticism (Oxford, 2011), Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain (Routledge, 2001), Mourning Religion (Virginia, 2008), Freud in Dialogue with Augustine: Psychoanalysis, Mysticism, and the Culture of Modern Spirituality (Virginia, 2013) as well as dozens of essays in multiple journals and books. He has served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies (Rice University), as Director of the Humanities Research Center (Rice University), as Editor (the psychology of religion section) with Religious Studies Review and is Associate Editor of the International Series in the Psychology of Religion. He has been a Fellow at the Martin Marty Center of the University of Chicago and at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) at Hebrew University.

Courses:
Reli 334: Psychology of Religion
Reli 336: Religion and the Social Sciences
Reli 337: Shamans, Saints, Sages
Reli 430/584: Religion. Psychology, Culture
Reli 428/559: History and Methods
Reli 458/558: Mysticism: Theories and Methods

Awards:
Teaching
2012-13 Scholar/Honor Athlete Favorite Professor Award
2010-11 George R. Brown Prize for Superior Teaching (Rice University)
[Four time Finalist, 2013-2016]
2010-11 Outstanding Teaching Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, Brown College (Rice University)
2006-07 Outstanding Teaching Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, Brown College (Rice University)
2005-06 Outstanding Teaching Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences Division, Brown College (Rice University)
1994-05 Finalist, Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award for Assistant Professors

Service
2009-10 Distinguished Faculty Associate, Brown College (Rice University)
2007-08 Outstanding Faculty Associate, Brown College (Rice University: $3,000)
2003-04 Distinguished Faculty Associate, Brown College (Rice University)

Fellowships/Honors
2018 (Spring) Humanities Research Center (Rice University) Faculty Fellowship
2016 (Spring) Humanities Research Center Conference Grant ($2700)
2016 (Spring) Boniuk Center Conference Grant ($5000)
2008-09 Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University (Spring)
1993 Marc P. Galler Prize for “Most Distinguished Dissertation” in the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Chicago ($3000)
1990-91 Fellow, Institute for the Advanced Study of Religion (Martin Marty Center), University of Chicago

Professional Service:
2017- Advisory Board, Institute of Jewish Spirituality and Society
2013-present Advisory Board, After Spirituality: Studies in Mystical Traditions, P. Wexler and J. Garb, Series Editors
2012-present Associate Editor, International Series in the Psychology of Religion
2009-10 Chair (Interim), Department of Religion, Rice University
2008-09 Director (Interim), Humanities Research Center, Rice University (Fall)
2003-present Editor (Psychology of Religion), Religious Studies Review
2003-present Advisory Board, Fresh Pond Institute (Evolutionary Biology and Culture)
2001-2004 Chair, Department of Religion, Rice University

Books

  • 2023 Freud's Monotheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2021 Freud and Religion: Advancing the Dialogue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • 2013 Freud and Augustine in Dialogue: Psychoanalysis, Mysticism, and the Culture of Modern Spirituality. Charlottesville/London: The University of Virginia Press.
  • 1999 The Enigma of the Oceanic Feeling: Revisioning the Psychoanalytic Theory of Mysticism. New York: Oxford University Press.

Edited Books

  • 2018 Being Spiritual but Not Religious: Past, Present, Future. New York: Routledge Press.
  • 2016 Social Religion. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan.
  • 2011 Teaching Mysticism. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • 2010 Disciplining Freud on Religion. Lanham, MD.: Rowman Littlefield/Lexington. (Co-edited with Gregory Kaplan).
  • 2008 Mourning Religion. Charlottesville/London: The University of Virginia Press. (Co-edited with Diane Jonte-Pace and Susan Henking).
  • 2001 Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain. New York: Routledge Press. (Co-edited with Diane Jonte-Pace).

Specialization:
Religion and Culture; Religion and the Social sciences; Modern Spirituality and Mysticism

Academic History:
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1993