James S. Cutsinger was an author, editor, and teacher whose writings focus primarily on Perennialism and the theology and spirituality of the Christian East. Cutsinger was a professor of Theology and Religious Thought at the University of South Carolina for almost 40 years, and was an advocate of Socratic Teaching. He served as secretary to the Foundation for Traditional Studies, is a widely recognized authority on the Traditionalist or Perennialist school of comparative religion, and is perhaps best known for his work on Frithjof Schuon. In Cutsinger received his B. This has meant calling the bluff on his fellow scholars of religion, the majority of whom have acceded to the dominant scientism of the age and have thus felt obliged to approach their subject as a purely human phenomenon, whether as historians, anthropologists, psychologists, or critical readers of texts.
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If James were asked to characterize himself, he would undoubtedly describe himself first as a seeker; an interrogator of the spiritual elements informing our material experiences of life. But as a close second, perhaps even a twin core identity, would be as a teacher.
Teaching was more than a profession for him, it was part of his personality, that which brought him meaning and joy, without which he could not imagine himself. He loved encouraging students to engage with complex ideas; presenting them with challenging texts and prodding them to develop skillful writing, thoughtfully constructing and presenting their own ideas.
His classes were shaped through Socratic dialogue to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions for further in-depth discussion. Papers were reviewed, extensively annotated, graded with the rigor of a dedicated grammarian and logician, and returned to students as a further lesson in writing well.
Cutsinger, who in turn wholly relished the engagement with honors students. For his honors students Cutsinger developed his own inimitable rubric explaining the grades given on their papers.
Cutsinger enjoyed working with honors students and advanced classes, but he also taught introductory courses with equal attention to the level of the students, while still pushing them to excel at that level.
This is an introductory course, which means that there are no prerequisites and that every effort has been made to explain the subject as simply and straightforwardly as possible. Cutsinger had a deep love for the English language as a vehicle for communicating effectively, creatively, and rationally. He wanted his students to develop mastery of language both in comprehending intricate ideas and in analyzing, discussing and writing about them.
The ideas with which he chose to engage himself, and presented to his students, required a willingness to examine long-held comfortable perspectives and assumptions and to set about exploring unfamiliar conceptual arenas.
As he noted in his syllabus to his intro students, the religions of the world are far more complex than the casual popular ideas commonly held about them.
His focus of scholarship and teaching were directed primarily toward examination of the spiritual, experiential dimensions of religious traditions with particular emphasis on Christian and Islamic mysticism as well as Native American spiritual traditions, Hinduism, and Buddhism. James Cutsinger obituary. Department of Religious Studies SC. James S. Cutsinger , Distinguished Professor Emeritus and noted professor with the Department of Religious Studies from to , had a deep and abiding love of teaching and leading eager students on intellectual adventures of the mind.
In his syllabus for RELG Comparative Religion he says: This is an introductory course, which means that there are no prerequisites and that every effort has been made to explain the subject as simply and straightforwardly as possible. Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.
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Cutsinger is a professor of theology and religious thought at the University of South Carolina and an advocate of Socratic teaching. He serves as secretary to the Foundation for Traditional Studies, is a widely recognized authority on the perennialist school, and is perhaps best known for his work on Frithjof Schuon. In Cutsinger received his B. This has meant calling the bluff on his fellow scholars of religion, the majority of whom have acceded to the dominant scientism of the age and have thus felt obliged to approach their subject as a purely human phenomenon, whether as historians, anthropologists, psychologists, or critical readers of texts. Cutsinger prefers to listen instead to the traditional sages and saints, both East and West, whose voices he has brought to bear in critiquing the critics and with the aim of opening the hearts and minds of his readership to a larger view of themselves and Reality. In his foreword to the book, English philosopher Owen Barfield—whom C. In this book, however, Cutsinger takes the further step of showing that a truly adequate transformation of knowledge must take into account a more than mental discipline.