John B. Cobb, Jr.

Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr. was born in 1925 to Methodist missionary parents in Kobe, Japan. Impending war brought the family back to the United States in 1940, where John completed high-school.  The army assigned him to Japanese language study. He translated Japanese documents and served in the occupation of Japan. On discharge, he studied at the University of Chicago, where he first discovered the profundity of Buddhism.  After receiving the PhD from the Divinity School, he taught for three years at Young Harris College in north Georgia.  During the first year he was assigned as part-time pastor to a six-church circuit and established a seventh congregation.  He taught for five years at Emory University before going to the Claremont School of Theology, where he taught from 1958 to 1990.  He was visiting professor at universities in Germany and Japan as well as Chicago, Harvard, and elsewhere in the United States. 

A lifelong student of Alfred North Whitehead, Professor Cobb pioneered in bringing ‘process thinking’ to Christian theology. Process theology, among other things, offers clarity and cogency about affirming one’s own faith without making others ‘wrong.’ Professor Cobb co-founded the journal Process Studies and the Center for Process Studies at Claremont. More than 40 books that he has written, edited or co-edited include Christian Faith and Religious Diversity (2002), The Emptying God: A Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation (2005), 9/11 & American Empire: Christians, Jews, and Muslims Speak Out (2006), and, most recently, The Dialogue Comes of Age: Christian Encounters with Other Traditions (2011), reviewed in TIO’s inaugural September 15, 2011 issue.