Dr. Rakesh Peter-Dass

Associate Professor of Religion
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Dr. Rakesh Peter-Dass studies the role of religion in society, and his research and teaching focus on the intersections of religion with business, language, law and politics. His latest book, Hindi Christian Literature in Contemporary India, was published by Routledge in 2019. Ongoing projects include manuscripts on:

  • Hindi, Hindu nationalism and Christianity
  • The shaping of religious rights in legal rulings by the Supreme Courts in India and the U.S.
  • An interpretation of Luther on good works in light of Ramanuja’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita to commemorate the happy convergence in 2017 of the 1000th birth anniversary of the great Hindu philosopher-theologian Ramanuja and the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This book will be published as Proper Acts: Ramanuja and Luther on Works, Fortress Press, forthcoming.

At Hope College (which he joined in 2016), he teaches courses on world religions, the Bhagavad Gita, business and religion, and Hindu-Christian theology.

Before joining Hope, Professor Peter-Dass completed teaching fellowships at Yale and Harvard, served as the Departmental Teaching Fellow for religion at Harvard, worked with the National Council of Churches in India and the Christian Conference of Asia, led EASY Net (a network of six international development agencies active in 26 countries) and consulted for intergovernmental, governmental, for-profit and non-profit clients.

Areas of Expertise

  • Religion and society
  • World religions
  • Business and religion
  • Hinduism
  • Christianity


  • M.B.A., University of Oxford, 2016
  • Th.D., Harvard University, 2016
  • Dip. Theo., University of London, 2010
  • M.Div., Yale University, 2008
  • M.D.B.A., Indian Institute of Modern Management, 2003
  • M. Commerce, Nagpur University, 2001
  • P.G. Dip. International Trade, Bhavan’s Institute, 2000
  • B. Commerce, Nagpur University, 1999

Honors, Grants and Awards

  • Saïd Foundation Scholarship, University of Oxford, 2015–16
  • Educational Grant Program, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2015–16
  • Selva J. Raj Endowed International Dissertation Research Fellowship, American Academy of Religion, 2014–15
  • South Asia Institute Winter Session Grant, Harvard University, 2014
  • Asian Theological Summer Institute Grant, 2014
  • Presidential Fund Fellowship, Harvard University, 2011–12, 2013–14
  • Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School, 2013–14
  • Dean’s Dissertation Travel Grant, Harvard Divinity School, 2013–14
  • Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 2013
  • Certificate of Achievement in Teaching in Higher Education, Harvard University, 2012
  • Graduate Writing Fellow, Harvard University, 2012
  • Respondent, 2011-12 Dudleian Lecture, Harvard University, 2012
  • President’s Discretionary Fellowship, Harvard University, 2010–11, 2012–13
  • Graduate Research Grant, South Asia Initiative at Harvard, 2010–11
  • Mark of Credit, University of London, 2010
  • Nock, Arnold, and Meyringh Fellowships, Harvard Divinity School, 2009–2010
  • Campbell Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School, 2008–09
  • Magna cum laude, Yale Divinity School, 2008
  • Class of ‘52 International Student Scholarship, Yale Divinity School, 2006–08
  • World Communion Scholar, United Methodist Church, 2005–08
  • Class of ‘52 Scholarship, Yale Divinity School, 2005–06

Selected Publications

  • Hindi Christian Literature in Contemporary India, Routledge, 2019
  • Review of Arun W. Jones, Missionary Christianity and Local Religion: American Evangelicalism in North India, 1836-1870, in International Journal for Indian Studies, 2019
  • “Act Properly: Ramanuja and Luther on Works,” Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, 2018
  • “Indian Christian Traditions,” with M. Thomas Thangaraj in Religions of India: An Introduction, edited by Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby, Routledge, 2018
  • “Translating with Care: An Essay on Hindi Protestant Christian Writings,” International Journal of Hindu Studies 21:1, Springer, 2017
  • “Beyond Words: Knowledge of God in the theologies of Dionysius and Ramanuja,” CTC Bulletin, Vol. XXIX, No. 1, Christian Conference of Asia, August 2013
  • “Theology’s Language,” Zine, event publication for Theological Times: A Gathering for Doctoral Students of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 2011
  • Patheos, Inc., an online source on religion and spirituality, Colorado, USA
    • “Q & A: What are doctrines? Do all Christian churches have them?” (August 2009)
    • “Q & A: What does it mean to be saved?” (August 2009)
    • “Theologian of the month: Calvin” (June 2009)
    • “What is the difference between a Protestant and a Catholic?” (June 2009)
    • “Perspective: On Martyrdom” (June 2009)
    • “Theologian of the month: Luther” and “The Word: What is Salvation?” (April 2009)
  • “Globalization in Asia and the Role of the Ecumenical Movement,” in Together in Action for Peace and Reconciliation, EASY Net, 2004
  • “The Table of Prayer,” “Walk We Must,” and “Liturgy for Peace,” in Peace Be With You, EASY Net, 2002
  • “Youth, Faith, and the Indian Church,” in Raul Fernandez-Calienes, ed., The Asian Church in the New Millennium, Voices from the Edge Series, No. 2, SPCK and Center for Millennial Studies, 2000
  • “Temples of Modern India?,” in the National Council of Churches in India Review, NCCI Publications, 1999

Books Edited

  • Building Communities of Peace for All: Minutes and Report of the 12th General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia, with David Gill (Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia), 2005
  • In the Quest of Peace: The Report of the North-East Asia Peace Consultation 2003, with Kasta Dip (Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia), 2004
  • Worship and Liturgy in New Key by Satish Gyan, with Philip Mathew (Hong Kong: Christian Conference of Asia), 2004

Outside the College

  • Co-Chair, Theology and Religious Reflection Unit, American Academy of Religion, 2018–2023
  • Steering Committee, Theology and Religious Reflection Unit, American Academy of Religion, 2014–2018
  • Editorial Board, Hindi Theological Literature Committee, India, 2011–2015
  • Oxford Business Alumni Boston Board, 2013–2015
  • New England Synod Council, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2011–2015
  • President (2011–14), Councilor (2009–2014), Faith Lutheran Church, Cambridge (Massachusetts)
  • Councilor and Secretary, Kowloon Union Church, Hong Kong, SAR China, 2003–2005

Professor Peter-Dass enjoys good conversations, diverse food, playing soccer, traveling and the discovery of new things.

Profile photo of Dr. Rakesh Peter-Dass
Dr. Rakesh Peter-Dass

Phone Number616.395.7749

Lubbers Hall 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423
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