Concise curriculum vitae:
René Gothóni (b. 10 April 1950 Helsingfors, Finland) is Professor Emeritus in the Study of Religions at the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki, Finland. His scholarly reputation was initially related to his field research in Kandy, Sri Lanka, among the Sinhalese-Buddhist monks the academic year 1974-75. Based on the field material he wrote the first doctoral thesis in Finland about Buddhism entitled Modes of Life of Theravada Monks. A Case Study of Buddhist Monasticism in Sri Lanka (1982).
In the mid-eighties, professor Gothóni wrote and edited three books about Buddhism, before he began to study the Orthodox monks and pilgrims on the Holy Mountain of Athos, which he first visited in September 1984. Since then he has returned to Athos regularly twice a year, both as scholar and Orthodox pilgrim deepening his knowledge on the spiritual life of the Athonites. Based on this field material he has written several the books (see Books)
As a distinguished scholar, professor Gothóni is also a specialist in the philosophical hermeneutics as well as in the methodical, epistemological and theoretical questions in the study of religions, which he elaborates in his studies The Attitudes and Interpretations in Comparative Religion (2000) and Words Matter. Hermeneutics in the Study of Religions (2011).
Gothóni has many strings to his bow. Throughout his life, he has engaged himself in filming, music- and song-writing in accordance with his hermeneutical view of life. He was a camera-man at the Finnish broadcasting company MTV during the years 1979-81 and he has written songs in English, French and Swedish, of which he has released CDs (See Music).
Gothóni retired in October 2016 after 42 years as teacher at the University of Helsinki, first as senior lecturer and then as professor for twenty years, the first professor in the Study of Religions at the Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki. He continues to write scholarly studies and to compose music, both for piano and as a singer-songwriter. His latest commitment involves writing new original music for the Soup Troupe & The Really Small Theatre Company, who in spring 2022 will present the first ever performance of the English version of Minna Canth’s SYLVI at Malmitalo, Ala-Malmin tori 1, no less than the English-language world premiere of Canth’s famous play.
Elected member in the scholarly societies:
• The Finnish Anthropological Society; Member of the Board 1984-1999
• The Finnish Society of Comparative Religion; Member of the Board 1985-1989
• The Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies; Member of the Board, Editor-in-Chief 1991-2001
• Finnish Institute in the Middle East; Member of the Board 1994-1997
• The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters; Member of the Board 1996-2007
• The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters; Secretary of the humanities section 1996-
• The Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters; Member of the Board 1998-2007
• Representative of the Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters at the meetings of the European Science Exchange Program and of the European Exchange Scheme in the Humanities and Social Sciences 1999-2003
• Chair of the Board of the Publications Centre of the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies 2003-2007
10) Representative of the Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters at the meeting of the International Union of Academies, Brussels in May 2006
• Representative of the Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters at the meeting of the International Union of Academies, Brussels in May/June 2008
Elected editorial board member/editor:
• Member of the editorial board: Temenos 2004-
•Member of the Board of Advisors: Literature of Travel and Exploration. An Encyclopedia, three volumes, edited by Jennifer Speake. New York and London: Fitzroy Dearborn 2003
• Editor-in-Chief of Byzantium and the North. Acta Byzantina Fennica (Yearbook). Helsinki: The Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies 1991-2001
• Editor-in-Chief of Comparative Religion. Helsinki: Publications of the Department of Comparative Religion. University of Helsinki 1997-2016
• Series Editors (with Graham Speake) of Studies in Eastern Orthodoxy 2013-
Research awards, honours and major stipendiary support:
• Scholarship for field research in Sri Lanka by World Council of Churches, 1974-1975
• Research Allocation, University of Helsinki, 1986
• Senior Scientist’s Grant by the Academy of Finland 1988-1989
• Finnish Visiting Fellow Clare Hall, Cambridge, U.K. 1989-1990
• Life Member of Clare Hall College, Cambridge, U.K. 1990-
• Life Member of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters 1992-
• Senior Scientist’s Grant by the Academy of Finland 1993-1994
• Research Allocation for a Finnish-Greek project by the Academy of Finland1993-1996
• The main price of Oskar Öflund Foundation 1998
• Member of the Board of Advisors: Helsinki City Museum of Arts, the Athos exhibition 2004-2006
• Patron of the Friends of Mount Athos (Oxford, UK) 2005-
• President of the Finnish Society of the Friends of Mount Athos 2005-2016
• First Class Medal of the White Rose of Finland 6 Dec 2011
• Marquise Who is Who in Religion. 4th edition 1992-1993. Illinois 1992.
• Suomen Professorit – Finlands Professorer, Jyväskylä: 2008.
• Vem och Vad, Schildts 2010.
• Kuka kukin on, Otava 2010.
• Pilgrimage of Life. Studies in honour of Professor René Gothóni, (eds) R. Hämäläinen et al. Helsinki: Maahenki 2010, 10-14.
• René Gothóni, 375 Humanists, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki.