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   Nathan Katz
   Samani Chaitanya Pragya
   Samani Unnata Pragya
Meet the Faculty

  Dr. Nathan Katz

Dr. Nathan Katz is professor in the  Department of Religious Studies at Florida International University in Miami. He is the author of a dozen books and more than one hundred scholarly and popular articles. He has won four Fulbright awards for research and teaching in South Asia, where he has lived for more than seven years. He has been named a "Master Teacher" by the Florida Humanities Council for an unprecedented seven years in a row, and in 1994 his classroom excellence was recognized with a Florida State University System Teaching Incentive Program award.

Dr. Katz came to FIU in 1994, where he developed and chaired a Program in Jewish Studies. In  1995 he became the founding chair of the Department of Religious Studies.  He was responsible for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to FIU in 1999. Recently, he has been developing Israel programs for FIU students and faculty, and directing the Endowment for the Comparative Study of Spirituality.

Dr. Katz came to FIU after ten years at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he was Professor and Graduate Program Director of Religious Studies, Director of the South Asian Studies Program, Director of the Judaic Studies Program, and Vice-Chair of the University Graduate Council. He was named USF’s Scholar-of-the-Year in 1990. He had previously served on the faculties of Williams College in Massachusetts and Naropa Institute in Colorado Before earning his Ph.D. with distinction at Temple University; he spent two years with the U.S. Information Agency in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Dr  Katz’s research spans the religious traditions of South Asia. He has written more than a dozen books about Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.  His major books include, Who Are the Jews of India?, The Last Jews of Cochin: Jewish Identity in Hindu India (1993), Ethnic Conflict in Buddhist Societies: Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma (1988), and Buddhist Images of Human Perfection (1982).

Dr. Katz is Editor of an academic journal devoted to exploring the interactions and affinities between Indian and Jewish civilizations, Indo-Judaic Studies. He has been a pioneer in establishing dialogues between Jews and Hindus and Buddhists, on international and local levels. In 1990 he was invited to participate in the historic Tibetan-Jewish dialogue, hosted by the Dalai Lama at his palace in Dharamsala, India. He was a featured character in Rodger Kamenetz’s best-seller, The Jew in the Lotus, and he made an appearance in the film of the same title.

Dr. Katz has been interviewed on numerous television and radio programs, including PBS’s "Religion and Ethics Newsweekly," NCB’s "Good Morning America," and NPR’s "All Things Considered." He is featured in a 5-part video series, "Reconnecting West and East: Judaism and Eastern Religions."

He has lectured at universities and other academic institutions around the world, including Oxford Univ., Univ. of Vienna, Hebrew Univ., Yakar Institute (Jerusalem), Benares Hindu Univ., Chulalongkorn Univ. (Bangkok), Peradeniya Univ. (Sri Lanka), Harvard, Columbia, Penn State, Univ. of Washington, Amherst College, College of William and Mary, Trinity College, Univ. of Florida, Judah L. Magnes Museum (Berkeley), Newark Museum, Tampa Museum of Art, Univ. of Kansas, Univ. of Pittsburgh, Univ. of Saskatchewan, Institut Monumenta Serica (Germany), the East-West Center (Honolulu), and the Univ. of California at Santa Barbara. He has also been a consultant to the U.S. District Court for South Florida and to the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem.

At FIU, he teaches religions of India, Buddhism, Asian Judaism, world religions, introduction to religious studies, Religious Classics of Asia, the sacred texts seminar, and the methods seminar.

Dr. Katz serves on the Florida Commissioner of Education’s Holocaust Education Task Force, and was presented with the Keser Shem Tov Award by Congregation Ohr Chaim of Miami Beach in 1997.  Natan Katz, now serves the Bhagawan Mahavir Professor of Jain Studies in Department of Religious Studies in FIU. 

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