Al Denman


Professor Emeritus, Antioch College

I was born in Idaho Falls, 1927. I was educated there and at the University of Idaho and Boston University, where I earned a degree in psychology, then law, theology, and finally a Ph.D. in social ethics, 1967.

I practiced law briefly in Idaho Falls and was a professor of religion and College Chaplain at the College of Idaho for 4 years.

At Antioch College, I was professor of Philosophy of Law and Religion, 1965-93. During my first 7 years, I was also the College Pastor. Last year, after 15 years of retirement, I gave reading courses at Antioch, in the Bible and Qur’an, and the Qur’an and Islam. Especially after the 9/11 events and their aftermath, I wanted to rediscover, reflect, and reconsider this religion that has deeply moved and guided millions and has been and remains unknown, dismissed, feared, and hated by others for more than 14 centuries. I thought some students might have similar interests.

My introduction to the Qur’an, Muhammad and Islam was in 1952, while a student at Boston University School of Theology. My teacher was a famous Hindu Indian, Amiya Chakravarty, who had been a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and personal secretary to the Nobel Laureate poet, Rabindrinath Tagore. At the time he taught at B.U., he was also the Indian representative to UNESCO.

I was a Presbyterian minister from 1956-1973. I am no longer a member of any religious group. None of the conventional categories seem to fit me right now, so I currently dub myself as “a wandering wonderer, or wondering wanderer.”

My wife, Donna, was for many years the director of the county public housing agency, Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority. Since 1986-87, when we visited India, then lived in Pakistan, USSR, China and Japan to understand their legal and religious lives better, Donna has been deeply involved in Zen and the local Dharma Center. We have 3 sons and a daughter. Our youngest son, Matthew, and daughter, Linnea, live with their families in YS, after years in California. Our two elder sons live in CA. All attended Antioch; three are graduates.

So my ties to Antioch College are many and deep.