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Benjamin A McClintic / Profile

Teacher's Assistant | Graduate Student

I am an MA/PhD candidate in field of History of Religions in the Department of Religious Studies at UVa.

My life’s research is oriented toward the possibility of clarifying the branch of Vedic culture called Vaisnava in terms of its significance as preserving an historically exfoliating concept of Time. Methodologically, this involves explicating the ontological and hermeneutical articulation of Time as signifying the existence of God, as found in pre-Vaisnava and Vaisnava literature, as a special case of Academic interest, i.e., a revealing “exception” to the sense of the concept of Time grasped in the Occidental Philosophical tradition. This involves: (1) assessing the diachronic distance of Occidental Academic categories and historiologies in interpreting the phenomenality of temporality as articulated in Vedic-Vaisnava literature; (2) presenting a history of the Vaisnava sense of Time as grounded in the poetics of Vedic hymns and the sanatana-dharmic (eternal responsibility) sense of jiva (life), (3) interrogating the limiting functions of European philosophy from this articulated framework; (4) indicating the significance of a Vaisnava articulation of Time as contributing to a global culture of ontology, hermeneutics, and epistemology.

While the theoretical language of this exercise is necessarily to some extent English, and hence ‘Greek’, the temporal-ontological structures will be treated in their etymological and philological origins, as well as in their hermeneutical enrichment, as Vaisnava-Vedic.

The scope of this reconstructive and hermeneutical, critical effort is necessarily beyond the scope of my PhD. Hence, I can only hope to break of a preliminary piece of this larger task. I have chosen several Vaisnava commentaries of the Bhagavata-purana, and will examine how the commentators and the primary text treat the topic of Time in relation to both its signification for the question of the existence of God and how this informs the problem of constructing and maintaining history, or historiology; I will attempt to expose those elements of the Vaisnava-Vedic concept temporality that are axiomatic to Vaisnava thought, and which must be engaged in any question of Vaisnava historiography and historiology.

In this way, I hope to construct a novel, (yet, to use Vaisnava vernacular, ‘authorized’), historiographic framework within which to conduct a more sensitive, emic-grounded reconstructive history of South Asian thought, and thus ‘open a passage’ for movement between emit and etic diachronic languages, without doing violence to the remoteness of either.

My primary advisor is Dr. John Nemec, a specialist in the history and literature of South Asian Religions, though I am also working with professors within the field of Theology, Ethics, and Culture as well.

Current Focus

Finishing up my final year in course work. Reading Rig-veda, learning Hindi, Studying Shaiva Tantra, and Levinasian ethics, as well as TA-ing a course on Zen Buddhism. 


Just now writing seven papers.


Born in Hannibal, Missouri, 1974. Raised by Catholic parents. Lived in three states (MO, NC and MI), five cities, and 10 houses by the time I was seventeen. Hitchhiked around the country after graduating high-school, attending Rainbow gatherings and that sort. Joined a Vaishnava monastery in West Virgnia at 20. Studied and practiced bhakti-yoga under guidance of various elders from the tradition, learned to read and translate Sanskrit. Visited India twice: 1998, and 2004. After my first trip to India, I returned to school at 27, attending UC-Santa Barbara, received my B.A. in analytic philosophy in 2006. Fell in love with continental philosophy during my senior year, and specifically developed a critical interest in Heidegger. Married Arya Burt in January 2008, and moved to Charlottesville July 2008. Feb 2009 I was accepted into the PhD program for Religious Studies at UVa. Have been here ever since.


Scholarly Disciplines
Existentialism (1), Hermeneutics (1), History (5), Ontology (1), Philosophy (1), Philsophy of Langage (1), Religious Studies (5), Theology (2), phenomenology (2)
General Interests
Existence (1), History of Art (1), Life (1), Society (1), Temporality (1)
Time Periods of Interest
Prehistorical to modern India (1), Prehistorical to postmodern Europe (1)
Places of Interest
Asia (1), Boston (1), Europe (3), India (5), Kalkutta (1), Kashmir (1), Orissa (1), South Asia (2), South India (1), US (2), Vrindavan (1), West Bengal (1)
Technologies of Interest
Digital graphics (1), Information Technologies (1), Publishing tools (1)


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I have over the past decade and a half produced a number of works of art, mostly focused on thinking about South Asian iconography and Western neoclassical techniques. More recently, I have moved in the direction of digital graphics.


I have published art in a number of books: Das, Amal Bhakta. Mysterious Stories from the Mahabharata, Torchlight Publishers, 2000. – Mysterious Stories from the Bhagavatam, Torchlight Publishers, 2002. – Krishna, The Supreme Person, Krishna Productions, 2003. Tompkins, Somadeva et al. A Tantric Reader, (forthcoming). I also helped co-author a children’s book, “Where’s Hanuman”, Torchlight Publishers, (forthcoming).



Photoshop Illustrator Dreamweaver Word Open Writer Powerpoint Corel Draw Wiki Wordpress Mac and PC able


-Extensive Sanskrit-translating -Transcription -Administrative experience -Event organizing -Systematic and Methodological Analysis (i.e., problem-solving)

Mailing Address


Direct Contact

Cell Phone: (805) 284 - 3036

Contact Notes

I can be reached primarily either by my cell phone or by email.

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