Associate Professor of Theology, Loyola University-Maryland

"Jesuit on the Roof of the World:

Ippolito Desideri's Mission to Tibet"

Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010 

ON THURSDAY OCTOBER 7, the St. Anselm Institute for Catholic Thought opened its 10th Annual Public Lecture Series at University of Virginia when it joined many others in welcoming back Trent Pomplun, a UVA Religious Studies graduate who presently is Loyola University-Maryland Associate Professor of Theology. 

Prof. Pomplun is author of the widely acclaimed Jesuit on the Roof of the World (Oxford). His public lecture recounted the trials, adventures, and fascinating cultural and philosophical encounters of Jesuit missionary priest Ippolito Desideri. Fr. Desideri left Rome in 1712, spent a year on a ship circumnavigating the globe, and eventually landed in Goa, a port city in western India. He traveled northward and then
through the great mountain ranges and deserts of western Tibet before finally arriving in the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa in 1716, where he encountered the intriguing Mongol chieftan Lhazang Khan. Fr. Desideri lived in Tibet until 1721, studying and debating Buddhists texts at Ramoche monastery and, later, the great university at the Sera monastery. Desideri made the most of these opportunities, becoming not only the first European to master the language and history of the Tibetan people, but also the first to closely study and write extensively on Buddhist theological and philosophical doctrines for the purpose of building a bridge into the beautiful culture he encountered in the land of snows. (If you missed the lecture, you can watch the video).
The Tibet Center and the Department of Religious Studies cosponsored this public lecture, which was made possible by a generous grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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