Comparative Religion and Humanities

George Williams

PhD University of Iowa
George M. Williams is a Professor Emeritus of religious studies at California State University, Chico. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1972, specializing in religions in modern India. He held a research chair at the National Institute for Advanced Studies in India, taught twice at SAS, lectured extensively and published about Asian religions – among others, Handbook of Hindu Mythology (2002), Shinto (2004). While a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawai‘i, Williams has become an archivist for Hawaiian indigenous religion, Kanenuiakea.            
Williams was fortunate enough to know personally and work with some of the major religious leaders of 20th century Japan, including Dr. Imaoka Shin’ichirō, President-Founder Niwano of Rissho Kosei-kai, and Rev. Dr. Yamamoto of Tsubaki Daijinja. For his contributions toward inter-religious understanding and cooperation, IARF presented Williams a Distinguished Service Award in 1989. His work with liberal and liberating religions of Asia led to the award of Litterarum Humanorum Doctor from Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, California in 1994, and to Doctor Honoris Causa from the United Protestant Theological School of Kolozsvár [Cluj], Romania in 1996.  Williams lives in Waianae, Hawaii with his wife, where he was hanai-ed (adopted) by the Hawaiian community. He helped the indigenous faith, Kanenuiakea, become a member of the International Association for Religious Freedom.  In 2019 Williams completed two long term studies: Cosmic Sage: Imaoka Shin’ichirō: Prophet of Free Religion, a 386 study, and Kanenuiakea: Hawaiian Indigenous Faith and Practice, co-authored with one of Hawaii’s most important religious leaders.