Vincent Carver Gilliam

Gilliam, Vincent 2735920_19502682 TP

Title: Philosopher, Poet, and Educator in the two fields of Religious Studies and Humanities
Location: Solana Beach, California, United States

Vincent Gilliam, Religion Educator, Minister, and Writer, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in comparative religious philosophy and mystical literature.

As a student, Dr. Gilliam attended Stanford University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 1968. He continued his studies at the Claremont School of Theology, where he earned a Master of Religion in 1970, and eventually returned to Stanford University, earning both a Master of Arts and a PhD in Religious Studies and Humanities in 1990. As a young man, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil from 1967 to 1968, and in 1982, he became an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. Dr. Gilliam worked as an assistant and youth minister for the Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church, later rising to the rank of adjunct associate minister, which he held from 1982 to 1986. From 1983 to 1984, he served as executive director of the Coalition for Haitian Asylum, and from 1985 to 1987, he was a research assistant on the Martin Luther King Junior Papers Project. In addition, he recited his poetry at numerous venues, including universities, churches, libraries, and convention centers.

Dr. Gilliam was a president’s fellow of the University of California Berkeley from 1990 to 1992, and until 1995, he worked as a research fellow.  From 1983, he had been a member of the American Friends Service Committee, and until 1990, he served on the executive committee for the organization. He has written myriad published works, including “Optics: The Mystical Poet’s Guide to the Science of Inner Sight” and “The Evolution of the Mystical Language of Love in St. John of the Cross,” a monograph outlining how the soul in its Christianized Neo-Platonist and Aristotelian contexts is repaired by divine love, in mystical union, and by means of contemplating the Divine through the union of loving attentiveness. He also authored, “The Mystical Poetry of Illumination in St. John of the Cross” (translations and essays), “The Silkworm and the Butterfly: Death in the Interior Castle of St. Teresa of Avila & Others Essays” and “The Ascending Fall,” a philosophical literary epic of poetry and religious thought, as well as several more published works. Dr. Gilliam is a fellow of the Society for Values in Higher Education and had maintained memberships to the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, among several others.

The maturing of Dr. Gilliam’s lifelong academic dream has found its expression in plans he formulated and has outlined, in order to establish an institute that he proposed with the name, the Institute for the Study of Mystical Literature and Thought (ISMLT); albeit without finding the right institutional partner to date to see to it that it may come to fruition. In his proposal, for example, he has said, “Although it was the same pursuit and love that produced the poetry of Dante, Rumi, and Tagore, the art of the Sistine Chapel, Islamic calligraphy, a Tibetan Buddhist Mandala, or the many multi-faceted architectural wonders of the temples of India, the mosques of Arabia, and the cathedrals of Europe, the thinkers and creators who expressed the creativity which culminated in the production of what W.B. Yeats called ‘monuments of un-aging intellect’ are evaluated in isolation from each other. Thus, I am proposing that you consider an institute to be formed which will bring together in consort a special group of rotating fellows from and funded by an array of backgrounds that will lead the way to rectifying the distortions, confusions, and ethnocentrisms which result from this longstanding, global, and pedagogic approach to culture, values, and the history of civilization.” As a testament to his character, Dr. Gilliam still has hope he may one day find the right partner with which to transform the way we learn, see each other, and choose to organize ourselves as academics in service to and for the overall good of the whole of human society and the intellectual pursuit of understanding its highest achievements. For those interested, please visit the link below to see his two page plan in-brief.

As a testament to his success and stature, Dr. Gilliam has been featured in the 27th edition of Who’s Who in the West, the fourth edition of Who’s Who in Religion, and multiple editions of Who’s Who in American Education and Who’s Who in America.

For more information, please visit:

Optics: The Mystical Poet’s Guide to the Science of Inner Sight

Institute for the Study of Mystical Literature Two-Page Plan in Brief

Poetic Prose 

Press Release 

Contact Dr. Gilliam: 


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