M. Thomas Thangaraj retired in 2008 as Professor Emeritus of World Christianity at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, after 20 years of service. His area of research during his doctoral studies was in the area of relation between Saiva Siddhanta (South Indian Hindu philosophical tradition) and Christianity, especially around the concept of guru. He has been actively involved in programs of inter-religious dialogue both at the national and international level.
He has published widely both in English and in Tamil, and his most recent publications are: The Crucified Guru: An Experiment in Cross-Cultural Christology (Abingdon Press, 1994), Relating to People of Other Religions: What Every Christian Needs to Know (Abingdon Press, 1997), and The Common Task: A Theology ofChristian Mission (Abingdon Press, 1999). Co-edited with Anantanand Rambachan and Rashied Omar, Hermeneutical Explorations in Dialogue: Essays in Honor of Hans Ucko (Delhi, ISPCK, 2007). He is currently working on a popular book, tentatively titled as, Negotiating Diversity: Crossing Boundaries as a Spiritual Practice.
Apart from his academic interests, Professor Thangaraj is keenly interested in South Indian music, both classical and popular, and also in the art of hymnody in Tamil. Twenty of his hymns are now incorporated in the official hymnbook of the churches in Tamilnadu. A few of his hymns in English are published in the United States, Sweden, Germany, Norway, and Denmark. He served on the Assembly Worship Planning Committee for the Assembly of the World Council of Churches held in Zimbabwe, Africa in 1998.