Dr. Zacharias P. Thundy

Call Number : PER-24


Linguist, Philosopher, Theologian, Medievalist, and Anthropologist
Professional Details Linguist, Philosopher, Theologian, Medievalist, and Anthropologist
Designation / Status Emeritus Professor (retired in 2001)
Age, Nativity and Experience  
Presently Working NewYork
Education Ph.D. (English) 1969. University of Notre Dame. | M.A. (English) 1966. DePaul University, Chicago. | M.A. (Religion) 1963. Pontificium Athenaeum, Poona (summa cum laude) | B.A. (Religion) 1961. Pontificium Athenaeum, Poona | M.A. (Philosophy) 1959. Pontificium Athenaeum, Poona (cum laude) | B.A. (Philosophy) 1958. Pontificium Athenaeum, Poona (cum laude).
Service and Experience Professor, English Department, Northern Michigan University (1976) Associate Professor, NMU (1972-76) Assistant Professor, NMU (1968-72) , Teaching : Department of Philosophy, Dharmaram College, Bangalore, India (1963-64)

It is indeed an honor to introduce Dr. Zacharias Thundy to the audience of the Aramaic Project. I have known Dr.Thundy for a long time as a friend and a scholar; whenever I had questions about Aramaic language, he is the one who would answer my questions and translate Aramaic passages for me. The Encyclopedia of Syriac Chants of the Syro Malabar Church contains much material that Dr. Thundy provided. See one example of Dr. Thundy’s erudite and informed comments on the Christological hymn, Sagdinan Mar . Dr. Thundy is much more than an Aramaic scholar. He is a linguist, philosopher, theologian, medievalist, anthropologist, and a literary scholar. He has written and published more than thirty books and numerous articles and lectured in many parts of the world. He retired in 2001 from Northern Michigan University and resides in South Bend, Indiana, near the University of Notre Dame from where he had received his Ph. D. in 1969. Currently, he publishes books on social issues like the abortion question in the Bible, moral issues of contraception, same-sex marriage controversy, Gospel writers’ use of Buddhist sources. His rationale for discussing controversial topics is this: “Dying dudes don’t tell lies because soon, as Mark Twain says, they have to meet their maker (or destiny) and be accountable for all their deeds. So be it for now by telling truths.”

For the last twenty years Dr. Thundy has been studying the problem of the literary indebtedness of the New Testament to the vast collection of the pre-Christian Buddhist Scriptures (see, The Stupa and the Cross; Gospel Narratives of the Passion and Death of Christ and Their Buddhist Source, Kindle Book, 2014)). For years, he had the hunch that there must be Buddhist parallels to the gospel narratives of the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A few years ago, Dr. Thundy succeeded serendipitously in making a literary connection between the Sanskrit play Mrcchakatika (“The Little Clay Cart”), which is a dramatic enactment of the trial of Charudatta and the resurrection of the courtesan Vasantasena, who returns in the nick of time to rescue Charudatta from execution by crucifixion ordered by the king. At about the same time, Dr. Christian Lindtner from Denmark identified the Buddhist story of “The Passion and Death of Gautama” found in the Sanghabhedavastu of the Mahaparinirvanasutra of the Buddhist Sarvastivadins as another source for the gospel passion narratives. After having shared and discussed with each other’s discoveries, they concluded that the Gautama-story was the source of Mrcchakatika, and the evangelists used both Indian works in the composition of the gospel passion narratives.

Even after an illustrious career as a professor, author, and organizer, Dr. Thundy shows no sign of slowing down. His brain is still on fire. His intellectual honesty is intimidating. Finally, it is better to leave the reader to take a cursory glance at the impressive curriculum vitae (see Appendix below) to understand why Dr. Thundy’s name should find a place on the Personality Page of the Aramaic Project. The Christian Musicological Society is lucky to have the association with an academician of Dr. Thundy’s stature. We are immensely grateful to Dr. Thundy for his service to the TheCMSIndia.org.




Emeritus Professor (retired in 2001)

English Department
Northern Michigan University
Marquette, MI 49855