Parallel Lives of Spiritual Leaders


  • Gabrielle M Wood, PhD Christopher Newport University



Leadership, Spiritual Leaders, Spirituality, Philosophy, English


Leadership studies refer to the discipline which seeks to understand how leaders emerge; traits, behaviors, and processes of effective leaders; and the interactions among leaders, followers, and their contexts. Leadership scholars have studied a wide variety of religious leaders through research on well-known figures (e.g. Jesus Christ). For example, The Journal of Religious Leadership publishes scholarly articles on leadership practices of specific religions such as the Quakers, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and many others. Gurus, monks, priests, rabbis, and ulema are all recognized as religious leaders. While religious leaders have received a lot of attention in leadership studies, the role of spiritual leader in mystical traditions in largely ignored. Perhaps the emphasis on spiritual aspirants' direct experience of the divine shadows the role of leaders in these traditions. In this paper, I suggest that spiritual leaders serve as role models and symbols; they provide practical approaches and guidance that empower aspirants in their quests.

Author Biography

Gabrielle M Wood, PhD, Christopher Newport University

Christopher Newport University


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How to Cite

Wood, G. M. (2012). Parallel Lives of Spiritual Leaders. Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 4(2), 69-85.