Gay Lynch, PhD

Gay's interest in the study of religion began when she was in the third grade in 1946 at Dominican, then called Dominican Convent. At the age of eight, she was intrigued by the mystery of religious practices to which the loving Dominican sisters exposed her. Her college career began at age 50 in 1988. Her first class at UCB was “World Religions,” which enchanted her. Shortly before graduation from Berkeley with a BA in religious studies, her youngest son died suddenly in his sleep in 1991. Her UC professors encouraged her to continue studies at Harvard Divinity School, where she studied cross-cultural responses to death. After completion of her Harvard master’s degree, Gay returned home to complete her doctoral degree at the GTU in Berkeley. Gay joined the Dominican faculty in 1996, following her master’s work at Harvard. Her commitment to Dominican students runs deep, with a passion for a fusion of erudite scholarship with concrete experiences of her students’ lives.


Graduate Theological Union, PhD, Cultural and Historical Study of Religions

Harvard University, The Divinity School, MTS, Religions of the World

University of California, Berkeley, BA, Religious Studies

Research Interests

  • The Power of Compassion and Forgiveness
  • Religions of Asia
  • Myth, Symbol, and Ritual
  • World Religions
  • Dance and Spiritual Expression: Rhythmic Bodily Movement and the Religious Life
  • The Rhetoric of Belief; Death, Ritual, and Rebirth

Scholarly Publications

  • 'Why Do Your Eyes Not Run Like A River?’: Ritual Tears in Ancient and Modern Greek Funerary Traditions.”  In Holy Tears: Weeping in the Religious Imagination. ed. Kimberley Christine Patton and John Stratton Hawley. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. 67-82.
  • “do not go and leave me behind unwept…’: Greek Gravemarkers Heed the Warning.”  In Markers XX: Annual Journal of the Association of Gravestone Studies, 2003: 280-299.     
  • “’Cold Pastoral!’: Reflections on a Charonian Lékythos.”  In Persephone: A Students’ Journal for the Classics at Harvard University, Spring 2001 (5:2): 50- 58.          
  • “Contemporary Gravemarkers Of Youths: Milestones Of Our Path Through Pain To Joy.”  In Markers XII: Journal of the Association of Gravestone Studies, 1995: 144-159.

Contact Information