Born the seventh of fifteen children on a hill-side farm in Cox's Creek, Kentucky, Joseph Lawrence was raised a Catholic, but displayed Gnostic inclinations from an early age. He was educated at Washington University, Columbia University, and Tübingen University in Germany. He has advanced degrees in both history and philosophy.
Lawrence's happiest and most productive years have been spent as an expatriate in Europe and Asia. At home in the hills of Kentucky, he is emphatically an outsider (and a highly critical one) to the world of middle-class suburbia. Accustomed to philosophize with a hammer, his teaching has been likened to a cerebral form of shock therapy. Most of his publications have been on the philosopher Schelling (he is the author of Schellings Philosophie des ewigen Anfangs), though he has also made frequent forays into ancient philosophy and the wisdom traditions of the East. Lawrence has forthcoming books on Socrates and on Religion and Evil, and his next book-length project will be a work on philosophical religion.
Poetry and Ethics: Their Unification in the Sublime