Professor Proudfoot is an extremely kind and approachable teacher. He is brilliant and erudite, though his lectures are at times boring and/or difficult to follow. He and the TA are very helpful outside of class, whether it be regarding material covered in class or about a paper (or anything else). His lecturing style does not lend itself well to class participation, but he does in fact like when students participate. His humility as a person and as a scholar is inspiring. Highly recommended!
Blending a philosopher's intellectual precision with the infectious, inexplicable enthusiasm of a mystic sage (or perhaps just William James), Proudfoot is the perfect professor for the material. This course confirmed my selection of the religion major.
I found Professor Proudfoot to be thoughtful and patient. He has the ability to stand before a class and just lecture on his material. I personally found his lectures compelling, and one of the most cohesive of any expository lecturer I've had yet at Columbia. He does allow and ask for class involvement in his lectures. The class analyzed three philosophical topics about religion: 1. The existence and attributes of God. 2. About the personal value people find in religion (their religious experience). 3. The place of religion in ethical/political debate. It is very apparent from his lectures that Proudfoot is a leader in his field. Despite this, he luckily exhibits little pretension. If you are considering taking this class, it does help if you have some religious/philosophical background. However, I think everyone, from any background, can get something from this class. If you want to see Proudfoot's lecturing mannerisms check out this presentation. The link to his video is at the bottom. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/vforum/02/science_religion_wJames/
I highly recommend this class! He makes heavy readings like Kant incredibly clear. Teaches from a wide variety of scholarship, all really worthwhile. Proudfoot is such a nice guy, too. His interest in the subject makes it worth your while. Very approachable. Really, really wonderful experience.