was born in New York City. He grew up on the Upper West Side and received his B.A. from Columbia University and his
J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Mr. Cumming was the articles editor of Penn's prestigious Journal
of International Law, and he won an award for his contribution to that leading journal. He graduated from Penn Law School
magna cum laude, ranking in the top three percent of his class, and he later clerked at the federal district court
and at the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The latter court is often described as the second most important
court in the United States. Mr. Cumming is currently employed as a senior research attorney at the California Supreme
Mr. Cumming's religion scholarship began informally in 1981, when he became attracted to
the philosophy of Kashmiri Shaivism. His innate intellectual curiosity motivated him to pursue a disciplined course
of independent study in the field of religion while simultaneously excelling in his professional career as an appellate lawyer.
In the 1990s, Mr. Cumming's studies included all the leading classics of Hinduism, focusing in particular on the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
In the 2000s, Mr.
Cumming taught himself to read Hebrew and completed a comprehensive study of Jewish mysticism, including
such classics as the multi-volume Zohar, the Sha'are Orah (Gates of Light), the texts of Lurianic Kabbalah
and Sabbateanism, the Tanya, and the writings of Nachman of Breslov. He also read the Hebrew scriptures (repeatedly and in Hebrew),
using the esoteric hermeneutical methods described in the Sifra di-Tzni'uta and the Idra Rabbah to unlock
the incontrovertible hidden meanings of the Torah.
Mr. Cumming has traveled extensively in India and spent significant
periods of time pursuing informal studies in that country. He is the father of two boys and lives with them and his
wife in Berkeley, California.
Copyright © 2011 James H. Cumming