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Why Religious Studies at Macalester?

The courses of the department of religious studies focus on the study of Christianity and Judaism in both their historical and contemporary expressions, and on the major non-Western religious traditions. While the introductory courses are broad in scope, they seek to be selective enough to allow an in-depth encounter with source documents through historical understanding. Methods of instruction include not only lectures and seminars but also opportunities for independent study and individual instruction. The program of the department aims to serve not only students whose academic specialization is religious studies but also students who seek courses that can help unlock the religious dimensions encountered in other disciplines.

April 2017 Lowe lecture 

Michael Satlow, professor of religious studies and Judaic studies at Brown University, will give his talk, How the Bible became Holy, on April 2nd for the 2017 Arnold Lowe Lecture Series. His most recent book, How the Bible Became Holy, explores the evolution of “holy” Jewish and Christian texts from the beginning of the eighth century BCE through the third century CE.

Professor Erik W. Davis' new book, Deathpower: Buddhism's Ritual Imagination in Cambodia is published, December 2015

Professor Davis draws on his ethnographic work in Cambodia to discuss funerals and the social power that arises from rituals of caring for the dead.

William Hart, Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Religious Studies, Joins the Religious Studies faculty

Professor Hart researches the intersection of religion, ethics, and politics.  His current projects include a comparative of human sacrifice in religion and statecraft and associations among religion, slavery, race, criminality, and animality.

Professor Erik Davis is quoted in The Phnom Penh Post

Read the article here: "How serious are Cambodia's land rights protesters about their curses?".

Gregory Lipton, Berg Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow, teaches at Macalester 2016-17

Gregory A. Lipton specializes in Islamic studies and the study of mysticism. His current research focuses on how medieval formations of Islamic mysticism have been re-imagined through the discursive prism of Western modernity. His dissertation, "Making Islam Fit: Ibn 'Arabi and the Idea of Sufism in the West," was completed at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in 2013.

New Publication:

“De-Semitizing Ibn ‘Arabi: Aryanism and the Schuonian Discourse of Religious Authenticity. ”Numen (Forthcoming).