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For our Spring 2023 courses, click HERE!


Spring 2023 Classes!

Check out our Spring 2023 classes! Please go to ConnectCarolina for the most up-to-date course information. For building abbreviations, click here.

Posted in News & Events on November 8, 2022  
New Book, Podcast, and Article from Professor Waleed Ziad

Join us in congratulating Prof. Waleed Ziad who recently released a new book: Treasure Room of the Sakra King: Votive Coinage from Gandhāran Shrines. If you’d like to learn more about Professor Ziad and his fascinating research, check out this recent Islamic Studies podcast from the New Books Network. Finally, our very own UNC magazine wrote about Ziad’s research in an article entitled “Preserving Endangered Manuscripts.”

Posted in News & Events on November 7, 2022  
Dead Sea Scroll costumes for Halloween!

Check out RELI 63, a First Year Study on the Dead Sea Scrolls taught by Prof. Jodi Magness. The class commemorated Halloween by students coming to class in accurate period dress (e.g., an Essene; a Pharisee; a Jewish high priest; John the Baptist; a Roman senator; the senator’s wife, etc.) Student worked in groups to research their costumes and explained the elements of their costumes to the class.

Posted in News & Events on November 2, 2022  
American Society of Church History Honors Prof. Brandon Bayne

Congratulations to our very own Prof. Brandon Bayne. His recent book entitled Missions Begin with Blood: Suffering and Salvation in the Borderlands of New Spain (Fordham University Press, 2021) has been awarded the Brewer Prize by the American Society of Church History (ASCH).

Each year, the ASCH honors outstanding scholarship through five prestigious prizes. The Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize annually honors outstanding scholarship in the history of Christianity by a first-time author.

For more information, visit ASCH’s website here. Also, visit the Twitter feed of ASCH for their recent tweet about this award.

Posted in News & Events on November 1, 2022  
Seeking Applicants for Tenure-Track Position as Assistant Professor of Indigenous Religions in the Americas.

The Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position as Assistant Professor of Indigenous Religions in the Americas. The position is part of a cluster hire including four tenure-track and tenured positions in American Indian and Indigenous Studies in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Applicants’ scholarship should engage both Religious Studies and America Indian and Indigenous Studies, while methodological approach, time period, and geographical location within the Americas are open. The successful candidate will demonstrate linguistic competencies in relevant Indigenous languages as appropriate and engagement with theoretical concerns in the study of religion. We seek scholars with a demonstrated commitment to engendering a climate that values diversity in all its forms and to developing collaborative relationships with Native nations, tribes, and communities.

The applicant is expected to have a Ph.D. in hand by the time the appointment begins on July 1, 2023. To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by November 10, 2022.

To apply, submit the following materials online: a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, a research statement, a teaching statement, a statement of contribution to diversity and inclusion, and a writing sample. In addition, applicants should arrange to have three letters of recommendation (signed and written on institutional letterhead) uploaded to the application through UNC’s online application system (letters can also be transmitted to the online application system or to tcave@email.unc.edu through Interfolio).

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a dynamic and growing Office of Diversity and Inclusion and is an equal opportunity employer, with resources available to support Indigenous and Native American faculty, faculty of color, women, transgender and nonbinary faculty, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. The Department of Religious Studies is committed to a vision of the University where all members of the community feel valued and can thrive. Applicants of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

An offer of employment will be conditioned upon the University’s receipt of a satisfactory criminal background check.

For detailed information, please click here.

Posted in News & Events on October 14, 2022  

Congrats: Reli Dept. Faculty and Grad Students Published in New Volume

Three members of UNC’s RELI department have contributed chapters to this important new volume on Indigenous religious traditions. Congratulations to advanced graduate students Sierra Lawson (““How might we talk about Indigeneity and Catholicism in the Andes?”), Zara Surratt (“How do Indigenous religions approach disability?” and “Did Indigenous children lose their religion in US residential boarding schools?”) and to professor Brandon Bayne (“Did colonial missions destroy Indigenous Religions?”). For more information: https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/indigenous-religious-traditions5m/.

Posted in News & Events on September 21, 2022  
Emerging Scholars Lecture: “Breathing Out Violence”

November 14 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Emerging Scholars Lecture with Emily Branton, department of religious studies.

Remote event via Zoom. Registration will be required, please check back in early November for registration link.

Monday, November 14, 2022, 5:30pm, remote event: Zoom

“Breathing out violence:” Fake News and other dangerous speech in Ancient Israel

In the era of social media, we are acutely aware of how dangerous a tweet, a sound bite, or a pernicious piece of medical misinformation can be. This might feel like uncharted territory, but Ancient Israelites in the biblical period also lived in a world of dangerous and even deadly speech. Join us to explore descriptions of, and responses to, dangerous speech in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient Near Eastern literature.

Emily Branton earned a BA in Religion from Smith College, and an MA in Religion from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the department of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, and the 2022-23 Carolina Center for Jewish Studies Dissertation Completion Fellow. She writes and teaches about the Hebrew Bible, Ancient Near Eastern literature, pedagogy, and translation.





Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on August 2, 2022  
Excavations led by Prof. Jodi Magness reveal first known depictions of two biblical heroines, episode in ancient Jewish art

This 10th season of excavations in the ancient Galilean synagogue at Huqoq uncovers intricate mosaic floor panels dating back nearly 1,600 years.

UNC-Chapel Hill participants on the Huqoq dig (including grad students and alumni). Bottom row from left to right (seated): David Richman; Christine Stamey; Aislynn Grantz; Madison Brinkley; Suzy Lagunas. Top row from left to right (standing): Emily Branton; Jodi Magness; Jocelyn Burney; Matthew Grey; Grace Curry; Jada Enoch (top right). (Photo by Jim Haberman.)

A team of specialists and students led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor Jodi Magness recently returned to Israel’s Lower Galilee to continue unearthing nearly 1,600-year-old mosaics in an ancient Jewish synagogue at Huqoq. Discoveries made this year include the first known depiction of the biblical heroines Deborah and Jael as described in the book of Judges.

The Huqoq Excavation Project is now in its 10th season after recent seasons were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Project director Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of religious studies in Carolina’s College of Arts and Sciences, and assistant director Dennis Mizzi of the University of Malta focused this season on the southwest part of the synagogue, which was built in the late fourth-early fifth century C.E.

This season, the project team unearthed a part of the synagogue’s floor decorated with a large mosaic panel that is divided into three horizontal strips (called registers), which depicts an episode from the book of Judges chapter 4: The victory of the Israelite forces led by the prophetess and judge Deborah and the military commander Barak over the Canaanite army led by the general Sisera. The Bible relates that after the battle, Sisera took refuge in the tent of a Kenite woman named Jael (Yael), who killed him by driving a tent stake through his temple as he slept. The uppermost register of the newly-discovered Huqoq mosaic shows Deborah under a palm tree, gazing at Barak, who is equipped with a shield. Only a small part of the middle register is preserved, which appears to show Sisera seated. The lowest register depicts Sisera lying deceased on the ground, bleeding from the head as Jael hammers a tent stake through his temple.

Left: The Israelite commander Barak depicted in the Huqoq synagogue mosaic. Right: Fox eating grapes depicted in Huqoq synagogue mosaic. (Photos by Jim Haberman)

“This is the first depiction of this episode and the first time we’ve seen a depiction of the biblical heroines Deborah and Jael in ancient Jewish art,” Magness said. “Looking at the book of Joshua chapter 19, we can see how the story might have had special resonance for the Jewish community at Huqoq, as it is described as taking place in the same geographical region – the territory of the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon.”

Also among the newly discovered mosaics is a fragmentary Hebrew dedicatory inscription inside a wreath, flanked by panels measuring 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide, which show two vases that hold sprouting vines. The vines form medallions that frame four animals eating clusters of grapes: a hare, a fox, a leopard and a wild boar.

Click HERE to continue reading the full story!

Posted in News & Events on July 12, 2022  
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