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New forum on Divine Fatherhood on the Immanent Frame by Professor Juliane Hammer

Dr. Juliane Hammer has co-convened a forum on Divine Fatherhood alongside scholars from varied disciplinary backgrounds, with a wide array of regional and religious expertise. The forum, Divine Fatherhood, is currently being hosted by the Social Science Research Council.

The forum reflects on what it means to treat fathers as God-like and what it means to treat God as father-like. Forum pieces will dive into the topic of unexpected linking of gods and fathers drawing from examples in feminist theory and practice, including the the erotics of divine fatherhood from purity balls to Beyoncé’s ambiguous “Daddy.”

To read the published pieces and find out more about the forum, visit SSRC’s The Immanent Frame website.

Congratulations, Juliane!


Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Pubs & Profiles, News & Events on September 7, 2018  
Sacred Writes, Directed by Megan Goodwin, receives Henry Luce Foundation Grant
Image may contain: text Megan Goodwin (PhD UNC 2014), Visiting Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion at Northeastern University, has been named Director of Sacred Writes at Northeastern University, a project committed to amplifying the voices of experts who often go unheard in public discourse.

Sacred Writes is a four-year project funded by the LUCE foundation’s Theology Program, geared toward the advancement of public scholarship on religion and theology. Sacred Writes is one of seven programs to receive 2018 grants through the Theology Program.

Congratulations, Megan!


Posted in Alumni News, News & Events on August 24, 2018  
New Book by Calvin Lane (UNC 2002)

Calvin Lane (UNC 2002) has published Spirituality and Reform: Christianity in the West, ca1000-1800 (Lexington / Fortress).

From the Lexington/ Fortress Press Website:

“In colorful detail, Calvin Lane explores the dynamic intersection between reform movements and everyday Christian practice from ca. 1000 to ca. 1800. Lowering the artificial boundaries between “the Middle Ages,” “the Reformation,” and “the Enlightenment,” Lane brings to life a series of reform programs each of which developed new sensibilities about what it meant to live the Christian life. Along this tour, Lane discusses music, art, pilgrimage, relics, architecture, heresy, martyrdom, patterns of personal prayer, changes in marriage and family life, connections between church bodies and governing authorities, and certainly worship. The thread that he finds running from the Benedictine revival in the eleventh century to the pietistic movements of the eighteenth is a passionate desire to return to a primitive era of Christianity, a time of imagined apostolic authenticity, even purity. In accessible language, he introduces readers to Cistercians and Calvinists, Franciscans and Jesuits, Lutherans and Jansenists, Moravians and Methodists to name but a few of the many reform movements studied in this book. Although Lane highlights their diversity, he argues that each movement rooted its characteristic practice – their spirituality – in an imaginative recovery of the apostolic life.”

Dr. Lane is currently an adjunct professor in history at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio as well as an affiliate professor at an Episcopal seminary in Wisconsin, Nashotah House.

Congratulations, Calvin!

Posted in Alumni News on August 12, 2018  
Ph.D. Candidate Katherine Merriman on New York City’s Forgotten Muslim Past

UNC Religious Studies Ph.D. Candidate Katherine Merriman was recently featured in the New Yorker discussing the Muslim History Tour she leads in New York City.

From the New Yorker:

“For the past four years, Merriman has been giving Muslim-history tours of Trump’s home town, focussing on Harlem. ‘There are roughly three hundred mosques in New York City,’ she said the other day. ‘New York is one of the most, if not the most, diverse Muslim cities in the world. There is no such thing as a ‘Muslim world’ somewhere else.’

…This summer, Merriman will start a Wall Street-area tour, which will cover Little Syria and the site of the Ottoman mosque on Rector Street. She told the group, ‘Your job is to keep these stories alive.’”

Katherine’s Muslim History Tour of New York City was also recently featured in the New York Times.

Congratulations, Katherine!


Posted in Graduate Student News, News & Events on August 11, 2018  
Recent Discoveries by Professor Jodi Magness’s Team at Huqoq

A team of specialists and students at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee led by UNC Religious Studies Professor Jodi Magness have discovered unparalleled mosaics that shed new light on the life and culture of an ancient Jewish village.

From the UNC College of Arts and Sciences website:

The discoveries indicate villagers flourished under early fifth century Christian rule, contradicting a widespread view that Jewish settlement in the region declined during that period. The large size and elaborate interior decoration of the Huqoq synagogue point to an unexpected level of prosperity.

“The mosaics decorating the floor of the Huqoq synagogue revolutionize our understanding of Judaism in this period,” said Magness. “Ancient Jewish art is often thought to be aniconic, or lacking images. But these mosaics, colorful and filled with figured scenes, attest to a rich visual culture as well as to the dynamism and diversity of Judaism in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods.”

More images and coverage of the dig can be found at the Times of Israel, the News and Observer, and Hyperallergic.

Congratulations to Jodi and the team!


Posted in Faculty News, News & Events on July 17, 2018  
New Book by Gregory A. Lipton (PhD 2013)

Gregory A. Lipton, a PhD graduate of our department, has recently published a book titled Rethinking Ibn ‘Arabi (Oxford University Press, 2018), which offers a critique of the interpretive field of Frithjof Schuon, or Schuonian Perennialism, and challenges long-held preconceptions of both Ibn ‘Arabi and Perennialism. From the Oxford University Press website:

“The thirteenth century mystic Ibn `Arabi was the foremost Sufi theorist of the premodern era. For more than a century, Western scholars and esotericists have heralded his universalism, arguing that he saw all contemporaneous religions as equally valid. In Rethinking Ibn `Arabi, Gregory Lipton calls this image into question and throws into relief how Ibn `Arabi’s discourse is inseparably intertwined with the absolutist vision of his own religious milieu–that is, the triumphant claim that Islam fulfilled, superseded, and therefore abrogated all previous revealed religions.

Lipton juxtaposes Ibn `Arabi’s absolutist conception with the later reception of his ideas, exploring how they have been read, appropriated, and universalized within the reigning interpretive field of Perennial Philosophy in the study of Sufism. The contours that surface through this comparative analysis trace the discursive practices that inform Ibn `Arabi’s Western reception back to the eighteenth and nineteenth century study of ‘authentic’ religion, where European ethno-racial superiority was wielded against the Semitic Other-both Jewish and Muslim. Lipton argues that supersessionist models of exclusivism are buried under contemporary Western constructions of religious authenticity in ways that ironically mirror Ibn `Arabi’s medieval absolutism.”

Dr. Lipton will be joining the faculty of High Point University in the fall.

Congratulations, Gregory!


Posted in Alumni News on May 27, 2018  
Kathryn Lofton Keynote Address

On Saturday, May 12, Dr. Kathryn Lofton, (PhD UNC 2005), Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, delivered the keynote address at UNC’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. Dr. Lofton is a historian of religion who has written extensively about capitalism, celebrity, sexuality, and the concept of the secular. In her work, she has examined the ways the history of religion is constituted by the history of popular culture and the emergence of corporations in modernity. You can watch Dr. Lofton’s Keynote Address below:


Posted in Alumni News, News & Events on May 21, 2018  
Congratulations, 2018 Graduates!

Congratulations to all the 2018 graduates of our Religious Studies program! You have inspired us with your enthusiasm, creativity, and critical insight. We wish you every success in your future endeavors!

Posted in News & Events, Undergraduate Accomplishments on May 16, 2018  
RELI 283: The Buddhist Tradition

In Fall 2018, Professor Lauren Leve will be teaching RELI 283: The Buddhist Tradition.

Learn more about this course below!


Posted in News & Events on May 7, 2018  
Benjamin White receives NEH stipend

Benjamin White, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Clemson University, has been awarded a Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  He received the stipend to support his project “The Authorship of the Pauline Epistles: The Promise and Limitations of Computational Methods.”

He was one of 65 scholars around the country selected to receive 2018 grants through the NEH Summer Stipends program, out of a field of nearly 800 applicants.

Dr. White received his Ph.D. in Ancient Mediterranean Religions from UNC in 2011.

Congratulations, Benjamin!


Posted in Alumni News on May 2, 2018  
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