Carolina Stories Magazine Features Huqoq Mosaics and Professor Jodi Magness’ Annual Expedition

Carolina Stories Magazine Features Huqoq Mosaics and Professor Jodi Magness’ Annual Expedition

Professor Jodi Magness‘ annual summer expedition to Huqoq brings students together to uncover ancient mosaics depicting biblical scenes. This is the 111th story in the Carolina Stories Magazine, a Magazine published to highlight the achievements made possible through Carolina Giving.

Photo by Jim Haberman

“This is by far the most extensive series of biblical stories ever found decorating the mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue,” said Magness. “The arrangement of the mosaics in panels on the floor brings to mind the synagogue at Dura Europos in Syria, where an array of biblical stories is painted in panels on the walls.” – Read more in an earlier edition of the Carolina Stories Magazine

Update: The Mosaics, and the story behind them, have been featured on The National Geographic and Fox News. For the latest news coverage of the Huqoq mosaics please visit the Huqoq Excavation Project website.

Posted in Faculty News, Faculty Pubs & Profiles, Faculty Spotlight, News & Events on November 7, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

UNC Expedition in Nepal with Professor Lauren Leve

UNC Expedition in Nepal with Professor Lauren Leve

A team of scholars from across disciplines traveled to Nepal to study the impacts of climate change on Buddhist holy lakes. The interdisciplinary team included two mathematicians (Department Chair Rich McLaughlin and Roberto Camassa), a marine scientist (Harvey Seim), and Religious Studies Professor Lauren Leve.

Image from UNC College of Arts & Sciences Magazine

From the UNC Arts & Sciences Magazine:

“Leve laid the groundwork for interviewing local people about their understanding of the impacts of climate change. She also became a critical cultural translator when the group ran into major roadblocks days into the research expedition. Negotiating with the competing parties involved in granting research permissions fell right in line with her research, which looks at religion as a window into understanding cultural change.”

Congratulations Lauren and the team!

Posted in Faculty Pubs & Profiles, Faculty Spotlight, News & Events on October 22, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Bart Ehrman on “Faith in Our Lives: Why We Follow” and “The Triumph of Christianity”

Bart Ehrman on “Faith in Our Lives: Why We Follow” and “The Triumph of Christianity”

On March 10, PlayMakers Repertory Company hosted a symposium, “Faith in Our Lives: Why We Follow,” with UNC’s Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, and Robert M. Franklin, Jr., James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Prof. Ehrman and Prof. Franklin discussed how faith and belief serve us both personally and collectively, as well as what may be at risk when doctrine plays too little or too large a role in our lives. The symposium was moderated by Adam Versényi, Chair of UNC’s Department of Dramatic Art and Dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company.

Prof. Ehrman also appeared recently on WUNC’s The State of Things episode “The Sunday School Teacher Turned Skeptic,” hosted by Frank Stasio. Among other topics, Prof. Ehrman discussed his recently published book The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World,” which tells the story of how Christianity grew from the religion of a few peasants in the Roman Empire to become the most powerful cultural force in the West.

Congratulations, Bart!


Posted in Faculty Publications, Faculty Pubs & Profiles, Faculty Spotlight on March 14, 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

Faculty Highlight: Andrea Dara Cooper

Faculty Highlight: Andrea Dara Cooper

CooperAndrea Dara Cooper is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought and Culture. Her current book project explores representations of family in the writings of major Jewish thinkers, and recent courses that she has taught include: “Introduction to Jewish Studies” (RELI 123), “The Sacrifice of Abraham” (RELI 426H: Honors Course), and “Human Animals in Religion and Ethics” (RELI 079: First-Year Seminar).

At the last AJS (Association for Jewish Studies) conference in Boston, Prof. Cooper participated in a session on “Teaching Beyond the Canon: New Approaches to Jewish Studies,” and summarized the pedagogical insights coming out of the session for the AJS website.

Earlier this year, Prof. Cooper was part of a panel at Elon University responding to Geoffrey Claussen’s new book, Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar. Prof. Cooper’s remarks highlighted the implications of the book when viewed through the lenses of gender and the human/animal opposition. (The video below begins with Prof. Cooper’s response at the 21:36 mark.)

A recap of the book panel can also be found on the Elon website.

Posted in Faculty Spotlight on October 13, 2016. Bookmark the permalink.

Faculty Highlight: Professor Carl W. Ernst

Faculty Highlight: Professor Carl W. Ernst

Ernst1Professor Carl W. Ernst is a specialist in Islamic studies, with a focus on West and South Asia. His published research, based on the study of Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, has been mainly devoted to the study of three areas: general and critical issues of Islamic studies, premodern and contemporary Sufism, and Indo-Muslim culture. He was recently interviewed about his research on Sufism: “Sufism: History, Politics and Culture: A Conversation with Carl Ernst, Interviewed by Llewellyn Smith.” Sufi Journal, no. 86 (winter 2014).

pic for Ernst faculty highlightErnst3On October 22, 2014, he gave a lecture entitled “Why ISIS Should Be Called Daesh: Reflections on Religion and Terrorism,” for the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies Faculty Forum, UNC-Chapel Hill.

His most recent published article is “‘A Little Indicates Much’: Structure and Meaning in the Prefaces of Rumi’s Mathnawi (Books I-III).” Mawlana Rumi Review V (2014), pp. 14-25. It is a discussion of one of the great classics of Persian Sufi literature, Rumi’s epic Mathnawi.


Dr. Ernst at Sufi shrine, Khuldabad, India, Aug. 2014

pic 2 Ernst faculty highlight

Professor Ernst and Llewellyn Smith

Posted in Faculty Spotlight on December 20, 2014. Bookmark the permalink.