Recently in Volume 2 Number 1 Category

From the Director

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By Jeanne H. Kilde

RS_Magazine_Fall09.jpgWe've had a busy summer this year in Religious Studies.

This semester we continue to grow our course offerings in religious studies, adding several new cross-listed courses including,

  • Anthropologist John Soderberg's Religion and Archaeology course
  • Historian Kirsten Fischer's courses, Sinners, Saints, and Savages: Religion in Early America and Religion and the Founding of the United States: Contests Then and Now
  • Literary specialist Nabil Matar's Muslims and Jews in Early Modern English Literature
  • Historian Daniel Schroeter's Muslims and Jews: Conflict and Coexistence in the Middle East and North Africa since 1700

Puzzles of Antiquity

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By Kelly O'Brien

IMG_8099.jpgDead Sea Scrolls, both mysterious and revealing, continue to fascinate Professor Alex Jassen. In an exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota, the public can learn more about these ancient documents that connected the dots between the Old Testament and early rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.

Student Spotlight: Nate Ramsayer


IMG_8125.jpgThis edition of the Student Spotlight features Nate Ramsayer. Nate is a senior enrolled in the religious studies major in Track II, Texts and Traditions. The tradition he is most interested in is early Christianity, but more recently he has become completely fascinated by the Hebrew Bible. Nate plans on graduating this spring (2010) and then going immediately to graduate school. He hopes to one day teach at the university level. Eager to start his teaching career, he recently signed up to teach a class at the Experimental College of the Twin Cities, titled Introduction to the Bible: Historical Context of Ancient Israelite Scripture. Nate was also one of the winners of the Harold Anderson Scholarship last year.

Faculty Spotlight: Penny Edgell

By Sara-Jo Kriedeman

IMG_9129.jpgIn this issue, the faculty spotlight shines on Penny Edgell, professor of sociology, and a member of the Religious Studies steering committee. Edgell received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1995, and came to the University of Minnesota in 2002. As a sociologist, Edgell's research focuses on American religion and she is particularly interested in related topics such as gender roles, family, social change, and moral culture. Her publications on these issues are numerous, including a recent chapter for The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion and the books Religion and Family in a Changing Society and Congregations in Conflict: Cultural Models of Local Religious Life.

By Daniel Winchester
The day began with sunshine and ended with rain and thunder from the heavens, perhaps an all-too-fitting close to a workshop devoted to the study of religious experience and peoples' relationships with sacred beings.

Sponsored by the religious studies program and the Institute for Advanced Study, a one-day workshop entitled Ethical, Methodological, and Pedagogical Challenges in the
Empirical Study of Religion was held on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at the Nolte Center. Dr. Robert A. Orsi, Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies at Northwestern University, conducted the workshop. Thirty religion scholars from a variety of disciplines and several local institutions discussed issues central to Dr. Orsi's work, including religious experience, empathy, ethics, and writing in religious studies.

On the Cutting Edge: Rethinking an Ancient Text

By Sara-Jo Kriedeman
In today's world, the Bible is commonly looked at from two different perspectives. One is that it is a set of religious texts, or sacred scripture, providing a foundation for widespread religious beliefs. The other, from a more secular perspective, is that it is simply an ancient document filled with mythology--leaving us little or nothing to analyze. Both of these views bring challenges to the academic study of the Bible. University of Minnesota professor Bernard M. Levinson takes these challenges head on, showing his students and readers the power and importance of biblical studies.

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