Department of Religion

  • Chair

    Leora F. Batnitzky

  • Departmental Representative

    Seth Perry

  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Jonathan C. Gold

  • Professor

    Leora F. Batnitzky

    Wallace D. Best, also African American Studies

    Eddie S. Glaude Jr., also African American Studies

    Eric S. Gregory

    Martha Himmelfarb

    AnneMarie Luijendijk

    Elaine H. Pagels

    Jacqueline I. Stone

    Jeffrey L. Stout

    Stephen F. Teiser

    Judith L. Weisenfeld

    Muhammad Q. Zaman, also Near Eastern Studies

  • Associate Professor

    Jonathan C. Gold

    Shaun E. Marmon

    Moulie Vidas, also Judaic Studies

  • Assistant Professor

    Jessica Delgado

    Seth Perry

    Laura E. Quick, also Judaic Studies

  • Lecturer with Rank of Professor

    Albert J. Raboteau

Information and Departmental Plan of Study


Any course offered by the department.

Early Concentration

A sophomore may apply for early concentration through consultation with the departmental representative.

Program of Study

Normally, each term juniors and seniors will take two courses offered by the department.

Concentrators are required to complete at least eight religion courses taught by department faculty (including visitors to the Department of Religion) by the end of their senior year. All students are required to complete Religion 222, which is considered one of the eight religion courses. In addition, students are encouraged, but not required, to take two approved cognate courses in other departments. The cognate courses will be calculated into departmental honors. The departmental representative must approve cognate courses.

Students will select at least one course from each of the following three areas:

1. Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean: Judaism and Christianity from Antiquity to the Middle Ages: 230, 251, 252, 340, 350, 352, 353, and occasional courses

2. Religions of the Americas: 258, 319, 357, 358, 360, 367, and occasional courses

3. Religion and Critical Thought: 242, 261, 311, 312, 313, 317, 346, 347, 363, 364, and occasional courses

Students will select two courses in the following area from two different traditions:

Islam and the Religions of Asia: 225, 226, 228, 229, 235, 236, 240, 322, 326, 328, 334, 335, 336, 338, 382, and occasional courses

Not all courses satisfy area requirements. A course may be counted toward one area requirement only. In any year it is offered, 373 Studies in Religion will be assigned to the appropriate area.

Religion concentrators are required to take Religion courses for a letter grade. However, once senior religion majors have satisfied all departmental and area requirements, they are allowed to P/D/F departmental courses with permission from the departmental representative. Majors must obtain the written approval of the department representative prior to choosing this grading option.

When registering for the first term of senior year, each student will decide upon a focus of study in consultation with the departmental representative. Possible focuses of study include Japanese religions, Chinese religions, Buddhism, Islam, philosophy of religion, modern Jewish thought, religious and philosophical ethics, social criticism, African American religious movements, gender, sexuality, and religion in the Americas, global pentecostalism, new religious movements, religion and American politics, visual, material, and popular culture in American religions, race and religion in the Americas, Biblical studies, ancient Judaism and Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Gnosticism. Senior independent work will be in the student's focus of study, and two courses must be completed in the focus of study by the end of the first term of the senior year. All changes to the focus of study must be approved by the departmental representative.

Independent Work

Junior Year. During the fall term of the junior year, all department juniors will participate in a colloquium (see below for study abroad) with a member or members of the faculty. In addition to short assignments throughout the term that prepare majors to research and write a junior paper (JP), students are expected to produce a five to seven-page JP proposal. The JP proposal and colloquium participation constitute 40 percent of the junior independent grade. During the spring term, juniors will do independent reading and write a 30-40 page junior paper under supervision. The departmental representative, in consultation with the director of the colloquium, will assign advisers. The spring junior paper will constitute 60 percent of the junior independent work. At the end of junior year, students will review their work in the department and discuss with a faculty committee their plans for senior independent work.

Senior Year. Every senior will prepare a 70-90 page thesis under the supervision of a faculty adviser.

Senior Departmental Examination

At the end of the senior year, students will take an oral examination concerning their senior independent work, focus of study, and work in the department generally.

Study Abroad

The Department of Religion welcomes study abroad for departmental majors in their junior year. Those juniors who study abroad in their fall term will be exempt from the colloquium but will be required to write a fall junior paper under the supervision of a religion department faculty member. Juniors who study abroad in the spring term will write the required spring junior paper under the supervision of a religion department faculty member. Normally, students are expected to have junior year independent work completed before the start of the senior year. Students must consult with the departmental representative before leaving for their study abroad program.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Those students considering graduate work in religion are strongly advised to develop a reading knowledge of languages most appropriate to their focus of study, for example, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, German, and French.

Religion and Special Programs. Students who wish to combine the study of religion with work in programs should consult the departmental representative. In recent years, religion majors have received certificates in African American studies, African studies, American studies, dance, East Asian studies, European cultural studies, Hellenic studies, Judaic studies, Near Eastern studies, theater, visual arts, and gender and sexuality studies.