The study of religion will challenge you to explore your own values and understandings of life, expose you to the various ways that people in differing cultures and time periods have expressed religious beliefs and practices, and help you examine the importance of religion in culture.
The academic study of religion, like the study of other liberal arts, encourages careful reading, critical thinking, evaluation of differing points of view, and clear expression of ideas. These are among the most important skills you can gain through education and are important in every career.
Religious Studies explores the role of religion in culture through studies of sacred texts, languages, ethics, beliefs, and the history of religious traditions. Courses examine the influence of religion in shaping the human quest for meaning. Religious Studies is inherently multi-disciplinary -- encompassing social-scientific, literary, linguistic, historical, cross-cultural, and theological methods of inquiry.
At Stetson, the Religious Studies faculty includes dedicated teachers with specialized training in a variety of areas. While all of the faculty members are primarily classroom teachers committed to helping students learn, they are also recognized scholars who are continually improving their expertise through research and writing.
In recognition of Religious Studies faculty accomplishments, three of our faculty have received Stetson University’s Hand Award for Faculty Research, two have been awarded the McEniry Award for Excellence in Teaching, and two have received the Hand Community Impact Award.
Faculty members include:
* Phillip Lucas, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara; religion in America, new religious movements, world religions
* Donald Musser, Ph.D., University of Chicago; theology, religion and culture
* Kandy Queen-Sutherland, Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Hebrew Scriptures, women and gender studies
* Mitchell Reddish, Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; New Testament, literature and history of early Judaism
* D. Gregory Sapp, Ph.D., University of Virginia; history of Christian thought, philosophical theology
* D. Dixon Sutherland, Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; religion and ethics
* Leena Taneja, Ph.D., George Washington University; South Asian religions, devotional schools of Hinduism, postmodern theory
As a complement to its regular course offerings, the Department of Religious Studies offers several faculty-led travel courses that focus on historical, archaeological and religious sites related to religion in the ancient world.
Students who are considering teaching Religious Studies as a profession have an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member as a mentor, while serving as a student intern in one course.
In addition to the one religious heritage course required of all Stetson graduates, students who major in Religious Studies are required to complete 31 credit hours in Religious Studies courses. Among these required courses are two departmental seminars that explore current issues in Religious Studies, a course in methods and theories in Religious Studies, and the Senior Project, an independent research project on a self-selected topic in Religious Studies.
Students are also required to take courses in theology or ethics, biblical studies and non-Western religious traditions.
Religious Studies graduates are pastors, chaplains and other professional ministers. But they are also successful lawyers, doctors, professors, college administrators and business leaders. Students not only will find the study of religion personally and intellectually satisfying, they will also recognize that a concentration in Religious Studies will help them master the analytical and communication skills and abilities that are important for whatever career they ultimately choose.
# Kelli Daniel, '03, Religion Publicity Associate for Doubleday Publishers, New York N.Y.
# Sarah Reed Jay, '00, Senior Pastor, Community Church of Barrington, Barrington, Ill.
# Laura Dunifon Kicklighter, '99, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Va.
# Penny Brady, ’97, Assistant District Attorney, Manhattan, New York County, New York, N.Y.
# Beverly Dozier, ’97, policy analyst on birth defects and developmental disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta
# Daniel Bell Jr., ’88, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of Methodist Studies, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C.
Clubs and Organizations
Theta Alpha Kappa (academic honorary society)