Missouri State University
Religious Studies Blog

REL Professor Awarded Fulbright Grant!

Dr. Austra Reinis
Dr. Austra Reinis

Congratulations to Dr. Austra Reinis, Professor of History of Christianity in the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, on being awarded a Fulbright Teaching and Research grant!

Her sabbatical year, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, will take her to Germany where she will teach a course at the University of Leipzig on “The Correspondence Network of Princess Margarethe of Anhalt (1473-1530)” and continue research on the same topic in Dessau.

Congratulations, Austra!

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Two New Books in 2017 by Mark Boyer

"An Abecedarian of Sacred Trees," by Mark Boyer
An Abecedarian of Sacred Trees
"A Spirituality of Mission," by Mark Boyer
A Spirituality of Mission

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark G. Boyer, per course faculty member in our department at Missouri State University and a retired Catholic priest, recently announced the publication of two new books in 2017:

An Abecedarian of Sacred Trees: Spiritual Growth through Reflections on Woody Plants (Wipf & Stock, 2016), a companion volume to Animal Spirit Guides: Spiritual Growth through Reflections on Creatures (Wipf & Stock, 2016), explores various sacred trees in the world’s religions. “Trees have religious significance in most, if not all, cultures,” writes Boyer. An abecedarian – a book whose contents are in alphabetical order – explores the spiritual growth that is possible by reflecting on sacred trees. “Trees tell us about ourselves and about the divine,” writes Boyer. In forty entries, Boyer presents a text identifying the tree, a reflective study, a question for journaling or personal meditation, and a concluding prayer. 


A Spirituality of Mission: Reflections for Holy Week and Easter (Liturgical Press, 2017) presents an exercise for every day of Holy Week and Easter aimed at guiding the reader to develop his or her own spirituality of mission. “Those who understand the gospel are called and sent to proclaim it in word and through the way they live their lives,” writes Boyer. The book is divided into twelve sections with five entries in each section. While the book is ideally used during Holy Week and the Easter Season, it can be read at any time a person wants to engage in the ongoing transformation that spirituality entails. 


Since 1987, Boyer has written 51 books, some of which have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Italian.

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CHPA Scholarship Banquet photos!

Congratulations to our Religious Studies scholarship winners! And many thanks to our generous donors!

Here are a few photos from the recent College of Humanities and Public Affairs Scholarship Banquet (thanks to Christy Titus for photographing the event, and to Laurie Wilson for organizing everything!):

Dr. Jim Moyer, REL Professor Emeritus, with scholarship winners Ali Jemes (left), and Caleb Skocy (right)
Dr. Jim Moyer, REL Professor Emeritus, with scholarship winners Ali Jemes (left), and Caleb Skocy (right)
Scholarship winner Molly Arnold (center), with Dr. Jim Moyer, REL Professor Emeritus (right), and his wife, Bobbi Moyer (left)
Scholarship winner Molly Arnold (center), with Dr. Jim Moyer, REL Professor Emeritus (right), and his wife, Bobbi Moyer (left)
Religious Studies department head, Dr. Stephen Berkwitz (second from left), surrounded by REL scholarship winners
Religious Studies department head, Dr. Stephen Berkwitz (second from left), surrounded by REL scholarship winners
Members of the Strong family and, at right, Dr. Victor Matthews, CHPA Dean
Members of the Strong family and, at right, Dr. Victor Matthews, CHPA Dean
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Become a SOAR Leader!

soar-leader-2016-17

There is still time to attend the info sessions to become a SOAR Leader!  Make money, learn skills, build your resume, and have fun!

Information sessions will be Tuesday, 18 October at 5:00 p.m. and Wednesday, 19 October at 6:00 p.m.  Both sessions in Meyer Library 101.

See the SOAR Leader website for more information.

 

 

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Religious Studies Courses for Health Care Professions

by Jane Terry

glowing-bodies

Given the evidence that a person’s religious beliefs and practices, as well as their spiritual and emotional well-being, are integral to their physical health, the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, funded in part by a grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning, has created new courses that directly benefit students (and professionals) in the health care fields, e.g., nursing, physical therapy, gerontology, counseling, audiology, pre-medicine, etc.  Many undergraduate students also discover that a knowledge of religious diversity is extremely useful for them in their future careers in any field, but especially working in the health care fields.

Besides our present courses, such as:

REL 347, Suffering and Meaning,
REL 771, Women, Violence, and Religion,
REL 338, Death, Dying, and Afterlife,
REL 358, Yoga and Meditation,

our new upcoming courses include:

REL 348, Religion, Spirituality, and Health (in Spring 2017, this is an Honors course, UHC 397-997)

REL 397-001, Health and the Body in American Religions (Spring 2017)

REL 397-899, Religion and Healing in Modern America (Summer 2017 online course)

We also offer internships (REL 499), such as working with the local office of Missouri Health Care for All or working in a nursing home.

To find out more, visit the Religious Studies website or contact Dr. Stephen Berkwitz or Dr. John Schmalzbauer.

 

 

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Space, Memory, and Conversation: CHPA Dean to Speak at U of Tennessee

Dr. Victor Matthews Dean, College of Humanities and Public Affairs
Dr. Victor Matthews
Dean, College of Humanities and Public Affairs

Space, Memory, and Conversation: From the Biblical World to the Classrooms of Today

As part of the University of Tennessee Department of Religious Studies’ 50th Anniversary, Professor Victor H. Matthews, Dean of Missouri State University’s College of Humanities and Public Affairs, and Professor of Religious Studies, will present a lecture, “Space, Memory, and Conversation: From the Biblical World to the Classrooms of Today,” Tuesday, 27 September, at 5:30 p.m. at McClung Museum Auditorium, University of Tennessee.

In this lecture, Victor Matthews will explore space, memory, and conversation from the Hebrew Bible and the world of the ancient Near East until today. Drawing on his extensive body of literature, which encompasses both scholarly analysis and several textbooks, Dr. Matthews will highlight the role these important themes play in the biblical text and how they remain significant for instructing students in the contemporary Religious Studies classroom.

Victor H. Matthews received his Ph.D. degree from the Dept. of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University in 1977.  He joined the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies at Missouri State University in 1984 after teaching at Clemson University and Anderson College in South Carolina.  Since that time he has served as Acting Department Head in Religious Studies and in Economics. After serving as Associate Dean for seven years, he became the Dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs at Missouri State University in 2009.  His academic interests center on the social world of ancient Israel and in particular the use of social science methods in the interpretation of ancient Near Eastern and biblical texts.  He has published 17 books and over 75 articles, and is currently at work on a History of Ancient Israel.

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Dr. Lawrence Schiffman to Talk at MSU!

by Jane Terry

MJSA Conference Schiffman Button

Coming soon to Missouri State University:

Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, internationally renowned Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, will be on campus as part of the Midwest Jewish Studies Association Conference 9-11 September 2016.

Everyone is invited to attend

the keynote address given by Dr. Schiffman on

Sunday, 11 September, 7:15 p.m.

in PSU Ballroom East!

More information available here, or contact Dr. Vadim Putzu or Ms. Mara Cohen-Ioannides.

See you then!

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Charles Hedrick Publishes New Parables Book

New book by Dr. Charles W. Hedrick on the parables of Jesus
New book by Dr. Charles W. Hedrick on the parables of Jesus

Charles W. Hedrick, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, has recently published a book on the parables of Jesus. The title is Parabolic Figures or Narrative Fictions. Seminal Essays on the Stories of Jesus (Cascade, 2016).

Dr. Charles W. Hedrick Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Missouri State University
Dr. Charles W. Hedrick
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies
at Missouri State University

Hedrick contends that parables do not teach moral and religious lessons; they are not, in whole or part, theological figures for the church. Rather parables are realistic narrative fictions that like all effective fiction literature are designed to draw readers into their story worlds where they make discoveries about themselves by finding their ideas challenged and subverted—or affirmed.

The parables have endings but not final resolutions, because the endings raise new complications for careful readers, which require further resolution.  The narrative contexts and interpretations supplied by the evangelists constitute an attempt by the early church to bring the secular narratives of Jesus under the control of the church’s later religious perspectives.  Each narrative represents a fragment of Jesus’ secular vision of reality.

Finding himself outside the mainstream of parables scholarship, both ecclesiastical and critical, Hedrick explored a literary approach to the parables in a series of essays that, among other things, set out the basic rationale for a literary approach to the parables of Jesus.  These early essays form the central section of the book, published in edited form along with previously unpublished critiques of a strictly literary approach to the parables and his response.

Dr. Hedrick will be at Barnes and Noble Springfield, Missouri on October 22 for the public to meet the author and book signing.

 

 

 

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