Faculty Bio

Robert Shedinger began teaching at Luther College in 2000 after earning his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Shedinger teaches courses primarily in the areas of biblical studies, Islamic studies, and science and religion. His regular course load includes: 

  • Introduction to Biblical Studies
  • From Ancient Texts to Modern Translations
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Islam
  • Contemporary Islamic Movements
  • Science and Religion

Shedinger's research interests revolve around the question, "What is religion?" While many take it to be a real thing that exists in the world, Shedinger is fascinated by recent scholarship arguing that religion as something discrete and clearly distinguishable from politics is actually a modern Western and mostly Christian way of talking about the world. In most cultures throughout history, a distinct concept called “religion” simply has not been a part of people’s conceptual world. Shedinger has tried to draw out the implications of this new way of understanding religion for Christian-Muslim relations in his book Was Jesus a Muslim? Questioning Categories in the Study of Religion (Fortress Press, 2009) and for issues of religious identity more generally in his newest work Radically Open: Transcending Religious Identity in an Age of Anxiety (Cascade Books, 2012).