Kristin Swanson

Kristin Swanson portrait
Professor of Religion
Religion Department Head

Office: Main 303

Phone: 563-387-1346



Education: Ph.D., Religion, Vanderbilt; M.T.S., Trinity Lutheran Seminary; B.A., summa cum laude, California Lutheran University

Kristin Swanson has been a professor in the religion department since 1999, focusing on the study of the Hebrew Bible. Some of her course topics include Introduction to Biblical Studies and Religion and Sports.

Religion 101 Introduction to Biblical Studies
An introduction to the academic study of biblical literature with an emphasis on selected writings, themes, and methods of interpretation. Students will also become familiar with extra-biblical sources (textual and archaeological) which contribute to understanding the Bible in its historical, socio-economic, theological, and literary contexts.

REL 213 Archaeology and the Bible
This course will explore the role archaeology has played in biblical studies and studies of the history of ancient Israel from the nineteenth century to the present. Students will critically analyze the ways that biblical narratives and material evidence have been used to reconstruct the history of Israel and Judah; the use of biblical texts and archaeological evidence in broader religious and political discourse; and ethical issues related to archaeology and historical reconstruction of ancient Israel and Judah.

Religion 244 Religion and Sports
Can sports be considered a religion? Is there a spiritual aspect to sport participation? How have religions incorporated sports into their practices and institutions, and vice versa? When have religion and sports come into conflict? In this course students will explore such questions as they critically analyze interconnections between sports and religion.

Paideia 450 Recreational Use of the Natural World
How have people have protected, adapted, and created spaces they deem to be “natural” or that mimic what they perceive to be “natural”? How have they used these spaces for recreation? What kinds of value are placed on these spaces and what competing interests must people consider when making decisions about such spaces? In this course, we will investigate the variety of “natural” spaces people use for recreation (ranging from golf courses to bird sanctuaries to river trails to hunting preserves), and how these spaces are valued. We will also explore how perceptions and definitions of what constitutes “natural” spaces, and how they are used, have evolved over time.

  • Ph.D., Religion, Vanderbilt University, 1999
    Dissertation: “Hezekiah’s Reform and the Bronze Serpent.”
  • M.T.S., Biblical Studies, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 1991
    Thesis: “A Comparison of the Plague Accounts as found in Exodus 7:14-12:51, Psalm 78:44-51, and Psalm 105:26-36.”
  • B.A., Music, California Lutheran University (summa cum laude), 1986

Judah at the end of the 8th century BCE, Book of Judges