Faculty and Staff

Front row: Kristin Swanson, Lori Ostlie, Robert Shedinger, Todd Green. Back row: Jimmy Hoke, Chontel Syfox, Gereon Kopf, Wanda Deifelt, Guy Nave, Jim Marin-Schramm.

The department's faculty are active in a number of professional scholarly organizations, including the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. Also productive scholars themselves, faculty present papers, chair conference sessions, and write for publication. Work published by members of the department in recent years includes a considerable number of books and many articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Kristin Swanson

Professor of Religion

Department Head

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

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

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Sean Burke

Associate Provost

Education: Ph.D., Biblical Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California; M.Div., Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; B.A., Judeo-Christian Heritage, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York

Research Interests: Sex in Sacred Texts; Queer Theory; Sacred Texts & Religious Diversity

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Wanda Deifelt

Professor of Religion

Education: Ph.D., Joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northwestern University Doctoral Program; M.T.S., Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; B.A., Faculdade de Teologia, Escola Superior de Teologia

Research Interests: Contextual Christian Theologies (particularly feminism and liberation), Reformation, Ecumenism, Interdisciplinary Studies on Embodiment, and Interfaith Dialogue

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Todd Green

Associate Professor of Religion

Education: Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; M. Div., Columbia Theological Seminary; M.A., Vanderbilt University; B.A., Birmingham-Southern College

Research Interests: Secularization and Islamophobia in the West, Interreligious Dialogue

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James Hoke

Assistant Professor of Religion

Education: Ph.D., New Testament and Early Christianity, Drew University: Graduate Division of Religion; M.Div., University of Chicago; B.A., Religion; Women’s and Gender Studies, Furman University

Research Interests: Feminist and Queer Theories; Intersectionality, Assemblages, and Affect; Wo/men in and around Paul’s Letters; Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Sexuality in the Roman Empire; Ancient Greek and the Politics of Translation

Gereon Kopf

Professor of Religion

Education: Ph.D., Religious Studies, Temple University; M.A., Temple University

Research Interests: Religions of East Asia, Zen Buddhist philosophy, global-critical philosophy of religion, global-critical philosophy of mind, ethics, critical theory

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Read Gereon Kopf's faculty story

More information about Professor Kopf:

Guy Nave

Professor of Religion

Education: Ph.D., New Testament Studies, Social History of Early Christianity, Yale University; M.Phil., New Testament Studies, Biblical Interpretation, Yale University; M.A., New Testament Studies, Greco-Roman Milieu, Yale University; M.Div., Biblical Studies, New Testament Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary; B.A., Psychology, Oral Roberts University

Research Interests: Origins and social history of early Christianity, social implications of biblical interpretation, the relationship between Christianity and empire, the relationship between scripture and faith

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Read Guy Nave's faculty story

Robert Shedinger

Professor of Religion

Education: Ph.D., Religious Studies (with distinction), Temple University; M.A., Religious Studies, Temple University; M.Div., Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; B.S., magna cum laude, Civil Engineering Tech, Temple University

Research Interests: The Syriac versional tradition of the New Testament, theoretical approaches to the study of religion, Christian-Muslim relations in the contemporary world

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Bonnie Johnson

Academic Administrative Assistant

Jim Martin-Schramm


Education: Ph.D., Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York; M. Phil., Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in New York City; M. Div., Parish Ministry, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary; B.A., Doctrines of Human Nature, Pacific Lutheran University

Research Interests: Ethics, Energy, and Climate Policy; Theological Ethics and Duties to Future Generations; Christian Social Ethics; Campus Renewable Sustainability Initiatives

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Terry Sparkes


Will Bunge


Brad Hanson


Loyal Rue