"For much of the twentieth century, most American intellectuals dreamed of a public square empty of religious actors and religious arguments... But then came the deluge: the election of Jimmy Carter, the Iranian Revolution, the rise of the Moral Majority, the Reagan Revolution, 9/11, and the faith-based presidential election of 2004.... Evidence of the public power of religion is overwhelming, particuarly in the United States."

- Stephen Prothero, Religious Literacy (2007)


The Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania offers a wide range of courses, undergraduate Majors and Minors, and a renowned PhD program. With particular strengths in the study of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, the African-American religious experience, and material and visual culture, it emphasizes historical and critical approaches, as well as interdisciplinary exploration within and beyond Religious Studies.

Chair of the Department: Jamal J. Elias
Graduate Chair: Anthea Butler
Undergraduate Chair: Justin McDaniel


Read more about us...

Featured News

SACRED STUFF: Religious Bodies, Places, and Things

New Course with Donovan Schaefer this fall!



Digital Humanities from an Indigenous Perspective

This week the department of Religious Studies congratulates Dr. Timothy Powell, director of EPIC (Educational Partnerships with Indigenous Communities).  Dr. Powell has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Level II Digital Humanities Advancement grant entitled “Digital Humanities from an Indigenous Perspective: Strengthening Partnerships between Indigenous Communities, Humanities Scholars, Museums, and Archives.” 

Justin McDaniel - "Classroom Trailblazer"

RELS356301 Living Deliberately: Monks, Saints and the Contemplative Life



The School of Arts & Sciences' Omnia featured two Religious Studies Faculty members this month!

On Thursday, Omnia published, "The FBI and Religion: Steven Weitzman, Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literature, discusses faith and national security."