"To practice the history of religions... is to insist on discussing the temporal, contextual, situated, interested, human, and material dimensions of those discourses, practices, and institutions that characteristically represent themselves as eternal, transcendent, spiritual, and divine."

- Bruce Lincoln, "Theses on Method" (1996)

Welcome

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, and the African-American religious experience, it emphasizes historical and critical approaches, as well as interdisciplinary exploration within and beyond Religious Studies.

 

Chair of the Department: Justin McDaniel
Graduate Chair: Anthea Butler
Undergraduate Chair: Justin McDaniel

 

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Featured News

RELS Welcomes Donovan Schaefer- Assistant Professor in Material Culture Studies & Religion


Donovan S
chaefer joins the Department of Religious Studies as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2017, after spending three years as a lecturer at the University of Oxford.

 

 

2017 Boardman Symposium: Sanctuary: A Public Conversation on Religion, Immigration, and Contested Spaces

Join Penn’s Religious Studies department for a public discussion with leading religious leaders, historic preservationists, and activists for sacred spaces concerning relevant and contemporary issues facing struggles and triumphs of immigration, religion and sacred spaces.

Event Date: 
04/20/2017 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Location: 

Kislak Center, Class of 1978 Pavillion Room
6th Floor, Van Pelt Library
3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

UPCOMING BOOK PUBLICATIONS FROM UPENN'S RELIGIOUS STUDIES FACULTY

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."

Standing at Standing Rock

Penn's home page features a video article, "The Stand at Standing Rock", in which Tim Powell, senior lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies, reflects on the significance of the stand at Standing Rock.

Statement from Faculty of the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, on Desecration of Jewish Cemeteries - 2/28/2017

As Philadelphians and Religious Studies scholars, we are deeply shocked and troubled by the recent desecration of over 100 Jewish gravestones at the Mount Carmel cemetery. This act goes beyond vandalism. Cemeteries are sacred places. Respect for the dead and their remains are among what most unifies different religions and cultures across history and geography. Desecrating these gravestones not only communicates disrespect for the dead, and their Jewish identities, but also disrupts the bonds that connect us as human beings.