» News & Events

January 2015
Religious Studies Students Travel to New Orleans over Interterm

Professor Julye Bidmead and her students traveled to New Orleans for nine days as part of "Women and Religion: Voodoo in Context," a new interterm course designed to explore women’s participation and empowerment in the Voodoo religion by examining issues of authority, ritual, self- identity, gendered and societal stereotypes, gendered material culture, Voodoo history and theology.  

November 17, 2014
"Holocaust by Bullets: The Untold Story"
Father Patrick DeBois

Although nearly seventy years have passed since the end of the war in Europe, aspects of the history of the Holocaust still remain undiscovered and untold. The grandson of a French deportee to the Rawa Ruska labor camp in the Ukraine, Father Patrick Desbois has led a truly historic effort to locate undiscovered mass graves of Jews and Roma killed during the Holocaust by the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing units. With his colleagues at Yahad-In Unum, Father Desbois has discovered 1,350 mass killing sites and interviewed over 3,800 witnesses, many of whom had never before shared what they saw. His research is an invaluable contribution to history and memory. Father Desbois has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from the government of France. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from New York University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among others. His book, The Holocaust By Bullets, was honored with the National Jewish Book Award in 2008.
A Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education Lecture Series Event 
Co-sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies

November 11, 2014
"Sacred Ground--Why Religious and Non-Religious Diversity Matters in the 21st Century"
Eboo Patel

Called by U.S. News & World Report "one of America's best leaders for promoting interfaith cooperation," this deeply inspiring speaker makes religious diversity his cause. He calls everyone in America to challenge religious prejudice, just as we challenge racial and gender prejudice, and works on college campuses to empower young adults through education and service. Dr. Patel is an American Ismaili Muslim of Gujarati Indian heritage and founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international non profit that promotes interfaith cooperation. To listen to his lecture....
A Fish Interfaith Center 10th Anniversary Celebration Event
Co-Sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Huntington Memorial Lectureship 

November 10, 2014
"Transforming the Inner and the Outer:  Conversations on Sustainable Spirituality"
Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi 

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi is the Director of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also serves as the Buddhist Chaplain at MIT.
A Fish Interfaith Center 10th Anniversary Celebration Event 
Co-Sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Huntington Memorial Lectureship

November 4, 2014
Dedication of Chapman's New Albert Schweitzer Exhibit!
2nd Floor Argyros Forum

This event included a lecture by Professor of Philosophy Mike Martin on "Schweitzer's Reverence for Life:  Imprinted at Chapman College, In Dialogue at Chapman University" and remarks by the new director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, Prof. Nancy Martin.  The updated exhibit features video and an interactive feature allowing visitors to view films on Schweitzer, listen to him play Bach on the organ and much more!

Congratulations to Religious Studies Major Marilyn Love!

Religious Studies Major Marilyn Love has been selected to receive the 2014-2015 Town & Gown Scholarship, a prestigious campus scholarship awarded to juniors or seniors in all campus competition in recognition of academic excellence and exemplary commitment to service. CONGRATULATIONS MARILYN!

Welcome Professor Donald Hagner
2014-2015 Visiting Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies

The Department is pleased to announce that renowned New Testament scholar Donald Hagner has been selected to be the 2014-2015 Visiting Grisest Professor of Bible and Christian Studies.  Prof. Hagner is George Eldon Ladd Emeritus Professor of New Testament at Fuller Seminary and has had a long and distinguished career in New Testament Studies with an extensive list of publications, including The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction (2012).  He has delivered a number of distinguished named lectures, his international reputation affirmed by the many awards he has received and the considerable time he has spent at Cambridge University as well as the University of Tubingen, the Pontifical Institute, and other universities in Sweden, France, Australia, Germany, Singapore, and Italy over the years.  We are delighted that Chapman students will have the opportunity to study with such a distinguished scholar in the field, and he will also be delivering a campus lecture in the spring. Prof. Hagner will be teaching courses on the introduction to and interpretation of the New Testament. 

Department selects 2014 Outstanding Religious Studies Student

Cristina Smith has been selected as the Outstanding Religious Studies Student of the Year for 2014, and Cristina together with Rachel Stainton and Honah Thompson will graduate with Department Honors.  Congratulations Cristina, Rachel, and Honah!  For more information about these outstanding students, visit "Student Clubs and Honors" 

Philip Clayton Delivers Huntington Lecture: "Time and Emergence"
April 28, 2014

A leading advocate for comparative theology and the internationalization of the science-religion dialogue Prof. Clayton is Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology.  Among his many books are The Predicament of Belief:  Science, Philosophy, and Faith (2011); Religion and Science:  The Basics (2011); In Quest of Freedom:  The Emergence of Spirit in the Natural World (2009) and his is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science (2006).  He delivered his lecture as a part of the Interdisciplinary Conference on “Time and Becoming:  The Experimental Metaphysics of Time and the Observing Self.” 

"Time & Becoming:  The Experimental Metaphysics of Time and the Observing Self"
Interdisciplinary Conference April 28-30, 2014

This program focused on the implications of new physics findings regarding time and included a full-day conference followed by an evening address by Paul Davies on April 28th.  Tuesday was a consultation involving the conference participants and organizers. And Wednesday included presentations/workshops designed to introduce students to new developments in Physics and to meditation. The program was a collaboration of the Fish Interfaith Center, the Institute of Quantum Studies, and the Departments of Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Physics.  To view full program...

"Keeping Calm in the Midst of Chaos"
Venerable Thubten Chodron
April 22, 2014

Venerable Thubten Chodron, internationally renowned author, Tibetan Buddhist Nun and Abbess of Sravasti Abbey,returned to campus to deliver this lecture, co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Department and the Huntington Lectureship Fund. In her presentations, Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha's teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood by Westerners.  She is well-known for her warm, humorous and lucid teachings. To view the flyer... 

2014 Francis Memorial Lecture
"A Vision of Divine Justice:  The Resurrection of Jesus in Eastern Christian Iconography"
John Dominic Crossan
March 13, 2014

Renowned biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan delivered the 2014 Francis Lecture on the topic "A Vision of Divine Justice: The Resurrection of Jesus in Eastern Christian Iconography."  His lecture included a thought provoking slide presentation, illustrating the dramatically different ways the resurrection of Jesus has been conceived across Christian history, with Eastern Christian paintings depicting not only Jesus but Adam and Eve and others rising together with him in dramatic contrast to later Christian portrayals. Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at DePaul University Crossan is a specialist in early Christianity and New Testament and a popular lecturer worldwide. He is the author of 40 books on Jesus, Paul and the early Christian movement.  His books include Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (2009),  The Last Week (with Marcus Borg) (2007), and The Power of Parable:  How Fiction by Jesus become Fiction about Jesus (2013). For further information...

February 26-28, 2014
International Conference:  “Religious Genderings:  The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men”


Amina Wadud


Rosemary R. Ruether


Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler

Ken Stone

Ken Stone

The Religious Studies Department held an interdisciplinary conference on “Religious Genderings: The Socio-Spiritual [Dis-]Empowerment of Women and Men” February 26-28, 2014. Plenary addresses were delivered by scholar-activists Rosemary Radford Ruether, Amina Wadud, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Rachel Adler, and Ken Stone. The full conference program also included papers presented by international scholars from multiple disciplines, examining the interweaving of the social and spiritual in text, theory and practice across a range of religious traditions and regions of the world.  To view the conference presentations....

2013 Huntington Lecture
PrasadProfessor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, of Lancaster University, UK lectured on the popular South Indian devotional saint Andal, whose poetry provides rare but direct access to her self-expression as she describes what it feels like to be a young woman in the eighth century and her gendered self-understanding in her love for God.  This popular saint’s poetry is still regularly recited during a month long annual festival in South India, and her image is found in a multitude of temples, including the South Indian Hindu Temple in Malibu Canyon.

Prof. Chakravarthi’s wider research interests include theories of the self and of consciousness (including neurophilosophical aspects of meditative states); theoretical possibilities offered in interpreting political and public religion in the world, outside the constraints of the modern liberal Western experience, especially through a comparative theological analysis of the politics of secularism; and comparative studies of Indian and Chinese philosophies.   His most recent book is entitled Divine Self, Human Self: The Philosophy of Being in Two Gītā Commentaries (2013). Watch the lecture ...

Harran and LeysonCongratulations to Prof. Marilyn Harran!
Dr. Harran co-wrote with Leon Leyson and his wife Elisabeth, his memoir of surviving the Holocaust, entitled The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible…on Schindler’s List. This best-selling memoir is already being lauded as a classic, compared to Anne Frank’s Diary, and is being translated into 17 languages, as a story that will become a staple in school curriculums throughout the world. It was an Amazon Best Books of the Month in August 2013 when it first came out and has received a starred review in Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Voya as well as rave reviews from readers on sites like Goodreads and Amazon and newspaper book reviewers around the world. “Only occasionally does a book come along that I can recommend to everyone I meet. This is one of those books,” wrote Angela Crocomb in her review.  The writing and the story are compelling and will no doubt transform hearts and minds, embodying Prof. Harran’s deep commitment to Holocaust education. It is a truly great contribution, both to scholarship on the Holocaust and to people around the world who will read it for years to come!

Congratulations to Religious Studies Majors Honah Thompson and Leanna Bonds!
Honah Thompson has been selected to receive the two most prestigious campus scholarships awarded to juniors or seniors in all campus competitions.   In recognition of her academic excellence and her extraordinary commitment to service, she is a recipient of both the 2013-2014 Town & Gown Scholarship and the 2013-2014 Schweitzer Scholarship.  Leanna Bonds has been selected to receive the 2013-2014 Willis Fisher Endowed Award Scholarship, given to the senior who will make the most significant contribution to education in the field of religious studies.  Congratulations Honah and Leanna!

Religious Studies names Outstanding Student in Religious Studies and Departmental Honors
On Thursday, May 2, 2013, during the Kugelman Awards Ceremony held in Beckman 404, the Religious Studies department awarded Cambria Findley-Grubb with the award for Outstanding Student in Religous Studies for the 2012-2013 school year. Cambria was also awarded Departmental Honors along with Anne Mellott and Jessica Anderson. 


Chapman's Theta Alpha Kappa induction ceremony held
On Friday, April 19, 2013, the Alpha Lambda Lambda Chapter at Chapman University's Theta Alpha Kappa held an induction ceremony for sixteen religious studies students. To be eligible for the Theta Alpha Kappa honor society, students must have taken 12 credits in religious studies or theology with a 3.5 GPA and an overall GPA of 3.0. Theta Alpha Kappa has over 300 local active chapters across the United States. The ceremony featured statements by Dr. Julye Bidmead, chapter President Cristina Smith, and Rev. Dr. Gail Stearns.


Free Will Conference at Chapman
The Wallace All Faiths Chapel at Chapman University, in conjunction with the Departments of Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Physics, presented The Experimental Metaphysics of Free Will: A New Interdisciplinary Dialogue, on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at the Fish Interfaith Center.

During this exciting collaborative event, we launched a new interdisciplinary dialogue focusing on issues of "free will" and "determinism." Throughout the day, top scholars addressed the challenges that the newest findings of quantum physics present for our understanding of free will, from the perspective of their particular disciplines and the world's religious traditions. Participants contributed to a roundtable discussion and a panel presentation on concepts of free will.

The afternoon session featuring Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi and Gurucharan Singh Khalsa (pictured right) was sponsored by the Religious Studies Department's Huntington Lectureship

Student Multi-faith Leadership Conference
The Chapman Interfaith Council and Office of the Chapel invited students, campus staff and faculty to attend the Student Multi-faith Leadership Conference (SMLC). The daylong conference featured a variety of workshops and keynote speaker Najeeba Syeed-Miller, from the Claremont School of Theology. The conference took place, February 16, 2013.

Professor Nancy Martin gives lecture to Town & Gown
On February 7, 2013, Dr. Nancy Martin, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies, presented a guest lecture, An Uneasy Truce: Religion, Violence and the Pursuit of Peace, to Chapman University's Town and Gown luncheon. The lecture posed the questions, how then does religion seem so often to be implicated in violence and war, and what role has and can religion play not only in averting war but also in creating positive peace? The luncheon and guest lecture was attended by over 100 Town & Gown members.  For information on future Town & Gown events, please visit the Town & Gown website.


indiaStudents travel to India
Dr. Phyllis Herman and Rev. Nancy Brink led a group of students to India over interterm 2013 for a course entitled REL 335a - Hinduism and Religions of India. The 17-day trip took place on January 7-24 with three days of on-campus lectures before they went off to India. The course focused on the study of the historical development of Hinduism and other religions in India through texts, practices, and worldviews. The students travelled throughout India including New Delhi and Jaipur.