Religions make crucial contributions to the human worlds in which we live. They shape our presents and futures, ideas and convictions, emotions and desires, actions and values, associations and antagonisms, artistic, literary, and musical creations. At McDaniel, you’ll find that courses in religious studies provide students with knowledge and skills which enable them to understand the diversity of human religious experience, both the positive and the negative. In a world defined by religious pluralism, a rich understanding of religions not only enhances what graduates can offer their businesses, employers, and communities but also enables them to live intelligent and humane lives.
“The skills I learned as a religious studies major have been the keys to my success. I learned to look beneath the surface for deeper meaning—being able to hear everyone’s ideas and draw the links between them - have served me well in the IT industry.”
Baker Memorial, lower level
Dr. Greg Alles
Majors & Courses
Students often find courses in Religious Studies helpful in broadening their perspectives not only on religion but also on the world. A major or minor in Religious Studies can broaden or globalize a primary major. The College’s proximity to the Baltimore-Washington provides ample opportunity to explore and study a variety of religions. Coursework does not presume any religious commitment on the part of the student, nor endorses, promotes or condemns any particular religion, set of religions, or religion in general. Instead, students examine religions as subjects of academic inquiry, and learn a variety of methods to do so, humanistic, social scientific, at times even natural scientific.
Professor Gregory Alles
(Ph.D., Chicago), teaches in the areas of Hinduism, Buddhism, and methods and theories in the study of religions. Twice a Fulbright research scholar in India, his current research interests focus on adivasis (indigenous people) in western India. A past president of the North American Association for the Study of Religions, he co-edits, with Olav Hammer (Odense), Numen, the journal of the International Association for the History of Religions.
Associate Professor Vera Jakoby
(Ph.D., Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany), involves her students in her research interest in interpretations of paradise in European and North American culture while pursuing her teaching and research interests in the philosophy of religion, especially in 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy, and critique of religion in Nietzsche and Heidegger, which are reflected in her courses, including “Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Renaissance,” “Visions of Paradise” and others.
Lecturer Jill Krebs
(Ph.D., Drew University), is a sociologist of religion specializing in Catholic visionary culture. She also teaches courses relating to religion in contemporary North America, gender and religion, and religious environmentalism.
Recent student–faculty research collaboration
|Alexandra Zimbicki||Dr. Greg Alles||Making Sense of Two Types of Possession, Benevolent and Malevolent Spirits, Contrasting Models|
|Mark Letsch||Dr. Vera Jakoby||The Entheological Paradigm in Buddhist Thought|