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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our department is following the University’s Return to Campus Plan for fall term. Staff will be working remotely. Please see our web pages for more information about courses and our degree programs.  Questions may be e-mailed to


From antiquity to the present, religion has provided a vocabulary for individuals to confront ultimate questions about the meaning of life.  At the societal level, religion drives the formation of community and conflict. The rise of militant Buddhism in Myanmar, the role of Evangelicals in US politics, and the struggle for legitimacy among contemporary Muslims are only a few contemporary examples of the relevance of religious studies.  Understanding the role of religion is critical for analyzing socio-political forces shaping the world today.

Here’s what’s happening in the Religious Studies Department

The Apocalypse of Empire: Imperial Eschatology in Late Antiquity and Early Islam

In The Apocalypse of Empire, Stephen J. Shoemaker argues that earliest Islam was a movement driven by urgent eschatological belief that focused on the conquest, or liberation, of the biblical Holy Land and situates this belief within a broader cultural environment of apocalyptic anticipation. Shoemaker looks to the Qur’an’s fervent representation of the imminent end of the world and the importance Muhammad and his earliest followers placed on imperial expansion. Offering important contemporary context for the imperial eschatology that seems to have fueled the rise of Islam, he


Sanders Award

The Annual Jack T. Sanders Memorial Award

Deadline for receipt of nominations: April 15 of Spring Term

Click here for more information on how to apply.

Previous winners:


Maria Spores, “Perspectives on Serpent Handling and the Law.”


Carson Hauth, “The Sanaa Palimpsest as an Intentional Political Edition.”

Miriam Thielman, “Sex, Power, and Morality in Sodom and Gomorrah and the Concubine of Gibeah.”


Julie Langenberg, “Purest of Pure: The Qumran Community’s Elevated Value of Purity.”


Daniel Sanders, “Teresa of


Ioudaismos in Paul

2020 Ira E. Gaston Lecture in Christianity

Lecture presented by Daniel Boyarin, Hermann P. and Sophia Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California at Berkeley

Thursday, February 20, 2020


Gerlinger Lounge