Religious Studies


Faculty/Staff Directory


Department of Religious Studies Faculty


Dr. Johan Elverskog (B.A., University of California, Berkeley; M.A., Ph.D., Indiana University) is a Professor of Religious Studies and chair of the department. He has published widely on the history of Buddhism in Inner Asia and is the author and editor of seven books, including Our Great Qing: The Mongols, Buddhism, and the State in Late Imperial China and Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road, which was named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2010 by Choice Magazine and won the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence. Elverskog's courses include "Introduction to Asian Religions," "Buddhism," "Religions of China," and "A Cultural History of Tibet."  He is the recipient of the Godbey Lecture Series Authors' Award and the Altshuler University Distinguished Teaching Professor Award and has held fellowships at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Contact Information:, 214-768-4127 


Dr. G. William Barnard (B.A., Antioch University; M.A., Temple University; Ph.D., University of Chicago) is a Professor of Religious Studies, as well as a University Distinguished Teaching Professor. His primary areas of research interests are the comparative philosophy of mysticism, religion and the social sciences, contemporary spirituality, religion and healing, and consciousness studies. Professor Barnard is currently researching the Santo Daime tradition, a syncretistic religious movement in Brazil. He teaches a variety of courses: Magic, Myth, and Religion; Mysticism: East and West; Understanding the Self: East and West; Introduction to Primal Religions; Wholeness and Holiness: Religion and Healing Across Cultures; the Social-Scientific Study of Religion; and a graduate core seminar: History, Theory, and Method in Religious Studies.  Professor Barnard is the author of Living Consciousness: The Metaphysical Vision of Henri Bergson as well as Exploring Unseen Worlds: William James and the Philosophy of Mysticism, both published by State University of New York Press. In addition, Professor Barnard is the co-editor of Crossing Boundaries: Essays on the Ethical Status of Mysticism. Professor Barnard has also written many journal articles and book chapters on a variety of topics, such as pedagogy in religious studies, the nature of religious experience, and issues in the psychology of religion.  He is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and has received the Godbey Lecture Series Authors’ Award for both Living Consciousness and Exploring Unseen Worlds.  He has also received the Golden Mustang Outstanding Faculty Award for teaching and scholarship as well as the SMU Mortar Board Honor Society Award for teaching excellence. Contact,  214-768-2135


Dr. Mark A. Chancey (B.A., M.A., University of Georgia; Ph.D., Duke University) is a Professor of Religious Studies. He teaches course on biblical studies such as "Introduction to the New Testament," "Pauline Christianity," and "World of the New Testament." His research interests include the Gospels, the Historical Jesus, early Judaism, archaeology and the Bible, and the political and social history of Palestine during the Roman period. He is the author of The Myth of a Gentile Galilee (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and co-author of Alexander to Constantine: Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (Yale University Press, 2012). In recent years he has devoted considerable attention to the constitutional, political and academic issues raised by Bible courses in public schools. Chancey is the recipient of SMU's "M" Award, the Godbey Lecture Series Authors' Award, the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award, the Golden Mustang Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. Contact, 214-768-1460




Dr. Richard W. Cogley (B.A., Franklin and Marshall College; M.Div., Yale University; Ph.D., Religion, Princeton University) is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies. He teaches the introductory course "Judaism, Christianity, and the Bible" and well as more advanced undergraduate courses such as "Religious Sects and Cults in America," "The Puritan Tradition in England and America," and "The History of Christianity." English and American Puritanism has been the focus of his research, and he is the author of John Eliot's Mission to the Indians before King Philip's War (Harvard University Press, 1999). He received the Godbey Lecture Series Authors' Award for this book, a critical study of the New England Puritan minister better known as the "Apostle to the Indians." His current project is a study of Puritan eschatology and views regarding the settlement of ancient America. During his time as chair from 1999-2007, the department expanded from four continuing faculty lines to eight. Before coming to SMU, he held visiting appointments at North Carolina State University, Loyola Marymount University, and Reed College.  Contact,  214-768-2099


Dr. Jill DeTemple (B.A., Bowdoin College; M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School; Ph.D., the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies. DeTemple served several years as an agricultural extensionist with the U.S. Peace Corps in Ecuador before beginning her graduate studies. Her research interests include religiously sponsored development organizations, religions of Latin America, Pentecostalism, and theory and method in the study of religion. She is the author of Cement, Earthworms, and Cheese Factories:  Religion and Community Development in Rural Ecuador (University of Notre Dame Press, 2012).   Dr. DeTemple has received two Ford Tinker grants, a Foreign Language and Area Studies grant, and a Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning Summer Fellowship for research in Ecuador, and serves as co-chair for the Religion and International Development Group at the American Academy of Religion. Her courses include "Borderlands: Latino/a Religions in the United States," "The Philosophy of Religion," "The Social-Scientific Study of Religion," "Ways of Being Religious," and "Gender, Religion, and International Development" as well as graduate seminars in religious studies.  She is the recipient of the HOPE Teaching Award, the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award, and the Golden Mustang Award for excellence in teaching,  and was a 2008-2009 fellow at the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.
Contact Information
:,  214-768-2102


Kate Engel Dr. Kate Carté Engel (Ph.D., history, University of Wisconsin; B.A., Haverford College) is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies specializing in early American and Atlantic religion.  Prior to coming to SMU in 2012, she was associate professor of history and Rothrock Fellow at Texas A&M University.  She is the author of Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (2009, paper 2011), which was awarded the 2010 Dale W. Brown Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. She has published many articles, including in Church History and Early American Studies. She has been a Charles A. Ryskamp Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, an affiliate fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University, a Franklin Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, and a Barra Postdoctoral Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Her research and teaching interests center on the role of religion in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, especially as it intersects with political and economic developments.  Her current project, The Cause of True Religion, investigates the consequences of the American Revolution for transatlantic Protestant networks in North America, Britain, and Europe. Contact Information:, 214-768-2161 



Dr. Serge Frolov (M.A., Ph.D., Leningrad University; M.A., Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and the Nate and Ann Levine Professor of Jewish Studies. He teaches a wide range of courses including "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible," "The History of Judaism," "Religion and the Holocaust," "The Feminine Divine," and "Love and Death in Ancient Mythology." The author of The Turn Of The Cycle: 1 Samuel 1-8 In Synchronic And Diachronic Perspectives (Walter de Gruyter, 2004) and over two hundred articles in English and Russian, his areas of research are biblical hermeneutics and theology, history and religions of the ancient Near East, and Jewish history and thought. Before joining SMU in 2002, he worked for the National Library of Russia and the Shorter Jewish Encyclopedia in Russia, and he also taught at the Open University of Israel. He is the winner of the Society of Biblical Literature Regional Scholar Award, the Junior Scholar Award from the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies and the Golden Mustang Outstanding Faculty Award. Contact, 214-768-4478

Dr. John C. Lamoreaux (B.A., Michigan State University; M.A., Northwestern University; and Ph.D., Duke University) is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies. His research focuses on early Islam, Christian minorities living under Islam, and Arabic and Syriac Christian texts. His six books include Theodore Abu Qurrah (Brigham Young University Press, 2005); The Early Muslim Tradition of Dream Interpretation (State University of New York Press, 2002); John of Scythopolis and the Dionysian Corpus (Oxford University/ Clarendon Press, 1998) and the forthcoming Hunayn Ibn Ishaq on His Galen Translations (Brigham Young University Press). He has been the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Grant from the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Turkey. Prof. Lamoreaux teaches a wide range of courses including "Introduction to Western Religions," "Introduction to Islam," "Islam and the West," and "Religion and Science."  Contact,  214-768-1529

Dr. Shira L. Lander (B.A., Yale University, M.H.L., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Practice and Director of Jewish Studies specializing in late antique Judaism and Christianity. She previously was the Anna Smith Fine Senior Lecturer of Jewish Studies at Rice University, where she taught in the departments of Religious Studies and History and was awarded the 2013 Sarofim teaching prize. Before moving to Texas, she taught at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Delaware, and Princeton University. Her areas of interest include Jewish-Christian relations, sacred space, martyrdom, religious violence, and material culture. Her current research project explores patterns of philanthropy among Jews living in the ancient Mediterranean world. Contact,  214-768-2157



Dr. Steven E. Lindquist (B.A., The University of Wisconsin - Madison; M.A., The University of Chicago; Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and the Director of Asian Studies. A specialist in South Asian religious traditions with particular interests in Indian religious, literary, and material history, his writing focuses on Sanskrit religious literature. He has published articles on topics such as Indian numismatics and literary and religious aspects of the Upanishads. He is the editor of Religion and Identity in South Asia and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Patrick Olivelle (Anthem Press) and the author of the forthcoming Creating a Sage: The Literary Life of Yajnavalkya (State University of New York Press), which traces the “literary life” of the ancient Indian ritualist and sage, Yajnavalkya, through roughly one thousand years of literary history. Some of the classes that he teaches are "Introduction to Eastern Religions," "Introduction to Hinduism," "Myths, Epics, and Tales from Ancient India," and "Hinduism in Colonial Encounters." Dr. Lindquist has been a recipient of several awards, including the Fulbright-Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant and the American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Fellowship. He has lived in India over five years conducting research, reading Sanskrit and Hindi, and consulting with local scholars. He previously taught at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.  Contact Information:, 214-768-2105

Affiliated Faculty of the Department of Religious Studies 

Picture of Charlie Curran Dr. Charles E. Curran (B.A., St. Bernard's College; S.T.L., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; S.T.D., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; S.T.D., Academia Alfonsiana, Rome) is the Elizabeth Scurlock University Chair of Human Values. Dr. Curran is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the world's most prestigious honorary societies. He is the author of numerous over three hundred publications on Catholic moral theology, social ethics, and the role of the Church as a moral and political actor in society. His numerous books include Issues in Sexual and Medical Ethics (University of Notre Dame Press, 1978), The Moral Theology of Pope John II (Georgetown University Press, 2005), Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian (Georgetown University Press, 2006), and Catholic Social Teaching 1891-Present: A Historical, Theological, and Ethical Analysis (Georgetown University Press, 2002). His book Catholic Moral Theology in the United States: A History (Georgetown University Press, 2008) won the American Publisher's Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in Theology and Religion and the First Place Prize in History in the Catholic Press Association Book Awards. Prof. Curran's courses include "Bioethics from a Christian Perspective" and "Christianity and American Public Life."  Contact Information: Elizabeth Scurlock University Chair of Human Values, Campus Box 317 , SMU, Dallas 75275-0317/ / 214-768-4073

Dr. Robin W. Lovin (B.A., Northwestern University; B.D., Ph.D. Harvard University) is Cary Maguire University Professor of Ethics. Prof. Lovin served as Dean of the Perkins School of Theology from 1994 until 2002 and previously held teaching positions at Emory University and the University of Chicago, and he was Dean of the Theological School at Drew University. He is an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church and is active in local and national church events. His research interests include social ethics, religion and law, and comparative religious ethics. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous scholarly journals, including the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Studies in Christian Ethics, and the Journal of Law and Religion, and he is an editor-at-large for the Christian Century. His own writings include Christian Faith and Public Choices: The Social Ethics of Barth, Brunner, and Bonhoeffer (Fortress Press, 1984), Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism (Cambridge University Press, 1995), Christian Realism and the New Realities (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and the forthcoming An Introduction to Christian Ethics: Goals, Duties, and Virtues (Abingdon Press). Dr. Lovin teaches courses such as "Christian Ethics and Moral Issues," "The Bible and Ethics," and "Religion and Human Rights."  Contact Information: Cary M. Maguire University Chair of Ethics, Campus Box 317, SMU, Dallas, 75275-0317/ / 214-768-4134

Dr. Joseph B. Tyson, (B.A., B.D., Duke University; S.T.M., Ph.D. Union Theological Seminary) is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies. Dr. Tyson taught at SMU from 1958-1998 and was chair of the department from 1965-1975 and again from 1986-1993. He continues to serve as a mentor to the department's members. His major research has been in New Testament studies, the history of early Christianity, Jewish-Christian relations. Many of his publications have focused on the biblical books Luke-Acts. His most recent book is Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle (University of South Carolina Press, 2006); earlier works include Luke, Judaism, and the Scholars: Critical Approaches to Luke-Acts (University of South Carolina Press, 1999) and The Death of Jesus in Luke-Acts (University of South Carolina Press, 1986). Contact Information: Campus Box 202, SMU, Dallas, 75275-0202/