Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies (Pt. I)

It's that time of the year again, and here at FPR we (or mostly 'I') figured that we'd toss out a few thoughts about applying to graduate school programs in religious studies. By "religious studies" we're casting a fairly wide net not referring to simply Religious Studies departments, but all programs where the applicant will study "religion" in some form or another (although we're not claiming broad knowledge of the application process for all these disciplines). Furthermore, much of our … [Read more...]

BYU Hiring Ancient Scrip Prof Rd 2

About a year ago we put up a post discussing the search for a professor of Ancient Scripture in BYU's School of Religious Education. This year they are again looking for a professor of Ancient Scripture. This search, however, is somewhat different than the previous one. I'd like to point out some of the differences between the two and raise an issue about the LDS notion of 'education'. … [Read more...]

Who is Correlation?

I'm being serious here, and trying not to be cynical. We hear so much about "Correlation" in the 'nacle, but I honestly have no idea who these people are, how they're chosen, and how the group functions. My hunch is that most of us are in the same boat. Perhaps my/our ignorance works well from our perspective because it's easier to be critical of an organization/committee that is impersonal, and has an ambiguous relationship within the structure of authority of the Church. Perhaps this ignorance … [Read more...]

The Perils of Parallel-o-Mania

The impetus for this post came from a conversation that started here. Since the blog administrator won't publish my response, I wanted to raise the issue in a more general setting. (Personal attacks on the author of that post will not be tolerated in this thread. Anything that encroaches on an ad hominem--or is overtly condescending-- will be deleted.)As religious people we are interested in religious things. This interest, for the most part, extends beyond our own tradition and into larger … [Read more...]

Forgetting Morality

I'm sure we're all very familiar with the advice that Pres. Hinkley's father gave to him shortly after Pres. Hinkley arrived in England on his mission and was feeling a little down and out: "Forget yourself and get to work!". The notion of "forgetting" is rarely used in a positive sense in LDS discourse (and probably in Christian or even Western discourse in general). Indeed we are admonished to "remember" certain things such as the covenants we made when we were baptized, and to pay … [Read more...]

Compartmentalizing the Bracket and the Problem of Creep

A little while ago TT wrote about a debate in the field of Religious Studies concerning the role of personal judgment in scholarship. "Bracketing" one's judgment, meant withholding a pronouncement of "superstitious", "backward", or even "good or bad" on the people or objects one studies. The scholar's role in this regard is to provide an accurate and sympathetic account of religious attitudes and actions. S/he attempts to see the world from the place of an other, and understand them in their own … [Read more...]

A Religious Studies Major at BYU–Pt. III

In our two previous posts we discussed the curriculum as well as what to cover in the theory and introductory courses for our new major. In this post I'd like to raise the issue of how the "areas of emphasis" should be structured and who/where we could draw from in creating classes from these areas. Areas of emphasis (or areas of study--AoS) are organized differently depending on the organizing committee's perception of "religious studies" as well as the school's strengths. Below are three o … [Read more...]

A Religious Studies Major at BYU Pt. II

In Pt I we looked at developing a curriculum and focused on "core classes". That discussion is still on-going. This post will examine the develoment of an Introduction to Religious Studies course (which will be part of the core classes), and a required theories course which majors will take during the Sophomore (and perhaps Junior) year. The issue of language requirements was also raised so let's toss that into the mix here. … [Read more...]


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