W. David Hall joined the Centre faculty in 2002, and in 2005 received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2007, and held the NEH endowed professorship from 2010 to 2013. He has served as chair of the religion program. Prior to coming to Centre College, he taught for two years as visiting assistant professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago.
Dr. Hall’s primary research interest is 19th- and 20th-century European thought. He is co-editor of and contributor to a recent volume of essays entitled Paul Ricoeur and Contemporary Moral Thought (Routledge, 2002), and is the author of Paul Ricoeur and the Poetic Imperative: The Creative Tension Between Love and Justice (SUNY, 2007). His approach is broadly interdisciplinary, addressing currents within philosophy, literary theory, and the social sciences, and their impact on contemporary theology and ethics. His current interests concern questions of political agency within the context of modern notions of state sovereignty.
Dr. Hall received a B.A. in rhetoric from California State University in Sacramento. He attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he received an M.Div. and a Ph.D.
File last updated: 6/26/17
Watch a photo essay highlighting Dr. Hall’s Basketball as Religion class.
Christian Haskett joined Centre’s faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of religion.
Haskett’s academic specialty is the history of Buddhism in Tibet and India.He also works on Jainism and Hinduism, as well as Tibetan, Sanskrit, and other South Asian languages.
Haskett has a B.A. in English from Marywood University. He earned a M.A. in religion from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in languages and cultures of Asia from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
File last updated: 5/2/13
Lee Jefferson is an associate professor of religion, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2014.
Prior to coming to Centre in 2008, Jefferson taught courses at Memphis Theological Seminary and at Vanderbilt University, both in various areas of the Christian tradition. His primary area of interest is the development of the Christian tradition and art and imagery of Late Antiquity.
He graduated cum laude from Sewanee-University of the South and earned his M.Div. from Southern Methodist University (magna cum laude). He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in religion from Vanderbilt University. He has published articles on aspects of early Christianity in Religion and the Arts, Studia Patristica, Religion Compass, the Sewanee Theological Review, and SBL Bible Odyssey. His book reviews have appeared in Review of Biblical Literature, Religious Studies Review, Church History, and the Journal of Roman Studies. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (DeGruyter), and contributes to the Huffington Post, and most recently to Marginalia: Los Angeles Review of Books (see his article here).
Jefferson has developed a study abroad course on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In addition to traveling to sites of holy pilgrimage, he is researching the rise of reliquary devotion associated with pilgrimage routes in early and medieval Christianity.
His book, Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art (Fortress Press, 2014) concerns the early images of the miracles of Jesus. His second book, a collection of essays including a chapter he authored, co-edited with Robin M. Jensen, entitled The Art of Empire: Christian Art in Its Imperial Context, was published in October 2015. He contributes to the Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity and the The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies. He also has a forthcoming chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art. (read about it here).
He won the Kirk Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011. He is also a Shohet Scholar, having won the Shohet Scholars Award from the International Catacomb Society in 2013. Prof. Jefferson is utilizing the grant along with Prof. Tom McCollough to explore the material evidence of the caves of Khirbet Qana in Israel.
File last updated: 9/7/2016
Matthew Pierce joined the Centre College faculty in 2011. Before coming to Centre, he spent extensive time in the Middle East and Central Asia, including living in Egypt, Yemen, and Iran. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2016.
Pierce specializes in medieval Islamic history and thought. His current research focuses on classical Arabic and Persian biographies, analyzing the production of cultural symbols related to gender, authority, and identity. His 2016 book, Twelve Infallible Men: The Imams and the Making of Shi’ism (Harvard), won international recognition when selected for the Iran’s Book of the Year Award. He is presently writing a biography of the eighth century scholar, Ja’far al-Sadiq (under contract with Oneworld Publications). Pierce has also contributed to The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (2012) as well as an edited volume on Women, Leadership, and Mosques: Changes in Contemporary Islamic Authority (Brill, 2012). His work has also appeared in the Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies.
In addition to his regularly-taught course, “Western Religious Traditions,” Pierce teaches a variety of upper-level courses on topics related to Islamic Studies. He serves on the gender studies program and frequently teaches courses abroad during winter terms. In the spring of 2017 he served as co-director of the Centre-in-London program.
Pierce holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Boston University’s Division of Religious and Theological Studies. Prior to that, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Bryan College and received a Fulbright Fellowship (2002-2003) to research Qur’anic religious education in Sana’a, Yemen. From 2003 to 2006, he participated in an inter-faith dialogue program while studying in Qom, Iran.
To read about his course on “Islam in America,” click here.
To read about his course on “Rock, Rap, and Religion,” click here.
File last updated: 8/30/17
Shayna Sheinfeld joined Centre’s faculty in 2015 as visiting assistant professor of religion. She is a scholar in Second Temple Judaism, Early Christianity, and in Judaism.
Sheinfeld’s research interests include apocalypses (ancient and modern), the afterlives of biblical narratives and themes, especially in popular culture, and historical constructions of ancient Jewish communities.
At Centre, she teaches courses on Jewish and Christian scripture, non-canonical texts, Judaism, apocalypses and dystopian literature, Women in the Ancient World, and martyrdom.
Sheinfeld earned a B.A. in Religious Studies from DePaul University, an M.T.S. with a joint major in Scripture and Interpretation and in Jewish Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Early Judaism at McGill University.
File last updated 9/19/16
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Shana Sippy joined the Centre College faculty in 2017 as visiting instructor of religion.
Sippy earned a masters of theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and is a Ph.D. candidate in religious studies from Columbia University.