Department of Religious Studies

Welcome to Our New Faculty!

Tue, December 10, 2013
Welcome to Our New Faculty!
Top left to bottom right: Dr. Landau, Dr. Schofer, Dr. Smith, Dr. Moin and Dr. Harmansah


Omur Harmanşah is Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin for 2013-14 and is affiliated with the Departments of Middle East Studies and Religious Studies. Prof. Harmanşah is studying the intersections of place and landscape, bodily performance, local knowledge, collective memory, political ecology, and ritual practices at geologically special landscapes such as springs and caves. He has published Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East with Cambridge University Press (2013).  He is currently working on a monograph provisionally entitled Place, Memory and Healing: an Archaeology of Anatolian Rock Monuments (under contract with Routledge).


Brent Landau is Lecturer in Religious Studies.  Dr. Landau’s research includes canonical and apocryphal traditions about Jesus’ birth and childhood.  He is currently revising his dissertation to publish in the Corpus Christianorum Series Apocryphorum, a series of critical editions on Christian apocryphal writings published by Brepols.  His first book was Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men's Journey to Bethlehem, published in 2010 by HarperCollins.


Azfar Moin is Research Fellow in Religious Studies for 2013-14, on leave from Southern Methodist University where he is Assistant Professor of History. Prof. Moin’s research focus is on Sufism and Muslim kingship, and the comparative study of early modern Islamic history in South Asia, Iran, and Central Asia. His first book, The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam, won the 2013 Best First Book in the History of Religions Award from the American Academy of Religion and the 2013 John F. Richards Prize in South Asian history from the American Historical Association.


Jonathan Schofer is Associate Professor of Religious Studies with affiliation in the Schustermann Center for Jewish Studies.  Prof. Schofer’s research centers on classical texts of Judaism, with a focus on late ancient rabbinic literature, ethics, and mysticism.  He has published The Making of a Sage: A Study in Rabbinic Ethics (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005) and Confronting Vulnerability: The Body and the Divine in Rabbinic Ethics (University of Chicago Press, 2010).  He is currently researching the connections between virtue, love, and responses to persecution in a book project that addresses both comparative questions and specific rabbinic exegetical materials. 


 Geoffrey Smith is the W. C. Nease Fellow in Biblical Greek in the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins and Lecturer in the department of Religious Studies. His research and teaching includes New Testament and Early Christianity, Second Temple Judaism, Greco-Roman Religion, and late antique theosophical traditions such as the Corpus Hermeticum.  His first book project, Guilt by Association: The Emergence, Use, and Legacy of the Early Christian Heresy Catalogue (currently under review), explores the strategic circulation of polemical texts in contests for religious authority by deutero-Pauline and early-patristic authors. 

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