William & Mary

Faculty News

Michael Daise: This last year Professor Daise taught the courses ‘Christian Origins’ and ‘Judaism in the Greco-Roman World’, and had the privilege of directing an extremely well done honors thesis on sacramental implications of the Bohemian Reformation and the contemporary Episcopal Church.  In February he organized and hosted an interdisciplinary symposium with Classical Studies on ‘Religion and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World’, inviting Emeritus Professor Ithamar Gruenwald from Tel Aviv University.  In May he delivered the 12th Annual Milton and Shirley Salasky Lecture in Judaic Studies at Temple Beth El, Williamsburg.  And in May and June he delivered a lecture series on ‘Christianity in Late Antiquity’ at Hickory Neck Episcopal Church.  In his research Mr. Daise delivered a paper to the ‘Construction of Christian Identities’ group of the Society of Biblical Literature, submitted three articles to the Theologisches Wörterbuch zu den Qumrantexten (a major reference work on the use of Hebrew and Aramaic terms in the Dead Sea Scrolls), submitted a fourth article to the journal Annali di Storia  dell’ Esegesi, saw a fifth article come to print (written for the Tenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, Hebrew University, Jerusalem), published fifteen book reviews for the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures and the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus (one of them with William & Mary student Bethany Rishell) and continued his editorial work as board member and book review editor for the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.

Ravi Gupta: Professor Gupta designed a new course this year, “Hindu Sacred Texts,” a seminar-style in-depth study of the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. He continued work on two books about the Bhagavata Purana for Columbia University Press (more about them on the following pages). He was also elected to serve as Vice President for the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies, which meets annually with the American Academy of Religion.

The past year was also punctuated by numerous invited lectures. Dr. Gupta was awarded the Shivdasani Research Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, where he delivered a series of four public lectures and conducted research in the secret, underground stacks of the Bodleian library (well okay, they brought the books above-ground for me to read). He also conducted a month-long lecture tour of universities around India and met with India’s Minister of Education to discuss the possibility of offering Religious Studies as a subject at Indian universities.

David Holmes: Mr. Holmes spoke to the New York City Alumni, to the Episcopal Guild of Scholars, and at Charlottesville’s Festival of the Book.  He gave the baccalaureate address at William and Mary, delivered the commencement address at Hood College, and received his second honorary doctorate. He has finished a book entitled The Faiths of the Post-War Presidents, scheduled for publication by the University of Georgia Press this summer.  He now hopes to complete a novel set in the context of the Muscular Christianity movement.  

Because of changes in the Virginia Retirement System, Mr. Holmes’s retirement was postponed to June 2011.  He was delighted to have a relaxed year of closure, instead of a forced sprint, to bring an end to 46 years at William and Mary.  He will again give farewell lectures, this time entitled “Farewell Lectures, Second Season.”

In the spring semester, a section of the departmental website will contain the schedule for these lectures, some of which may occur on weekends and be followed by dinners with alumni.  The College is establishing an endowment in his honor that looks to support a named professorship in the fields of Reformation Studies and American Religious History.

John Morreall: In the fall, Professor Morreall taught Theory and Method, and Modern Religious Thought (changing its name to “Modern Jewish and Christian Thought” for 2010).  In the spring, he taught Roman Catholicism since 1800, along with Comedy, Tragedy, and Religion.  His book Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor was published by Wiley-Blackwell in October.  In July, he submitted the final version of The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Religious Studies (Wiley-Blackwell).  Co-written with Professor Tamara Sonn, this is the only religion textbook that starts off each chapter with a New Yorker cartoon.  As of July, Professor Morreall is Chair of the Religious Studies Department. 

Marc Lee Raphael: Marc Lee Raphael, the Nathan and Sophia Gumenick Professor of Judaic Studies, was honored to take 22 Tribe students to Prague for six weeks of May-June 2010 to study with him andseveral professors from Charles University. The highlight was the trip, with his wife and the students, to the ghetto/concentration camp of Terezin (Theriesenstadt) on his wife's birthday, the precise day on which her relatives (a father, mother and infant) were deported from Prague to Terezin (and eventually gassed at Auschwitz). He also completed (Spring) and copy-edited (Fall) THE SYNAGOGUE IN AMERICA: A SHORT HISTORY (NYU Press, 2011). 

Tamara Sonn: Professor Sonn was on research leave during 2009-2010.  She received a Fulbright fellowship to write a book on Muhammad Iqbal at the Iqbal Center of the International Islamic University in Islamabad.  Unfortunately, her house was decimated after being struck by lightning while no one was home, so she had to defer that project and oversee rebuilding the place.  She did manage to complete editing the SAGE Concise Handbook of Islamic Studies and produce an expanded and updated version of her Islam:  A Brief History.  Both books were published in the spring.  She and Professor Morreall also wrote a text introducing the academic study of religion.  Wiley-Blackwell will publish it – The Religion Toolkit:  A Complete Guide to Religious Studies – in spring 2011. And she continued to edit Wiley-Blackwell's Religion Compass (www.religion-compass.com), Oxford Islamic Studies Online (www.oxfordislamicstudies.com), and serve as Oxford Bibliographies Online: Islamic Studies (http://www.oxfordbibliographiesonline.com/) editor-in-chief.  But she is glad to be back on campus and with students again.  The rest of the world is too crazy!

Kevin Vose: Kevin Vose continued developing and teaching courses on Buddhism, adding two new courses to the long-term curriculum: Tibetan Religion (RELG 367) and Buddhist Philosophy (RELG 380). He also taught the department’s Theory and Method course for the first time and enjoyed a seminar format with our majors. He co-directed William and Mary’s East Asian Studies program and took part in the planning of a new South Asian Studies minor, for which the College hopes to develop a statewide consortium and to expand study abroad opportunities.  He continues his research on a ninety-volume collection of recently discovered medieval Tibetan manuscripts, publishing two articles in the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and presenting a paper at the International Association of Tibetan Studies conference in Vancouver over the summer. He continues to co-edit the Buddhism Section of the online journal Religion Compass (http://religion-compass.com/buddhism/).