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This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Religious Studies

Emeriti: (Professors) Arnold Eisen, Bernard Faure, René Girard, Edwin M. Good, Robert C. Gregg, Van Harvey, David S. Nivison

Chair: Hester G. Gelber

Professors: Carl W. Bielefeldt, Hester G. Gelber, Paul Harrison, Thomas Sheehan, Lee Yearley

Associate Professors: Shahzad Bashir, Charlotte Fonrobert, Brent Sockness

Assistant Professor: Behnam Sadeghi

Lecturers: Mark Gonnerman, Linda Hess, Akiba Lerner, Azim Nanji, Ariella Radwin, Jennifer Rapp

Acting Assistant Professor: Barbara Pitkin

Visiting Professors: David Carrasco, J. Rebecca Lyman, John MacRae

Visiting Associate Professor: Jennifer Rose

Affiliated Faculty: Jean-Pierre Dupuy (French and Italian), Maud Gleason (Classics), Jack Kollmann (Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies)

Department Offices: Building 70

Mail Code: 94305-2165

Phone: (650) 723-3322

Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Religious Studies have the subject code RELIGST, and are listed in the "Religious Studies [RELIGST] Courses" section of this bulletin.


The field of Religious Studies brings a variety of disciplinary perspectives to bear on the phenomena of religion for the purpose of understanding and interpreting the history, literature, thought, social structures, and practices of the religious traditions of the world. Comprised of a dozen regular faculty with particular strengths in the study of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, it enrolls about thirty graduate students (mostly doctoral) and roughly as many undergraduate majors, minors, and joint majors.

Religious Studies works closely with several related programs at Stanford: the Department of Philosophy, with which it offers a joint undergraduate major; the Stanford Center for Buddhist Studies; the Taube Center for Jewish Studies; the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies; the Program in Medieval studies; Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, with which the department offers a graduate degree; and the Asian Religions and Cultures Initiative.

While some undergraduates continue their study of religion in a graduate or professional program, most pursue meaningful and successful careers in business, government, the nonprofit sector, and medicine. In this respect, Religious Studies is an ideal interdisciplinary major in the liberal arts. Graduates of the department's doctoral program pursue academic careers and are routinely placed in the best universities and colleges in the country.

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