Department of Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies offers Richmond students the opportunity to study a broad range of religions from an academic perspective.

Our faculty and staff reject racial bias, hate speech, religious intolerance, and all other expressions of bigotry. The academic study of religion promotes a community founded on the values of inclusivity, equity, and diversity.  Religious Studies courses help students understand the complex and sometimes volatile relations of difference, and we model substantive intellectual responses to it. 

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The Development of Law in Early Chinese Political Philosophy

Wednesday, November 8, 4:00 PM

Whitehurst Living Room, 108

Dr. Eirik Lang Harris, Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University

This talk examines the development of the role of law in the early Chinese philosophical corpus. It argues that Confucians were not as anti-law as often portrayed, many Legalists were not primarily concerned with the power of the ruler, and neither thought of the value of law as arising from its being a command of the ruler. For the vast majority of early Chinese philosophical texts, the benefits of the law were understood as arising, in part at least, from its naturalistic sources. To the extent that laws were seen as effective, they bore a necessary relationship to a range of underlying patterns in the natural world.

Eirik Harris is the author of The Shenzi Fragments: A Philosophical Analysis and Translation (Columbia University Press, 2016) and co-editor of Adventures in Chinese Realism: Classic Philosophy Applied to Contemporary Issues (SUNY Press 2022), as well as numerous articles and chapters on the Confucian and Legalist views on the relationship between morality and politics.

Religious Studies and Science!

Reghan Ruf, '21, majored in biology and religious studies at the University of Richmond. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biogeochemistry at the University of Akron. Listen to her insights on how her studies in religious studies and biology have complemented each other.

Faculty Highlights

Dr. Douglas L. Winiarski
Winiarski Awarded

Douglas L. Winiarski, professor of religious studies, has been awarded a Fritz and Claudine Kundrun Open-Rank Fellowship from the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies for his new book project. Read more.

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Dr. Jane M. Geaney
Geaney Published

Jane Geaney, professor of religious studies, published her third book, The Emergence of Word-Meaning in Early China. This book is the companion volume to her 2018 book, Language as Bodily Practice in Early China: A Chinese Grammatology, and makes an innovative contribution to language studies by historicizing the Chinese notion that words have "meaning."

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Dr. L. Stephanie Cobb
Cobb Earns University Distinguished Educator Award

Stephanie Cobb, George and Sallie Cutchin Camp Professor of Bible, was named a 2021 recipient of the University’s Distinguished Educator Award at the annual Colloquy celebration.

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Dr. William L. Kelly
Kelly Published

Will Kelly ’07, visiting assistant professor of religious studies, recently published How Prophecy Works:A Study of the Semantic Field of נביא and a Close Reading of Jeremiah 1:4–19, 23:9–40 and 27:1–28:17 through Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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Scholarship Repository Readership

The University of Richmond's Scholarship Repository shares faculty publications with a world-wide audience. The map below shows where articles from religion faculty are being read around the globe.

Upcoming Courses

  • Leadership Ethics: Early China
  • Introduction to Hebrew Bible
  • Islam and Film
  • Introduction to New Testament
  • Varieties of Christian Ethics
  • Truth, Justice, and the American Way (Of Doing Philosophy)
  • Tolkien and the Medieval Imagination

Contact Us

Mailing address:
Department of Religious Studies
Weinstein Hall, Room 102
231 Richmond Way
University of Richmond, Virginia 23173

Phone: (804) 289-8325
Fax: (804) 287-6504

Chair: Mimi Hanoaka

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