October 21 2018

Interview by Kristian Petersen

In the Zoroastrian Empire of Iran during late antiquity, what were the limits of Christian identity? Richard E. Payne, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Ancient Near Eastern History at the University of Chicago, explains how Christians were able to navigate the Iranian political world and how their identity as Christians did not necessarily preclude political participation in a thoroughly Zoroastrian empire.

Payne is the author of "A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity" (University of California Press, 2015), which won the AAR's 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of historical studies.

 

Francis J. Beckwith with Kristian Petersen

Francis J. Beckwith, professor of philosophy & church-state studies at Baylor University, discusses how we form complex beliefs and if the difference between the process of developing so-called religious beliefs and secular beliefs might be smaller than we think.

Beckwith is the author of "Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith" (Cambridge University Press, 2015). The book won the American Academy of Religion's 2016 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in the category of constructive-reflective studies.

by Tuve Floden

Assessing the temporary school structure constructed by USAID

A degree in religion opens many opportunities for jobs outside or parallel to academia, especially in a field like national and international development. While searching for such jobs—let alone securing one—can seem a daunting process, I come bearing good news: a student of religion is a great fit for the development field. These employers value the fact that religious studies is multidisciplinary—incorporating fields like history, literature, political science, and anthropology. Graduates have a solid understanding of the pluralistic and multicultural world we live in, not to mention the diverse groups present within our nation itself. Religious studies also teaches strong critical thinking, reading, and writing skills—essential tools for managing programs, writing grant proposals, and working with a wide range of clients.

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