Why Religious Studies
   at Albright?

The Religious Studies Major



Student Scholarship


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Professor Jennifer Koosed, Ph.D.
Associate Professors Robert Seesengood, Ph.D., chair, and Victor Forte, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Samira Mehta Ph.D.
Related Faculty: Charles Brown, Ph.D, Kristen Zacharias, Ph.D.

photoJennifer Koosed, Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies
610-921-7760 | jkoosed@albright.edu


  • Diploma in Jewish Studies from Oxford University
  • M.T.S. from Vanderbilt Divinity School
  • Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University

Courses Taught

  • REL 141 Understanding the Hebrew Bible
  • REL 245 Monsters in the Bible
  • REL 244 Sex, Gender, Bible
  • REL 375 Religious Responses to the Holocaust
  • REL 250 Judaism: Religion and Culture

Research Areas

  • Hebrew Bible and New Testament, especially Persian Period literature
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Bible and popular culture
  • Literary theory
  • Judaism and post-Holocaust thought


  • (Per)mutations of Qohelet: Reading the Body in the Book (Continuum, 2006)
  • Gleaning Ruth: A Biblical Heroine and Her Afterlives (University of South Carolina, 2011)
  • Jesse’s Lineage: The Legendary Lives of Jesus, David, and Jesse James (Continuum, 2013); co-written with Robert Paul Seesengood
  • The Bible and Posthumanism (Scholars Press, 2014); an edited volume

Recent Student Research Collaborators

photoVictor J. Forte, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Phone: 610-921-7731 | vforte@albright.edu
FAX: 610-921-7555


  • Ph.D.: Religion - Temple University (2005)
  • M.A.: Religion - Temple University (1999)
  • M.S.: Environmental Science – Drexel University (1992)
  • B.A.: Biology – Millersville State University (1980)

Courses Taught

  • REL 152 Religions of India China and Japan
  • REL 210 Asia on Film
  • REL 256 The Buddha and His Teachings
  • REL 257 Buddhism Across Cultures
  • REL 266 Asian Cultural Life
  • REL 280 Religion and the Environment
  • REL 296 Yoga: Philosophy and Practice
  • REL 278 Death and Dying
  • REL 390 Facing Asian Scriptures

Research Areas

  • Buddhist Thought
  • Comparative Ethics
  • Japanese Buddhism and Intellectual History
  • Inter-religious Dialogue


  • Forthcoming: 2014
    The Eastern Buddhist 
    “Seimei, Sei and Inochi (生命と生といのち) A lecture by Ueda Shizuteru”
    Co-translated w/Michiaki Nakano
  • Forthcoming: 2014
    Contributing Author in Japanese Philosophy
    “Saichō: Founding Father of Japanese Buddhism”
    Edited by Gereon Kopf, New York: Springer Press
  • 1/2010 Philosophy East and West
    Featured Review Essay: “Beyond Satori: New Studies of Japanese Religious Experience.”
  • 2009 Contributing Author in Buddhist Roles in Peacemaking: How Buddhism Can Contribute to Sustainable Peace
    “Reflections on the Ethical Meaning of Shinran’s True Entrusting”
    Edited by Chanju Mun, Honolulu: Blue Pine Books
  • 2007 Contributing Author in Mediators and Meditators: Buddhism and Peacemaking
    “Finding Peace in the Simile of the Saw”
    Edited by Chanju Mun, Honolulu: Blue Pine Books
  • 2007 Contributing Author in Deconstruction and the Ethical in Asian Thought
    Chapter 12: “The Ethics of Attainment: The Meaning of the Ethical in Dōgen and Derrida” Edited by Youru Wang, Routledge Press
  • 12/2006 Vera Lex – Journal of Natural Law
    Essay: “Early Buddhist Inclusion of Intentionality in the Laws of Causation”

Recent Student Research Collaborations:

  • Summer 2013: w/Rhiannon Hansing: Genocide Studies
  • Summer 2011: w/Andrea Eiland: Study of Hindu VRAJ Temple in Schuylkill Haven, PA
  • Interim 2009 and Interim 2010: w/Michiaki Nakano: Translation of Works by Ueda Shizutera
  • Interim 2008 and Summer 2008 :w/Amy Defibaugh: Study of American Zen Buddhism
  • Interim 2008 and Summer 2008: w/Danielle Ferri: Film Documentary of American Zen Buddhism


photoRobert Seesengood, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Department Chair
610-929-6610 | rseesengood@albright.edu


  • Ph.D.  (New Testament and Early Christianity) Drew University, 2004
  • Th.M. (New Testament) Princeton Theological Seminary, 1998
  • M.Div. (Bible and Church History) Harding School of Theology, 1996
  • B.A.  (English Language and Literature) Arkansas State University, 1992

Courses Taught

  • REL 142: Understanding the New Testament
  • REL 247: Apocalyptic Literature
  • REL 154: Introduction to Classical Mythology
  • REL 264: Religion at the Movies
  • REL 243: Jesus in Fiction and in Film
  • REL 390: The Life and Letters of Paul

Research Areas

  • Greco-Roman Religion
  • The New Testament (the Letters of Paul and the Apocalypse of John)
  • Ancient Greek (Classical and biblical)
  • Ancient Christianity
  • The Bible and Popular Culture

Selected Recent Publications

  • The Bible and American Popular Culture (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming)
  • Jesse's Lineage: The Legendary Lives of Jesus, David and Jesse James (Bloomsbury / Continuum, 2013). Co-written with Jennifer L. Koosed
  • Paul: A Brief History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Competing Identities: The Athlete and the Gladiator in Early Christianity (Continuum, 2006)

Student Collaboration

  • Colin Hill, "Deus en Machinum: Building an Interactive Genealogy for Mythic Figures for use in post-secondary Education." Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE), 2014.
  • Karina Grossman, "Body Language / Defying Gravity: A Study of Kinesthetic Theater." College Honor's Thesis, 2013.
  • Thomas Hansbury, "Zodiak Iconography in Judaism of the Early Roman Era." Department Honor's Thesis, 2011.
  • Sean Fuoti, "Satan as Byronic Anti-Hero in Milton's Paradise Lost." College Honor's Thesis, 2011.


photoSamira Mehta Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies


  • Emory University: Ph.D., Religion with a focus on American Religion
  • Harvard University: Master of Divinity
  • Swarthmore College: Bachelor of Arts

Courses Taught

  • REL 261 Early American Religious Life to 1865
  • REL 262 Modern American Religious Life from 1865 to the Present
  • REL 251 Islam: Ideals and Realities
  • New Course: Gender and Sexuality in American Religion

Research Areas

  • Religion and the Family in the United States
  • Religious Diversity in the United States
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Religion and Food
  • Religion and Popular Culture


  • Beyond Chrismukkah: A Cultural History of the Christian–Jewish Blended Family from 1965 to 2010. Forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.

  • “God Bless the Pill? Religion, Oral Contraception, and American Sexuality 1960–1980” Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the 20th Century United States, eds. Gillian Frank, Bethany Moreton, and Heather White (under review)

  • “Chrismukkah: Multicultural Millennialism” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation , 25:1 (Winter 2015)

  • "I Chose Judaism, but Christmas Cookies Chose Me:  Food, Identity, and Familial Religious Practice in Christian/Jewish Blended Families" in Religion, Food, and Eating in North America, ed. Benjamin E. Zeller et al.  (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014)

  • “Negotiating the Interfaith Marriage Bed: Religious Difference and Sexual Intimacies" in Theology and Sexuality. 18:1 (2012) 19-41.