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Prospective Students

Religion is a facet of every culture in every time and place. It is a force that shapes both individuals and societies, and in turn is shaped by them.  Religious identities and ideals often fuel historical movements, and headlines attest that they continue to drive current events.  Religious faith comes to expression in art, literature, music, social institutions, politics, and in myriad other ways.  These are all reasons enough to study religion from an academic perspective and this is what we love to do in the Religion Department.  We feel that understanding religion is essential for understanding the world.

Religion can also be an expression of faith.  More than merely a facet of culture, religion is a matter of personal commitment.  It touches us deeply and influences how we view our place in the world and our relationships to each other, to God, and to the natural world.

The faculty of the Religion Department approach their teaching and research with a commitment both to intellectual rigor and to faithful appreciation of the Christian tradition, as well as the traditions of other faiths.  As a field of academic concentration, either as an academic major or minor, at Hope College your study of religion will engage both your mind and your heart.  Generations of students have found this to be an ideal focus for their undergraduate liberal arts degree.

The Faculty of the Religion Department are truly devoted to teaching. Professors take time getting to know students not just in upper-level electives but also in introductory courses.  Professors in the department make active use of the full range of teaching styles and instructional technologies.  Their teaching skills have been recognized and appreciated within the college, and over the years graduating seniors have selected nine members of the department for the Hope Outstanding Professor Educator Award ---- more than any other department.  Four current Religion faculty (Professors Steve Bouma-Prediger, Steve Hoogerwerf, Jeff Tyler, and Boyd Wilson) have received the  award.

For the sake of our students we work hard to stay current in our chosen fields, and also to contribute new knowledge through research and publication.  In addition to presenting professional papers at conferences and publishing articles in journals, religion professors have written many  books.  Just within the past few years  members of the department have published the following books: Professor Barry Bandstra, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 4th Edition (2008); Professor Steven Bouma-Prediger, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement (2008); Professor Mark Husbands, The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts (2007); and Professor Phil Munoa, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction to Gospel Literature and Jesus Studies (2004).

I am eager to introduce you to the Religion Department, to our programs, to our faculty, and to the students with whom we have had the pleasure and privilege of studying religion.  If you wish to know more about the department and its current activities, please visit our web site, and contact me if you have questions.                                                   

     Jeff Tyler
     Professor of Religion and
     Chairperson, Religion Dept.