James E. Bowley

James E. Bowley

Professor of Religious Studies

BA, Grace College; MPhil, PhD, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“I’m James Bowley and I’ve been running around here at Millsaps since 2002. Some people think that teaching religious studies must be boring. They’re crazy! Religion is the most powerful social force on the planet, and studying religions is never dull. What’s not to like about spending the day with great colleagues and students thinking and conversing and researching about religious traditions, reading beautiful or even shocking texts, and investigating intriguing religious practices?

“I teach a lot of courses in ancient religious texts and history that are related to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I’ve also led travel courses in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Europe, and the Yucatan. I’ve published several books and I love being a teacher and scholar. But what I really am is a student — a student who gets paid! My real job is to be with other students and to ask questions about texts and religions and history and then to devise meaningful and enjoyable ways of exploring in the directions that those questions point. We explore and learn together, and on most days I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend time than to be leading students into the fascinating ways of religions and cultures of the world, which turns out to be a very practical course of study for getting interesting jobs too.”

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