Department of Religious Studies

Faculty Accomplishments

The Religious Studies faculty 

Leslie Baynes received the Director's Award for Outstanding Faculty Research in the Honors College Awards for Teaching, Research, and Service during the 2013 All-Faculty Recognition Reception.  Dr. Baynes was also invited to give a keynote paper at the 2013 meeting of the Enoch Seminar in Camaldoli, Italy, and presented on "The Parables of Enoch and Luke's Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus."  While there, she engaged in exploratory travel funded by a grant from the Missouri State University Study Away program; the Italy Study Away program will be held June 17-27, 2014 (more information here).

Stephen Berkwitz published Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism: Alagiyavanna and the Portuguese in Sri Lanka (Oxford University Press, 2013).  Dr. Berkwitz also gave a presentation and led a seminar in June 2013 at the invitation of the Material Text Cultures Research Group at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He presented research he has done on palm leaf manuscripts from Sri Lanka to groups of faculty and graduate students, as well as his paper, “The Contingencies and Processes of Buddhist Manuscripts from Sri Lanka.”

Mark Boyer published his 35th book recently, Nature Spirituality: Praying with Wind, Water, Earth, Fire (Wipf and Stock publishers, 2013).

Martha Finch completed a year-long sabbatical at Princeton University during academic year 2012-2013 to work on her manuscript: "Outward Adornment: Plain Dress in American Protestantism."

Mark Given was awarded a grant from the Graduate College and the Office of the Provost to advertise the Religious Studies MA program through Google AdWords, ensuring that many potential students become aware of the excellent MA program in Religious Studies at Missouri State University.

Lora Hobbs was chosen by Missouri State Master Online Course Recognition Award (MOCRA) Selection Committee for MOCRA Best in Category: Course Technology and Media Value, for her REL 100, Introduction to Relgion, online course.  Ms. Hobbs also received a $4,000 Public Affairs Grant to support the Meals-a-Million event in November, 2013, to provide meals (over a million!) to local food pantries in Springfield and Joplin, as well as globally through organizations in Haiti, Mexico, and El Salvador.

Victor Matthews recent publications:

The Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012) – 1st ed. title: Social World of the Hebrew Prophets (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2001).
Old Testament: Text and Context, 3rd edition (James Moyer, co-author; Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, 2012; 1st edition with Hendrickson Publishers, 1997 and 2nd ed. 2005).
“Looking for Levites in the Book of Judges,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 35 (2013), 136-150.
“Remembered Space in Biblical Narrative,” in Mark George, ed. Constructions of Space IV: Further Developments in Examining Social Space in Ancient Israel (New York: T & T Clark International, 2013), 61-75.
Taking Calculated Risks: The Story of the Cannibal Mothers (2 Kgs 6:24—7.20),” Biblical Theology Bulletin 43/1 (2013), 4-13.

Jim Moyer received two prestigious teaching awards recently: he first was honored with one of two University Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence (May 2012); and also earned the Governor's Award for Teaching Excellence during a luncheon with the Governor's office and fifteen faculty members, each representing a public university across Missouri in Columbia in April, 2013.

Austra Reinis attended the 12th International Congress for Luther Research in Helsinki, Finland in August, 2012, participating in workshops and presenting a paper, "Martin Luther's Jonah and Michael Helding's Re-Catholization Effort in Merseburg, Saxony."

John Schmalzbauer published an article, "Campus Religious Life in America: Revitalization and Renewal" in Society, 50(2), 115-131 (2013). In June, 2013, he was on a panel, "Fifty Years of Non-Sectarian Religion: Goals, Limitations, Expectations," at the Third Biennial Conference on Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN.

John Strong, in collaboration with Ms. Kelly Schlinder (Modern and Classical Languages), received a $3,500 Public Affairs Grant to bring Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor to MSU for a public speaking event in February, 2013. The event was a huge success, with thousands of students, faculty, staff, and community members in attendance.