- Study Abroad
- Senior Seminars
- Religion Colloquium
- Christian Faith and Critical Thought Forums
- Guest Lectures
- Davis Library Collection
- Samford Sunday
See our Study Abroad page.
The Senior Seminar (RELG 498W) serves as one of two capstone courses for the religion major. It is required of all majors, except those pursuing a concentration in Congregational Studies, who may choose the Senior Seminar in Congregational Ministry instead (see Relg 499 below). The senior seminar classes are typically small, often with under 10 students. They focus on a detailed examination of some topic of general interest to scholars of religion that relates to a faculty member’s area of research. In recent years topics have included sacred space, John Calvin and his interpreters, models of Christianity and culture in America, and evangelicalism in trans-Atlantic perspective. As part of the seminar, students write a senior thesis, a major paper presenting their original research on a topic related to the seminar theme.
The Senior Seminar in Congregational Ministries (RELG 499) is an internship-based capstone experience for the religion major with a concentration in Congregational Studies. Each student secures a church-related internship for the spring semester of his or her senior year. Under the supervision of a pastoral mentor, each student spends 180 hours working toward the completion of a negotiated learning covenant. In past years students have interned in congregations from a variety of denominations. Others have secured internships at church-related schools, as well as with Hospice, Samford Student Life, Ignatius Productions, Women’s Missionary Union, the Apologetics Resource Center, and First Priority of Alabama. An important part of the seminar experience is a colloquium in which students and a faculty advisor share case studies from intern settings, apply insights from courses to internship-based issues, and pray for each other. Students may choose the Senior Seminar in Religion (Relg 498; see above) rather than the Senior Seminar in Congregational Ministries.
Religion Colloquium The Religion Colloquium is jointly sponsored by the Religion and Classics departments to encourage discussions within the field of religion, often from an interdisciplinary perspective. At monthly "tea time" meetings throughout the academic year, faculty members from departments across the university present a paper for about thirty to forty minutes, followed by a question and answer session over coffee, tea, and sweets. The colloquium offers faculty and undergraduate students an intimate and relaxed setting to reflect together on issues relating to the academic study of religion. For information on upcoming colloquia, see our events page.
Christian Faith and Critical Thought Forums
Christian Faith and Critical Thought Forums Sponsored by the Religion Department and University Ministries, the “Christian Faith and Critical Thought” forums are informal discussions led by professors on topics related to the intersection between Christian belief and human reason. In each forum, a professor presents a topic and then discusses it with students and other professors. The monthly, one-hour forums target students in Biblical Perspectives and other courses offered by the Religion and Philosophy departments. Some topics covered have been, "The Cosmology of Genesis 1," "Is Omnipotence a Theological Mistake?" "Who Wrote the First Gospel?" "Why Christians should, in spite of the Bible, and because of the Bible, oppose the death penalty in all circumstances," and "Can God be All Good and Powerful and There Be Evil in the World?" One convocation credit is offered at each event. For information on upcoming forums, see our events page.
Each year the religion department brings distinguished scholars in the field of religious studies to lecture at Samford University. These special lectures are aimed at students and faculty from across the university, and are usually open to the public. Due to the generosity of sponsors, the department also hosts two annual lectureships. The Howard L. and Martha H. Holley Lectures: New Testament Voices from a Contemporary World in Honor of Dr. William E. Hull (better known by the shorter, “Holley-Hull Lectures”) consist of three lectures, typically given in the fall, by noted scholars on a variety of topics representing views from across the theological spectrum. Recent Holley-Hull lecturers have included William E. Hull (Samford University), Amy Jill-Levine (Vanderbilt University), Richard B. Hays (Duke Divinity School), Ben Witherington III (Asbury Theological Seminary), Paul Fiddes (Oxford University), and Gail O'Day (Wake Forest School of Divinity). In the spring of 2008 Alan Culpepper (McAfee School of Theology) presented the first annual Ray Frank Robbins Lecture; in the spring of 2009, John J. Collins (Yale Divinity School) delivered the second; in the spring of 2010, R. Marie Griffith (Harvard Divnity School) delivered the third. The Robbins Lectureship focuses on the intersection of scholarship and Christian living.
Davis Library Collection
Samford’s Harwell Davis Library houses an extensive collection to support the study of religion, with special strengths in biblical, historical, and theological materials. Undergraduate students studying religion at Samford have access to the combined collections of the Howard College of Arts and Sciences and the university’s Beeson Divinity School. Students may also utilize the library’s Special Collections department, where they can work firsthand with archival resources that include a wide variety of religious newspapers and periodicals, individual church and denominational records, and personal papers of notable missionaries, teachers, and ministers. The Davis Library also maintains a dedicated page for Religious Studies and Theology.
Every Sunday during the fall and spring semesters, churches in a participating Baptist association open their pulpits for Samford ministerial students. These churches offer a unique opportunity for aspiring young ministers to prepare for future proclamation of the gospel.