Doctoral Dissertations

"The Buddhist Modernization Project: Periodicals and the Making of Modern Chinese Buddhism", Lianghao Lu, 2019

Digital Devotions: Constructing Sexual and Spiritual Identities through Queer Saint Narratives Online, David Givens, 2018

The Global Reflex: David M. Stowe and American Ecumenical Mission in a Postcolonial World, Emily R. Stewart, 2018

Bringing the Buddha Closer: The Role of Venerating the Buddha in the Modernization of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Soorakkulame Pemarathana, 2017

The Funerary Buddha: Material Culture and Religious Change in "The Introduction of Buddhism to China," Margarita Delgdo Creamer, 2016

Tradition and Individualism in Suburbia: An Ethnographic Study of Orthodox Jewish Women, Rebecca Slavin-Phillips, 2016

Jesus and the Galilean Crisis: Interpretation, Reception, and History, Tucker Ferda, 2016

Mother Knows Best: Methodism, Seventh-day Adventism, and Dietary Morality in Victorian America, Emily Bailey, 2015

"Pray, Pay and Disobey": Conflict and Schism in Catholic America, 1870-1939, Margaret J. Rencewicz, 2015

Presents of God: The Marketing of the American Prosperity Gospel, Susie Meister, 2014

Antidotes to Deism: A Reception History of Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, 1794-1809, Patrick Hughes, 2013

Leading the Good Life: Peng Shengshao's Biographical Narratives of and Instructions for Buddhist Laywomen in High Qing China (1683-1796), Hongyu Wu, 2013

Turkey and the Rescue of Jews during the Nazi Era: A Reappraisal of Two Cases; German-Jewish Scientists in Turkey and Turkish Jews in Occupied France, Izzet Bahar, 2012

Transnational Conversions: Greek Catholic Migrants and Russky Orthodox Conversion Movements in Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Americas (1890-1914), Joel Brady, 2012

Constructing Christian Identities, One Canaanite Woman At A Time: Studies in the Reception of Matthew 15:21-28, Nancy Klancher, 2012

Appropriating Apocalyptic: Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics and the Discourse of Mark 13, Peter de Vries, 2010

Weapons Upon Her Body: The Female Heroic in the Hebrew Bible, Sandra Collins, 2009

"Nostalgia Without Memory": A Case Study of American Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Amy Slagle, 2008

Religious Truth and Religious Diversity, Nathan S. Hilberg, 2006

Religious Internationalism: The Ethics of War and Peace in the Thought of Paul Tillich, Matthew Lon Weaver, 2006

Practically Hindu: Contemporary Conceptions of Hanuman-Maruti in Maharashtra, Jeffrey Brackett, 2004

The Labyrinth in American Contemporary Religious Rituals that Engage a Sacred Cosmos, Barbara Lilan Laishley, 2004

Fertility and Pleasure: Ritual and Sexual Values in Tokugawa Japan, William R. Lindsey, 2003

The Religious Acculturation of the Ethiopian Jew in Modern Israel: Case Study of a Spiritual Conflict, Brenda Toliver, 2003

The Religious Lives and Ritual Practices of Arab Muslim Women in the US: A Comparative Study, Marilyn Giorgio-Poole, 2002

Ritual Healing in Reformed Protestantism: Self-in-the-Process of Belonging, Sara Penn-Strah, 2002

Religious Realism and Inequality (Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., B. R. Ambedkar, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Rammohun Roy), James L. Rowell, 2002

The Relativization of Tradition: An Examination of the "Evangelical Post-Modernist Controversy" in Contemporary American Evangelical Protestantism, George Van Campbell, 1999

Of Professed Women Religious and Professional Religious Women: An Experiment in Feminist Theology and Thought, Bebb Wheeler Stone, 1999

The Dual Role of Knowledge in Christianity: The Privileged Position of the Specialist, Daniel Borsay, 1997

The Composition of the Holiness Code (Lev. 17-26), Jerome Ross, 1997

"The things accomplished among us": Prophetic Tradition in the Structural Pattern of Luke-Acts, Rebecca Denova, 1994

Exegesis as Polemical Discourse: Ibn Hazm on Jewish and Christian Scriptures (volumes I and II), Theodore Pulcini, 1994

Gregory of Nyssa's Ethic of Slavery and Emancipation, David Stains, 1994

The Practice and Theory of Liberation Theology in Peru, Arthur McDonald, 1993

An Inquiry into the Origin and Transmission of the Gospel of Thomas, Milan Vukomanovic, 1993

Rechristianizing America: The Reconstruction and Kingdom Now Movements in American Evangelical Christianity, Bruce Barron, 1991

A Hermeneutical Analysis of Oral Call Narratives among Contemporary African-American Preachers, William A. Myers, 1991

Imbalu, the Gisu Initiation Rite: Implications for Understanding African Religion and Christian Acculturation, Joel Nafuna, 1991

A Dream of Peace: Art as Ritual Approach to Death in the Fiction of John Gardner, Ronald Nutter, 1991

From Turmoil to Unity: Martin Buber's Efforts towards a New Type of Jewish Community, 1897-1915, Gerda Schmidt, 1991

English Rational Dissenters: Religious Liberty and American Freedom, 1767-1787, Madeline Duntley, 1990

The Dilemma of Religious Toleration as Exemplified in the Work of John Courtney Murray, S.J., Keith J. Pavlischek, 1990

The Religio-Spiritual Experiences of Manikkavacakar, Baskaran Pillai, 1989

"Are you he of whom I spoke by my servants the prophets?" Ezekiel 38-39 and the Problem of History in the Neobabylonian Context, Margaret Odell, 1988

The Cult of Khir Bhavani: Study, Analysis, and Interpretation of a Kashmiri Goddess, Madhu Wangu, 1988

The Pacifist Option: an Eastern Orthodox moral perspective on war in the nuclear age, Alexander F.C. Webster (1988)

The Transformation of the Idea of the Sacred in the Poetry of Thomas Merton, Alan Altany, 1987

The Author's Call to the Audience in the Acts of the Apostles: A Literary-Critical-Anthropological Reading, Carol LaHurd, 1987


Most of our graduates teach in colleges, universities, or seminaries, but MA and PhD recipients enjoy other employment options as well, including working for religious and educational foundations, nonprofit organizations, archives, museums, journalism, government agencies, and research institutions. The department is committed to helping our students secure challenging and rewarding positions.

The primary source for job announcements in religion is Job Postings (formerly Openings), an online publication of the American Academy of Religion. Students should also join other professional organizations and Internet forums in their subfields, which regularly announce dissertation and teaching fellowships, post-doctoral fellowships, and job openings. Dossiers may be submitted to Pitt’s Career Services, which will send them to prospective employers upon request.

Our recent PhD recipients have been hired at the University of Kansas, University of Southern Mississippi, Dickinson College, Ball State University, University of Tennessee, Wooster College, University of Belgrade, West Virginia University, Olaf College, Marshall University, Flagler College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Towson State University, and elsewhere. Other graduates teach at seminaries or work in academic administration, at the Pew Foundation, and at NGOs. Eighty-seven percent of our graduates are employed in positions that utilize the PhD in religion.