Students, scholars meet for religious conference

Associate Professor Dr. Renate Hood’s voice filled the meeting room in the Dallas Marriot. Her lecture, a discussion on Paul’s use of ‘hope’ in the book of Romans, resembled any lecture she could give in one of her Christian studies classes. But the audience was wildly different – except for a few of her pupils that made the journey with her.

Six students and five faculty members traveled to the Southwest Commission of Religious Studies where they attended seminars from scholars throughout the region on anything to do with religion. And some of the faculty – Christian studies professor Dr. Carol Holcomb, history and political science Professor Dr. David Holcomb and Hood represented UMHB as presenters.

Hood was instrumental in bringing the students to the event.

And while the students learned a great deal, she concedes that the scholars also were able to learn from the undergrads.

“We have a different way of looking at the academy. Students bring a dialogue that you cannot reproduce without them,” she said. “When I see their enthusiasm and what they bring back, it’s worth everything.”

Senior biblical studies and biblical languages double major Heather Witlock was one of the students at the conference.

Photo by Evan Duncan

Photo by Evan Duncan

“It was a good opportunity to hear lectures on things we are interested in,” Witlock said. “Plus we can hang out with professors who we don’t usually get to see outside of the classroom and hear them giving presentations on research they are interested in.”

Senior biblical studies major Becca Freitag was particularly impressed with the variety of topics

“A lot of really interesting things were talked about,” she said. “We went to one lecture on mega churches and how things are turning towards prosperity gospel. Also, a doctor from med school did research on Jeffery Dhamer and how origins moves us more towards evil or good.”

The conference not only allowed students to learn and interact with professors, but they also got to see how the academic world works.

Junior theology/philosophy and history double major Tyler Potts hopes to be a professor one day. Then he, like Associate Professor of Christian studies Dr. Michael Robinson and Christian studies Professor Dr. Stephen Von Wyrick can attend more of these conferences. Perhaps even present his research.

“It’s something that I have an aspiration to potentially do one day,” he said. “Being at this conference excites me about it much more.”

The Christian studies department wanted to showcase the event for students who may be interested in biblical scholarship.

Junior Christian ministry major Hannah Eaton was appreciative of the opportunity – even if she plans to focus her graduate work more on linguistics.

“This kind of stuff will always be important to me personally,” she said, “regardless of what I do professionally.”

Author: Evan Duncan

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