Religion in

Religion in Culture
Lunchtime Discussion

The second Religion in Culture lunch discussion of the 2007-8 academic year, held on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007, was once again hosted by the Religious Studies Student Association (RSSA). In keeping with the Murphy-theme of the lunches so far this semester, it featured the work of REL's own Prof. Tim Murphy.

In preparation for the discussion, students read Murphy's article, "Elements of a Semiotic Theory of Religion," published in the journal, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion.

Dr. Murphy, whose first book was on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, and who has a collection of his own essays due out soon, has also been working for the past few years on developing a semiotic approach to the study of religion. (Interested in a crash course on semiotics--or the study of how sign systems work--? If so, then try here.) The paper students read for the lunch discussion--which marks the second paper Dr. Murphy presented on our campus this semester--is part of a larger book on which he continues to work.

Dapper REL majors Joe Kimbrough (left) and Dan Mullins (right) did some carb loading at the event; Dan, who is currently the President of the student association, introduced Prof. Murphy. As for Joe? He's President of our local chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society in our field.

Prof. Murphy opened the discussion with his own crash course on semiotic theory--specifically as applied to the common assumption that a pure and pristine origin lies behind the transmission of meaning over time and place. (As the rollover will reveal, the diagram got a little more complicated.)

When has Dr. McCutcheon not taken full advantage of a free lunch? Sean Beadore, at far right, is in Prof. Murphy's "Nietzsche and Religion" class. In the Spring 2008 semester, Dan will be appointed a Silverstein Fellow, to assist Prof. Trost with his section of REL 100.

Left to right: Jerome Warren, Jaci Gresham (a Silverstein Fellow this semester and next), Brian Oldfield, and Meredith Baku (who attends Prof. Murphy's large enrollment REL 100). By the way, why isn't Jaci smiling? She's usually smiling.... Would scrolling over the picture help get a smirk out of her, maybe while chewing?

Thanks again to the RSSA for hosting this event and for Chris "Juke Box Hero" Hurt for documenting the event for posterity.