Religion's Golden Year

I was pleased to read about the 50-year history of the Department of Religion from the perspectives of Paula Richman '74 and James Dobbins (Fall 2002). It is especially exciting to learn about the increasing diversity of the courses and faculty during this period and the number of students who currently major in religion. The courses taught by Clyde Holbrook and Edward Long were excellent foundations for my graduate studies at Yale University and Hartford Seminary. There were only two of us majoring in religion in our graduating class, and the choices of courses and faculty were very limited. I valued an undergraduate education in which science and religion could be recognized as independent fields of study that needed to be in dialogue with each other. My lifelong personal and professional commitment to ecumenical and interreligious activities was nurtured by studying with J. Robert Nelson, Walter Marshall Horton, and George Michaelides, all internationally known scholars and leaders in ecumenical relations. I agree with the concluding statements of both authors about the study of religion at Oberlin. Paula Richman wrote, "Only by continually expanding and rethinking approaches can a discipline remain alive." James Dobbins concluded: "As a field, religious studies is still a work in progress."

Rev. Robert Loesch '63
Springfield, Massachusetts


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