Dr. Richard Bowman
Dr. Richard Bowman has a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. In addition to the freshman introductory course in religion, he teaches courses in the Hebrew prophets and Hebrew wisdom literature, seminars on Hebrew narrative literature and hermeneutical methodological traditions. His interest in theology and popular culture has produced courses on the detective story and the history of baseball. Bowman’s current research projects involve a literary analysis of direction language in I & II Samuel and the interpretive method of Martin Luther in his exposition of the book of Jonah.
Murray Haar is the chairperson of the Religion, Philosophy, and Classics Department. Dr. Haar is a professor of religion and Jewish studies. He teaches courses dealing with the Holocaust, Judaism and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, religion, violence, courage, and evil. He also teaches Hebrew and Jewish philosophy. Haar has taken students to Israel and India. He has published a number of articles and given a variety of papers dealing with Israel and the Holocaust. He holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Haar enjoys all kinds of music, old movies, watching television and playing scrabble with his wife, and baseball (Yankees and Twins).
The religion department welcomes Beth McDuffie to the faculty!
Professor, Department Chair
Ann Milliken Pederson teaches Christian theology, with particular emphases in religion and medical sciences, feminist theologies, and Lutheran constructive theology. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the section for ethics and humanities at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota. Pederson has written three books, entries in the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, and numerous articles in Zygon, Word and World, and other periodicals. She received her doctorate in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Jill Storm is an adjunct professor and has been teaching for Augustana College since 2008. She teaches Exploring the Christian Faith, Judaism and the Jewish people, Beginning Hebrew, and Hebrew Readings. Storm has also taught courses in the Sioux Falls community dealing with Judaism and the Book of Genesis. Professor Storm also teaches courses for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). She holds an M.A. in Selected Studies in Religion from Augustana.
Dr. Richard Swanson teaches course that explore biblical interpretation, interpretive theory, and the ways people live and hope. He also teaches Biblical Greek on occasion, and co-teaches (with Dr. Michael Mullin, history) “Peopling Paradise: Migrants, Missionaries, and Money,” a course that travels to Hawaii to study the effects of colonization on traditional cultures. His research focuses on the interaction between religion and culture and on the interpretive implications of ancient and modern performances of biblical narratives. He has written four books and numerous articles, and is currently finishing work on a performance-critical commentary, Provoking the Gospel of John: A Storyteller’s Commentary. Swanson serves a co-chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section for the Society of Biblical Literature, and is a member of the executive board for the Network of Biblical Storytellers. He is the director of the Provoking the Gospel Storytelling Project, a troupe of actors drawn from among Augustana students and alums. He received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Luther Seminary. Before beginning his doctoral studies, he was a parish pastor for six years.
Dr. Joshua Heter
Dr. Joshua Heter, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, earned his bachelor’s degree with a major in philosophy from Biola University, his M.A. from Western Michigan University and his Ph.D. from Saint Louis University specializing in epistemology and the philosophy of language. Previous to Augustana, Heter was employed at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Missouri, where he taught a range of classes including critical thinking, philosophy of religion and ethics.
Dr. Minister teaches courses in ethics, continental philosophy, modern philosophy, and philosophy of religion, as well as study-abroad courses on global poverty and the ethics of development. His research engages the continental tradition, especially the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, and focuses on conceptions of the human person, the relationship between responsibility and reason and practical issues related to global poverty, human rights, and economic justice. He is the author of De-Facing the Other: Reason, Ethics, and Politics after Difference (Marquette UP, 2012). He is also the co-editor of Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion (Duquesne UP, 2012) and author of a variety of journal articles and book chapters. He received bachelors degrees in philosophy and mathematics at Seattle Pacific University and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Fordham University. He is also the advisor for the Augustana chapter of the philosophy honor society Phi Sigma Tau.
Associate Professor, Philosophy and Classics
Philosophy Program Director
Dr. O’Hara teaches a variety of courses, including ancient philosophy, American philosophy, environmental ethics, Asian philosophy, and philosophy of religion. He regularly teaches a course on classics in Greece, and a course on tropical rainforest and reef ecology in Belize and Guatemala. His most recent book is Downstream, (Cascade Press, 2014) about brook trout and the ecology of the Appalachians. He is also the author of Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis (U. P. Kentucky, 2008). He is currently preparing an edited volume of the Religious Writings of American philosopher Charles S. Peirce. Dr. O'Hara is a graduate of Middlebury College (B.A., Spanish), St John's College (M.A., Liberal Arts), and The Pennsylvania State University (M.A., Ph.D., Philosophy).
Dr. Vicens joined the Augustana faculty in the fall of 2012. She teaches courses on critical thinking, philosophy of religion, contemporary moral issues, and free will and moral responsibility. Her research focuses on metaphysical questions in the philosophy of religion, mind, and action, and she has published articles on the relationship between divine causation, human freedom, and the laws of nature in Religious Studies and The International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. Vicens earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her B.A. in philosophy from Dartmouth College. She also has an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary and is an ordained Episcopal priest.
Dr. Rocki Wentzel joined Augustana in 2008. She teaches courses in Latin and Greek, as well as Greek and Roman mythology, literature in translation, and seminars on applications of gift theory. Her research falls under the heading of classical reception and she has published articles on reception in the fiction of Edith Wharton with a particular focus on writing, creativity, and gender. She earned her Ph.D. in Greek and Latin (Classics) at The Ohio State University, where she wrote her dissertation on the reception of Virgil’s Aeneid in Augustine’s Confessions.