Biblical Studies & Early Christianity

Christy Cobb

Cobb, Christy

Christy Cobb is a doctoral candidate in New Testament/Early Christianity with a concentration in Women’s & Gender Studies. She earned a B.A. in Religion from Carson-Newman College (Jefferson City, TN), a M.Div. from Campbell University (Buies Creek, NC), and a M.A. in Religious Studies from Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC). Christy’s research interests include slavery in the Greco-Roman world, feminist hermeneutics, Bakhtinian theory, ancient novelistic literature, and gender and sexuality in antiquity – interests which are explored in her dissertation, “Girls” Speaking Truth: Female Slaves in Luke-Acts and Other Ancient Novels. Christy served as the co-chairperson of the GDR Student Association from 2011-2013 and is currently the Submissions Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

K. Jason Coker

Jason Coker, a candidate for the Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity, received the B.A. from William Carey University (Hattiesburg, Miss.), the M.A.R. from Yale University Divinity School, and the M.Phil. from Drew University. His scholarly interests center on postcolonial theory, race theory and the letter of James. Coker is an Adjunct Lecturer at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT, and the Pastor of Wilton Baptist Church in Wilton, CT.

Kathleen Gallagher Elkins

Kathleen Gallagher Elkins earned her Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Greensboro College (Greensboro NC) and Master of Arts in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary (Richmond VA). She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in New Testament & Early Christianity, with a concentration in Women’s & Gender Studies. Her research interests include feminist hermeneutics, childhood studies, and post-Shoah interpretations of the Bible. Her dissertation, “Mother, Martyr: Reading Self-Sacrifice and Family in Early Christianity,” examines the texts and interpretations of several ancient representations of mothers and children in contexts of social-political violence. Kathleen has served as a teaching assistant for Introduction to Biblical Literature I (Hebrew Bible) and II (Christian Testament), in addition to teaching Exegetical Skills II.She is currently the Submissions Editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and served as the GDRSA co-chairperson in 2010-2011.

Sarah Emanuel

sarah emanuelSarah Emanuel is a Ph.D. student in the area of New Testament and Early Christianity.  Her academic interests include Jewish-Christian relations in antiquity, Second Temple Judaism, as well as gender, sexuality, and the body in early Christianity.  Sarah received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware (Newark, DE), where she double majored in English Literature and Liberal Studies (with a focus in World Religions).  She also minored in Italian.  Sarah earned her M.A. from Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC), where she wrote her master’s thesis titled, “Vibia Perpetua’s Gendered Hybridity: A Critical Examination of Perpetua’s Androgynous Identity in the Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas,” as well as served as teaching assistant for biblical Hebrew (2010-2011).  Sarah currently serves as the Administrative Officer for the Graduate Division of Religion Student Association (2012-2013) and the Communications Point-Person for the GDR (2011-2013).  She has served as co-TA for Introduction to Hebrew Bible (Fall 2012) and is currently serving as TA for Introduction to New Testament (Spring 2013).  Sarah also teaches regularly at a local Reconstructionist synagogue (Bnai Keshet, Montclair, NJ) and is a youth leader for young Jewish teens.

Grant Gieske

Grant Gieseke received a B.A. from Southeastern College (Lakeland, FL) and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Iliff School of Theology (Denver, CO) where his master’s thesis was entitled, “The Climax of Acts: Paul Puts the Roman Empire on Trial (Acts 24-26)”. He is a Ph.D. student at Drew University in the field of New Testament studies. His interests include postcolonialism and cultural studies. He served as a student convener for the Biblical Studies Area in 2007-2008.

James N. Hoke

A Ph.D. student in New Testament and Early Christianity, James N. Hoke received his M.Div from the University of Chicago and his B.A. in Religion and Women’s/Gender Studies from Furman University. His research focuses on queer and feminist theories in and around the Pauline epistles, and his teaching interests are primarily in biblical literature and languages (both New Testament and Hebrew Bible) and gender studies. He will be teaching Beginning Greek during the 2013-2014 school year in the Theological School, and he has served as a Teaching Assistant for “Biblical Literature 2: Gospels, Epistles, Apocalypse” with Dr. Stephen Moore and for “Church @ Worship: Preaching” with Dr. Gary Simpson and with Nam Joong Kim. He is also currently serving as the co-chairperson for the Graduate Division of Religion Student Association (2013-2015), and he has previously served as the student co-convener for the Biblical Studies area (2012-2013). Outside of the classroom, James works as the Director of Christian Education at a local PC(USA) congregation, where he also occasionally preaches.

Christina C. Riley

Christina received her Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) from Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham, WA in 2005 receiving an award as the Outstanding Graduate for the Liberal Studies Department. She went on to receive her Masters of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School in 2008. At Yale she received the Abraham J. Malherbe Award for Further Study in New Testament and Early Church History. Christina began at Drew in 2008, where she is currently pursuing her doctorate in Biblical Studies with concentrates in New Testament/Early Christianity and Women’s Studies. Her primary research interests include gender and sexuality, literary criticism, and ecological hermeneutics of the New Testament, most specifically, applying these areas of critical scholarship to the book of Revelation. She has served in several capacities for Drew University including as the Biblical Studies Area Co-Convener in 2009-2010 and the Graduate Division of Religion Student Association Administrative Officer in 2009-2010. She has very much enjoyed working with Dr. Stephen D. Moore as his Teaching Assistant for Biblical Literature II (Introduction to the New Testament) in the springs of 2010 and 2011, respectively, as well as working as an adjunct instructor for a class entitled, “Exegetical Skills,” in the springs of 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Historical Studies

Jennifer Barry

Jennifer earned the B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado Christian University, the M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School, and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from the Graduate School at Duke University. Her research interests include feminist historiography; constructions of power relations in late antiquity; and the rhetorical function of exile in late ancient Christian identities. Jennifer was the student co-convener for the Historical Studies Area and served as a teaching assistant for both sections of Church History. Jennifer has also served as co-chairperson of the GDR Student Association, for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Peter Anthony Mena

Peter Mena earned the B.A. at the University of Texas at Austin (history), the M.A. from St. Edwards University (Austin, Tex.; liberal studies), and the M.A. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (church history). Peter’s research interests center on the history of Christianity in late antiquity; gender, sexuality, and the body in late antiquity; and constructions of orthodoxy and heresy. He has served as Adjunct Instructor of Religious Studies at Marymount Manhattan College (New York) and Manhattan College (New York).

Geoffrey N. Pollick

Geoff received the B.A. from the Department of Religion of the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, Wash.), the M.A.R. from the Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, Calif.), and is a candidate (A.B.D.) for the Ph.D. in U.S./American Religion at Drew University. His research interests include the history of religion in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States; critical theories of religion; religion and modern/modernist culture; and the historiography of religion in America. Geoff served as student convener for the Historical Studies Area, and as co-chairperson of the GDR Student Association, for the 2007-2008 academic year. He served as Adjunct Instructor of Religious Studies at New York University in 2009.

L. Benjamin Rolsky

Benji earned the B.A. in History and Religious Studies from the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, the M.A. from the Claremont School of Theology, and the M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School.  His academic training has taken place between the disciplines of history and religious studies in a public university and schools of divinity from California to Connecticut. Despite the challenges that accompany this particular disciplinary position, it in fact has offered him a unique vantage point from which to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both disciplines as they become increasingly conversant with one another within the academy. In short, his research and teaching interests explore the history of 20th century America with a particular focus on post-1945 American (religious) history. His work at Drew has examined the theoretical contributions of historian of religions Charles Long, the Latin@ Church and the Christian Right, 1960s spiritual awakenings, and the Cold War context of hotel entrepreneur Conrad Hilton. His future work will explore the ways in which television shaped American religion and culture in post-war America. Since arriving at Drew, Benji has worked in the English Speakers of Other Languages office as a writing assistant and he is currently serving as the Historical Studies area student convener (2011-2012). Benji has published pieces in both the “Bulletin for the Study of Religion” and the “Journal of the American Academy of Religion.”


Liturgical Studies

Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne

Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne is a Ph.D. candidate in Liturgical Studies and an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. Her work through Wesley Theological Seminary’s National Capital Semester Seminar in Washington, D.C and experiences during her years as an appointed pastor have led her to study the relationship between homiletics and sacrament, particularly as regards preaching for social transformation. Areas of interest informing her research are the historical and rhetorical study of preaching, sacramental theology, Methodist studies, ethics and women’s studies. Suzanne served as Co-chairperson of the GDR Student Association in 2009–2010 and the Evening Student Coordinator of Drew Theological School from 2008 to 2011. She is presently a student co-convener of the Liturgical Studies area. She has taught classes and workshops in preaching and worship at Moravian Seminary and for the Eastern PA conference of the United Methodist church. She is also presently a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference’s initiative Healing the Wounds of Racism offering workshop leadership and curriculum consulting. She has served as a teaching assistant for Methodist Studies at Palmer Theological, and both the Church at Worship: Worship and Preaching classes as well as the General Conference class for Spring 2012. She has a M.Div. degree from Palmer Theological Seminary (Wynnewood, P.A.) and a B.S. in Life Science from Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.).

Nam Joong Kim

Nam Joong Kim graduated from Hanshin University in South Korea with the Th.B. degree and the Th.M. degree in the area of Hebrew Bible. He was ordained a pastor by The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea in 2003. He received the S.T.M. degree in the area of Liturgical Studies from Drew Theological School, where he composed the thesis, “A Postmodern Ritual of Honoring Pre-birth Loss of Life.” In 2008, he began the first year of doctoral study in the Graduate Division of Religion at the Theological School of Drew University. He is researching the role of social justice and preaching in dealing with anti-racism and social transformation in Korean churches as it related to immigration, globalization, human rights, and racial issue for his dissertation. He served as a student representative of the Korean Student Caucus of Drew Theological School in 2008-2009 and won a place as a Luce Fellow in the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts in 2009-2010. He involved in the Drew Korean Men’s Choir as a director in 2010-2011. He served as one of student conveners for the area of Liturgical Studies in 2011-2013. He is serving as a teaching assistant for the “Church at Worship: Worship and Preaching” classes from 2009. He has taught one of required courses in preaching to M.Div. students as an adjunct lecturer in 2012-2013. He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) and Academy of Homiletics (AH).


Religion and Society

Kristeen L. Black

Kris earned a B.A. from the University of Montana, with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Women’s Studies, and an M.A. from Drew Theological School, in Religion and Society.  Her M.A. thesis examined charismatic leaders and congregational identity. She is currently in the Ph.D. program here at Drew, continuing with Religion and Society.  Her focus is Mormon sociology and LDS congregational identity.  She has been involved in student government serving as a GDRSA financial officer and won a place as a Luce Fellow in the Center for Christianities in Global Contexts for the 2009 academic year.

Christopher A. Haynes

Chris received the B.A. (mathematics and computer science) and the M.Div. from Vanderbilt University. He studies trends in demographic shifts among clergy and the role of religion in public education. Rev. Haynes is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, and serves as the GDRSA Administrative Officer (2008-2009).

Tim Helton

Tim Helton is a Ph.D. student at Drew University where he is studying the Anthropology of Religion. He holds a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Claremont School of Theology. Tim’s academic interests include comparative theology, Jainism, and Hinduism. He is a founding member of the Ventura County Interfaith Community, a board member of the Ventura County based Campus Interfaith, and he regularly participates in Episcopal – Hindu dialog under the auspices of the Diocese of Los Angeles. He has done fieldwork amongst Jains in the United States as well as in India in conjunction with the 2005 and 2009 International Summer School of Jain Studies. He currently teaches World Religions at Loyola Marymount University in Southern California.

Charon Hribar

Charon Hribar received her M.Div from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York and her B.A in English from Mercyhurst College (Erie, PA) with minors in Religious Studies, Dance, and Marketing. Charon has particular interest in the use of Poverty Truth Commissions to confront the structural violence that creates poverty in the United States and around the world. Other research interests include social movement studies; examining the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality in relation to liberation movements; and transformative pedagogy. Charon is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Religion and Society with a concentration in Christian Social Ethics and currently works as the Curriculum Development and Replication Coordinator for the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary.

Jung Eun Jang

Jung Eun Jang is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. in the Psychology and Religion concentration at Drew University. Jung Eun’s principal research interest is Heinz Kohut’s psychoanalytic self psychological concepts of selfobject and selfobject experiences and their contribution to understanding religious experiences. His dissertation topic is a self psychological approach to the 1907 Revival Movement in Korea. He is also being trained as a child therapist at Harlem Family Institute in New York. He earned the B.A. in Religious Studies from Seoul National University, graduating magna cum laude. He subsequently received the M.Div. and Th.M. from Korean Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in Korea.

Matthew Riley

Matt earned his B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Indiana (Bloomington). He then became a 2003 Teach for America Corps member where he taught middle school biology in the South Bronx while earning a M.S. in Secondary Education with a focus in Science Education. After graduating with a M.A.R. in Ethics from Yale Divinity School, where he took courses at both the Divinity School and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Matt and his wife Christy (Riley) enrolled in Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University. Matt’s research interests include religion and ecology, religion and science, animals and religion, Thomas Berry’s New Cosmology, and nature religions. While at Drew Drew University, Matt has served as the Religion and Ecology Coordinator, as a writing tutor for the ESOL office, as the Religion and Society Student Convener, as the Meeting Coordinator for TERRA, and as a member of the Drew University Sustainability Committee. He has also TA-ed for Environmental History as well as Religion and the Social Process. In the Spring of 2010, the GDR awarded Matt the Bishop Edmund S. Janes Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement. Currently, Matt serves as a Steering Committee Member for the Religion and Ecology Group at the American Academy of Religion (AAR), he volunteers for the Green Seminary Initiative, he is designing the curriculum for Mary Evelyn Tucker and Brian Thomas Swimme’s Journey of the Universe book and film series, and he is employed by the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. Matt is also researching and writing his dissertation.

Matt Westbrook

Matt received the B.S. in Business Administration from Humboldt State University in Northern California in 1997. He received an M.A.T. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California in 2002 and the M.Phil from Drew’s GDR in May, 2011. He is the recipient of the GDR’s Edwards-Mercer Prize for dissertation research and is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Religion, specializing in sociology of religion. He recently completed his primary dissertation research in Israel and is currently deeply engaged in dissertation writing.  In 2007 he served as the Drew GDR student representative on a national study of congregations and social justice leadership, funded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.  His research interests include religion, globalization and collective memory, and American Christian Zionism.  His teaching interests include making sociology of religion accessible to theological students.  Matt is a recent “convert” to the Mennonite tradition.

Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams received the B.A. from Berry College (Rome, Ga.) and the M.T.S. from Vanderbilt Divinity School (Tenn.). She is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Religion and Society at Drew University, concentrating in Christian Social Ethics. Natalie’s research interests center on Christian responses to sexual violence, marriage reform movements, feminist ecology and sustainable development. At Drew, she is involved with TERRA, the Theological School’s environmental action group.


Theological and Philosophical Studies

Jacob J. Erickson

Jake received his BA in Religion, English, and a “Historical Perspectives Concentration in Religion and Violence” from St. Olaf College and his M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. His work in constructive theology attempts to evoke the theopoetic entanglements of political ecology, queer theory, contemporary continental philosophy, and divine immanence.  His writing is, furthermore, interested in the remarkable multiplicity of apophatic and global Lutheran theological traditions.  Jake served as Co-Chair for the GDR Student Association in 2010-11 and is also a candidate for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Holly Hillgardner

Holly Hillgardner is a Ph.D. candidate in Theological and Philosophical Studies. Her dissertation explores theologies of yearning through a study of passionate non-attachment in the medieval writings of Hadewijch and Mirabai.  More generally, her research and teaching interests include comparative Hindu-Christian studies, mysticism, gender studies, and transformative pedagogy.  Holly received her B.A. from the University of Texas in Arlington and her M.T.S. from Brite Divinity School.  She is the 2012-13 Renner Visiting Scholar at Bethany College.

Michael Oliver

Mike OliverMichael Oliver received his B.S. in Administration of Justice from Rutgers University and M.Div. from Drew Theological School.  His areas of interest include theological method, contemporary issues of social justice, and poststructuralist philosophy.  Michael’s work explores the interrelations of and entanglements within these areas, including theology’s engagement with liberation discourses, postmodern complications of this engagement—particularly in feminist, gender, and race studies—and the complex issues of universality and particularity that arise as a result.  He has served as teaching assistant for Systematic Theology, Philosophical Resources for Theology, and The Church at Worship: Preaching.  Michael also served as the Financial Officer in the Graduate Division of Religion’s Student Association in 2011-2012.  He currently serves as Adjunct Instructor at Seton Hall University and is the Webmaster for the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion where he designs web pages and maintains its content.

Wang-eun Serl

Wang-eun is from Seoul, South Korea. Wang-eun earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Applied Science from Seoul National University. Also, he received an M.Div. from Methodist Theological University (Seoul) and a Th.M. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Wang-eun is a first-year Ph.D. student in Theology and Philosophy at Drew University. His academic interests are in process theology, the doctrine of creation, and religion-and-science dialogue. Additionally, Wang-eun’s research aims at exploring how the theological studies can contribute to communities, which comprise lots of different people.

Nicholas J. Wernicki

Nicholas Wernicki received the B.S. from DeSales University (Center Valley, Penn.) and the M.A. in liberal studies from Villanova University (Penn.). A Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophical Studies, his research interests include: existentialism and phenomenology, particularly the work of Karl Jaspers; and American pragmatism as it relates to Robert S. Corrington’s work in ecstatic naturalism. Wernicki serves on the faculty at Peirce College in Philadelphia