Why Study Religion? with Interim Director Dr. Hannibal Hamlin

Why Study Religion? is a video series in which the CSR asks its faculty, students, and staff what is important to them about the academic study of religion and why more folks should consider pursuing it. Find out more about the Center and its initiatives HERE. To learn more about OSU’s Religious Studies Major, visit our website at THIS LINK.

Why does Dr. Hannibal Hamlin, Interim Director of the Center and Professor of English, think it’s important to study religion? Watch the video below to find out!

Transcript: “I’m Hannibal Hamlin. I’m the Director for the Center for the Study of Religion and a Professor in the English Department specializing in literature of the English Renaissance–Shakespeare’s time. And I’m particularly interested in literature and religion and in the influence of the English Bible on English literature.

“Why study religion? Well, in my particular period, in the English Renaissance, everybody was required to attend church by law. And there was only one Church–the Church of England. After the Reformation, there was a minority Catholic population, but religious belief and practice was virtually universal. And religion gets at the heart of what people think and believe, what they hold to be most important. It’s not just a sort-of ‘weekend thing;’ it touches every aspect of life in the period I study. And you’d be hard-pressed to find any work of literature that doesn’t, in some way or another, connect with religious questions, religious ideas. Salvation, sin, and death. More broadly speaking, religion is still a central part of so many aspects of people’s lives across the world. The majority of Americans are believers, are practitioners in one religion or another, and that percentage increases as you go across the world. And centers like Pew [Research Center], or people who keep that sort of data, tell us that over the next decades, that percentage is even going to increase. Religion simply gets at the heart of what is most important to people. Life; death; life after death, if you hold that sort of belief; sin; salvation; love; grief; forgiveness: all of these things connect to religion, and so, why not study religion?”