Interreligious Scholarship & Leadership

Scripture, Interpretation and Practice (SIP) Program in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia

UVA’s Graduate Program in Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice (SIP) prepares students for advanced research and teaching about the phenomena of scriptural study, textual interpretation, and religious practice in all three of the Abrahamic traditions, as well as in Asian and other scripturally centered traditions. The first goal of the Program is to examine the Bible, the Qur’an, and other scriptures as literatures that generate communities of religious practice: practices of study, of interpretation and reflection, of ritual, and of social life. The Ph.D. in SIP is designed to prepare students for teaching positions in departments of Religious Studies, where they will be able to offer advanced courses in their primary tradition of study (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Asian and other traditions) and more general courses in Abrahamic and other traditions.

For more information about the SIP Program at U.Va., please click here.


Chair and Head Conference Coordinator, 2nd Annual Graduate Student Conference in SIP

The 2nd Annual Graduate Student Conference in SIP, entitled “Weaponizing Scripture?,” explored cases, both historical and contemporary, in which scripture serves as a resource for/against the communities that are formed by it, as well as how it is instrumentalized for formational, popular, political, and/or polemical agendas. The purpose was to uncover ways that scripture transforms the character of the debates and purposes for which it is deployed.

As Chair, I directed a conference planning team of three other students in the conceptualizing, planning, fundraising, and execution of this inter-Abrahamic conference that was held at the University of Virginia on March 22-23, 2015. The keynote speaker is Dr. Aref Nayed Libyan Ambassador to the U.A.E. who gave a lecture entitled “Scriptures as Operational Artifacts.”

There were 14 conference participants who came from 10 different institutions, including Yale, University of Chicago, Howard, NYU, and the American University at Cairo, just to name a few.

For a list of graduate conference presenters, please click here.

For a list of Conference paper titles, panels, and faculty respondents, please click here.

To watch the keynote address: “Scriptures as Operational Artifacts” Plenary Address by Ambassador Aref Nayed – March 22, 2015, please click here.


Student Director of the SIP Administrative Board

May 2013-May 2014: Student Director of the SIP Administrative Board
Aug 2011-May 2015: Student Member of SIP Board

The Scripture, Interpretation and Practice (SIP) Board is the organization in charge of administrating and advancing the SIP Graduate Program within the University of Virginia’s Religious Studies department. For four years I was one of three student members of the board, tasked with the various duties involved in administering the SIP program and carrying out various graduate student events .

As Director, I was responsible for the facilitation of the evolving institutionalization and implementation of the program in coordination with the Faculty Director of the SIP Program, and with the assistance of two student board members. This included but was not limited to: archiving the program’s history; developing guidelines for current students with regard to both methodology and basic requirements (class recommendations, language requirements, comprehensive exams, etc.); and creating informational materials regarding its values and methodologies to disseminate to other universities interested in creating analogous programs in their institutions. Additionally, I oversaw the organization of SIP events (Student orientation, Scriptural Reasoning Sessions, social events, speaker, paper presentations, etc.) and advocated on behalf of the needs of current SIP graduate students to the combined student-faculty SIP Board.