Scripture, Interpretation and Practice (SIP) Overview

Scripture, Interpretation and Practice (SIP) is one of the four graduate areas administered by the Department of Religious Studies. We encourage potential applicants to learn more about our area and its units of study by reading our website, communicating directly with faculty, or coming to Charlottesville to visit. All inquiries about application to graduate programs within this area can be addressed to the graduate administrator or to individual faculty members.

Area Overview

The SIP Area administers three distinct units offering the MA/PhD: Study of Judaism, Islamic Studies, and Comparative SIP. The area as a whole is animated by a spirit of cooperative inquiry across the disciplinary boundaries and includes (but is not limited to) the study of scripture, history, ethnography, theology, religious thought, literature, philosophy, and politics.

All SIP students in coursework participate in the one-credit SIP area proseminar each semester and share, along with the faculty and student leadership, in the formation of a cohesive intellectual and social community of scholars.  

SIP Core Faculty Area Committee

Brief Overview of the Three SIP Units (Please click on headings for detailed information)

The Study of Judaism M.A. /Ph.D

The Study of Judaism is approached through three overarching rubrics: Textuality focuses on the study of foundational texts in both in their historical context and as they have been received and interpreted; Practice entails the study of the rituals, observances, and social lives of Jews; and Modern Thought examines the encounter between Judaism, Western, and non-Western, philosophical sources. In addition to taking courses in the Department of Religious Studies, students are encouraged to study with the many UVA faculty across the University who are affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Program in Jewish Studies. Students are also encouraged to apply to become members of the Rachel Winer Manin Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows of Jewish Studies and attend its monthly colloquia.

Islamic Studies

Information coming soon.

Comparative Scripture, Interpretation and Practice M.A/Ph.D

Comparative SIP draws its methods from the comparative study of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim practices of scriptural study and interpretation. It fosters interdisciplinary studies of religious practice, textual study, philosophy, ethnography, history, theology, literature, and interpretation among students of the Abrahamic scriptural religions. Students examine scriptures as literatures that generate communities of religious practice; these include study, interpretation, reflection, ritual, and social life.  In addition to courses in the Department of Religious Studies, students are encouraged to study with the interdisciplinary scholars affiliated with the unit.

Two new terminal MA programs are administered under COMP Comparative SIP:

Religion, Politics, and Global Society

World Religions, World Literatures (coming Fall 2017)