The William Penn Honors Program committee and teaching faculty represent a diverse range of subject expertise and research...
Dr. Joseph Clair
Director of the Honors Program; Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
PhD, Princeton; MPhil, Cambridge; MA, Fordham University; MTS, Duke; BA, Wheaton
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Winner of the Princeton University Graduate Prize Fellowship from Princeton’s Center for Human Values (2012–2013) and also winner of the Department of Religion Teaching award from Princeton, Dr. Clair serves as director of the William Penn Honors Program. He holds a dual appointment as Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department. Before joining the George Fox University faculty in 2013, Dr. Clair spent four years at Princeton University completing his PhD in religion, ethics, and politics, while also working as an assistant in instruction in the school’s religion department. Dr. Clair was the recipient of the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship in 2008–2009, and his publications include a co-edited volume, Maritain and American (Catholic University Press of America, 2009) and essays in the Journal of Religious Ethics, Rethinking Secularization: Philosophy and the Prophecy of a Secular Age (Cambridge Scholars, 2009), and Science and Stewardship to Protect and Sustain Wilderness Values (USDA, 2007). His ongoing teaching and research interests include Christian thought, Christian ethics, religious and philosophical ethics, political theory, environmental ethics, ancient moral and political philosophy, and the role of religion in public life.
Dr. Corwynn Beals
Honors Faculty Fellow; Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion
PhD, Fordham University; MAR, Yale Divinity School; BA, George Fox University
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Dr. Beals’ teaching and research interests are centered on relational metaphysics and epistemology embedded in the history of philosophy. His book, Levinas and the Wisdom of Love: The Question of Invisibility (Baylor University Press, 2007), analyzes the relationship between western philosophy and ethical invisibility, and two current projects, Philosophy of Creation Care (forthcoming, Baylor University Press) and Tasting Truth, explore various ways of accessing truth in an embodied manner. In 2009, he was invited to Stanford University to lecture on “Relational Metaphysics and the Pursuit of Invisibility,” and plans for further projects on this topic. Dr. Beals has taught philosophy seminars on Levinas, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Wendell Berry, and Agrarian Phenomenology. He seeks to teach wisdom holistically, a trajectory that began with his article “Finding Phronimos: Making a Place for Practical Wisdom in the Classroom” (Teaching Philosophy, 2004). Dr. Beals has used his innovative and experiential teaching approach as part of the Creation Care Studies Program across the world, in locations such as New Zealand and Belize; he initiated the George Fox University community garden and chairs the university’s Creation Care Committee.
A George Fox University Teacher of the Year (2002), Dr. Corning’s research explores Medieval church history, and particularly the relationship between the Roman and Celtic traditions in the sixth–eighth centuries AD. She also specializes in late-Roman history and controversies surrounding the construction of the ecclesiastical calendar, both ancient and modern. Her book, The Celtic and Roman Traditions: Conflict and Consensus in the Early Medieval Church (Palgrave-Macmillian, 2006), explores the reality of the Celtic traditions and the controversy over the correct date of Easter in this period. She has an article that will be published in Studia Traditionis Theologiae (Brepols) on the attempts since the 1960s to unite all Christians behind a single Easter date and a chapter for The Irish in Europe in the Early Middle Ages (Palgrave-Macmillian, forthcoming) on the social, cultural and political contexts of the Easter controversy on the Continent. Dr. Corning is an Associate Editor for Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe. She teaches courses on Church history and theology, western civilization, classical and medieval history, modern Russia, modern Middle East, and public history.
Dr. Brian R. Doak
Honors Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
PhD, Harvard University; MA, Missouri State University; BA, Evangel University
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An award-winning scholar and teacher (Aviram Prize in Archaeology, 2012; Derek Bok Center Certificate of Distinction, Harvard University, 2010) and recent recipient of the George Fox University Undergraduate Faculty Researcher of the Year award (2013–2014), Dr. Doak’s teaching and research interests include the history, languages, and religions of the ancient Near Eastern world, the Old Testament, the Bible’s wisdom literature, and the role of monsters in ancient religious thought. His most recent book, Consider Leviathan: Narratives of Nature and Self in Job (Fortress, 2014) analyzes the book of Job as a site of theological self-making in the face of the natural world, and his first book, The Last of the Rephaim: Conquest and Cataclysm in the Heroic Ages of Ancient Israel (Ilex Foundation; via Harvard University Press, 2012) explores the intersection of motifs of heroism and gigantism in the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Doak has conducted archaeological field research with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, Israel, and has recently published articles on Philistine funerary iconography in the Israel Exploration Journal, the Saul and David narrative in the Harvard Theological Review, the book of Judges in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, and the book of Ezekiel in the Journal of Biblical Literature.
Dr. Hall’s primary interest lies at the intersection between Christianity, politics, and law in America. He has written, edited, or co-edited The Political and Legal Philosophy of James Wilson, 1742-1798 (1997), The Founders on God and Government (2004); Collected Works of James Wilson (2007), The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life (2009), The Sacred Rights of Conscience: Selected Readings on Religious Liberty and Church-State Relations in the American Founding (2009), America’s Forgotten Founders (2012), Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic (2013), Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (2014), Collected Works of Roger Sherman (forthcoming), and more than fifty journal articles, book chapters, reviews, and sundry pieces. He is also a Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, an Affiliated Scholar at the John Jay Institute, and President of Christians in Political Science.
Dr. Abigail Rine
Honors Faculty Fellow; Assistant Professor of English
PhD, University of St. Andrews (Scotland); MLitt, University of St. Andrews (Scotland); BA, George Fox University
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As a recipient of the prestigious Overseas Research Award, Dr. Rine completed her doctorate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where her dissertation was granted the Samuel Rutherford Prize for the most distinguished thesis in English literature (2011). Dr. Rine’s first book, Irigaray, Incarnation and Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2013) examines religious themes in the work of contemporary women novelists, positing literature as the ideal space for religious thinking, precisely because it is a realm that cultivates imagination, mystery, and incarnation. Dr. Rine’s literary criticism has appeared in the academic journals Forum for Modern Language Studies and Journal of Gender Studies, as well as in recent volumes such as Sex, Gender and Time in Fiction and Culture (Palgrave, 2011) and the forthcoming Luce Irigaray: Teaching II (Bloomsbury). In addition to her academic work, she has published creative writing, both fiction and non-fiction, in a variety of venues, such as The Atlantic Monthly, Geez Magazine, Talking River Review, and Melusine. Dr. Rine’s teaching interests span a wide range of world literature, both ancient and modern, and she is particularly interested in contemporary re-writings of ancient narratives and the intersection of theology and literary studies.
Honors Committee Members
Dr. Heather Ayala (Biology)
Dr. Corwynn Beals (Philosphy)
Dr. Joseph Clair (Philosophy and Theology)
Dr. Caitlin Corning (History)
Dr. Brian Doak (Biblical Studies)
Dr. Mark Hall (Political Science)
Dr. David Hansen (Computer Science)
Dr. Bill Jolliff (English)
Dr. Abigail Rine (English)
Dr. Brent Weaver (Music)