Dr. Richard Bowman


Dr. Richard Bowman has a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. In addition to the freshman introductory course in religion, he teaches courses in the Hebrew prophets and Hebrew wisdom literature, seminars on Hebrew narrative literature and hermeneutical methodological traditions. His interest in theology and popular culture has produced courses on the detective story and the history of baseball. Bowman’s current research projects involve a literary analysis of direction language in I & II Samuel and the interpretive method of Martin Luther in his exposition of the book of Jonah.

Dr. Murray Haar


Dr. Murray Haar is a professor of religion and Jewish studies. He teaches courses dealing with the Holocaust, Judaism and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, religion, violence, courage, and evil. He also teaches Hebrew and Jewish philosophy. Haar has taken students to Israel and India. He has published a number of articles and given a variety of papers dealing with Israel and the Holocaust. He holds a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. Haar enjoys all kinds of music, old movies, watching television and playing scrabble with his wife, and baseball (Yankees and Twins).

Dr. Ann PedersonDr. Ann Milliken Pederson


Dr. Ann Milliken Pederson teaches Christian theology, with particular emphases in religion and medical sciences, feminist theologies, and Lutheran constructive theology. Pederson is currently working with colleagues at both Augustana University and Gettysburg Seminary to integrate science into seminary education. More about this work can be found at: http://www.scienceforseminaries.org/lutheran-theological-seminary-at-gettysburg/. The American Association for the Advance of Science funded 10 of these grants. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the section for ethics and humanities at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota. Pederson has written four books: Where in the World is God? Variations on a Theme (Chalice Press, 1998), God, Creation, and All That Jazz (Chalice Press, 2001), The Music of Creation, co-authored with the Rev. Dr. Canon Arthur Peacocke, (Fortress Press, 2006), and The Geography of God’s Incarnation: Landscapes and Narratives of Faith (Wipf and Stock, 2013), and her latest book, Our Bodies Are Selves, co-authored with Philip Hefner and Susan Barreto will be published by Wipf and Stock late in 2015. She has also authored entries in the Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, and numerous articles in Zygon, Word and World, and other periodicals. She received her doctorate in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Dr. Richard Swanson


Dr. Richard Swanson teaches course that explore biblical interpretation, interpretive theory, and the ways people live and hope. He also teaches Biblical Greek on occasion, and co-teaches (with Dr. Michael Mullin, history) “Peopling Paradise: Migrants, Missionaries, and Money,” a course that travels to Hawaii to study the effects of colonization on traditional cultures. His research focuses on the interaction between religion and culture and on the interpretive implications of ancient and modern performances of biblical narratives. He has written four books and numerous articles, and is currently finishing work on a performance-critical commentary, Provoking the Gospel of John: A Storyteller’s Commentary. Swanson serves a co-chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section for the Society of Biblical Literature, and is a member of the executive board for the Network of Biblical Storytellers. He is the director of the Provoking the Gospel Storytelling Project, a troupe of actors drawn from among Augustana students and alums. He received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Luther Seminary. Before beginning his doctoral studies, he was a parish pastor for six years.



Dr. Stephen Minister

Associate Professor

Dr. Stephen Minister teaches courses in ethics, continental philosophy, modern philosophy, and philosophy of religion, as well as study-abroad courses on global poverty and the ethics of development. His research engages the continental tradition, especially the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, and focuses on conceptions of the human person, the relationship between responsibility and reason, and practical issues related to global poverty, human rights, and economic justice. He is the author of De-Facing the Other: Reason, Ethics, and Politics after Difference (Marquette UP, 2012) and a variety of journal articles and book chapters. He also co-edited Kierkegaard's God and the Good Life (Indiana UP, 2017) and Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion (Duquesne UP, 2012). He received bachelors degrees in philosophy and mathematics at Seattle Pacific University and his Ph.D. in philosophy at Fordham University.  He is also the advisor for the Augustana chapter of the philosophy honor society Phi Sigma Tau.

Dr. David O'Hara

Associate Professor, Philosophy and Classics
Department Chair


Dr. David O’Hara teaches a variety of courses, including ancient philosophy, American philosophy, environmental ethics, Asian philosophy, and philosophy of religion.  He regularly teaches a course on classics in Greece, and a course on tropical rainforest and reef ecology in Belize and Guatemala. His most recent book is Downstream, (Cascade Press, 2014) about brook trout and the ecology of the Appalachians.  He is also the author of Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C.S. Lewis (U. P. Kentucky, 2008). He is currently preparing an edited volume of the Religious Writings of American philosopher Charles S. Peirce. Dr. O'Hara is a graduate of Middlebury College (B.A., Spanish), St John's College (M.A., Liberal Arts), and The Pennsylvania State University (M.A., Ph.D., Philosophy).

Dr. Leigh Vicens

Assistant Professor

Dr. Leigh Vicens joined the Augustana faculty in the fall of 2012. She teaches courses on critical thinking, contemporary moral issues, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and free will and moral responsibility. Since completing her dissertation on theological determinism, Dr. Vicens' research has focused primarily on the metaphysics of mind and action, as well as related issues in philosophy of religion. She is currently interested in questions about the nature and extent of human freedom and moral responsibility, and especially how empirical research having implications for the causes and mechanisms of human action (in such fields as moral psychology, neuroscience, and physics) should influence our answers to these questions. Dr. Vicens has published articles in journals such as Religious Studies, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia, and Res Philosophica. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her B.A. in philosophy from Dartmouth College. She also has an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary and is an ordained Episcopal priest.



Dr. Rocki Wentzel

Associate Professor


Dr. Rocki Wentzel joined Augustana in 2008. She teaches courses in Latin and Greek, as well as Greek and Roman mythology, literature in translation, and seminars on applications of gift theory. Her research falls under the heading of classical reception and she has published articles on reception in the fiction of Edith Wharton with a particular focus on writing, creativity, and gender. She earned her Ph.D. in Greek and Latin (Classics) at The Ohio State University, where she wrote her dissertation on the reception of Virgil’s Aeneid in Augustine’s Confessions.