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Faculty Feature of the Week: David Carlson, Ph.D.

2 Carlson, David 2011For Franklin college professor David Carlson, religious studies is not only his job, but also a significant part of his life.

Carlson said he was first interested in making religious studies a career when he “realized that religious studies was more about questions than pat answers.”

Carlson is a member of several religious studies groups, including the Spiritual Oneness Group of Indianapolis, a film study group at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Carmel, and the Columbus Interfaith Fellowship.

In 2013, Carlson presented a paper on Christian-Muslim relations at Nazareth College in New York and was one of the speakers at the Earlham School of Religion Writer’s Conference. This May, Carlson will be presenting a paper at Vaasa University in Finland.

In 2011, Carlson published Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World, which received a starred review from both Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. The book was selected as one of the Ten Best Books in 2011 in the category of “Spiritual Living” by Library Journal. Carlson has also authored several published articles.

Carlson has been teaching at Franklin College for 36 years. Among his honors as a professor are the Faculty Teaching Award and the Dietz Faculty Excellence Award.

“Teaching allows me to see students be transformed, not just informed, by what they are learning,” he said.

“Looking back now,” he continued, “I realize that few experiences have given me as much pleasure as learning something new and unexpected.”

Carlson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wheaton College; a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from the American Baptist Seminary of the West, California; and his doctorate degree in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. In addition, he has conducted post-doctoral studies at Duke University on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and at Indiana University.

Carlson said his current passion is writing about the future of interfaith relations in America. His other hobbies include sailing, kayaking, fishing, boating, biking and bird watching. He lives with his wife Kathy, an English professor at the college, in Franklin.

Carlson is available to discuss the religious studies department and what a Franklin College liberal arts degree as a religious studies major or minor can do for you. Schedule a visit by contacting the Office of Admissions at (800) 852-0232.


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