• Print

Alan Lenzi

I'm a typical professor in that I come to class, talk, ask questions, interject humor, use visual aides-the usual professorial stuff. I'm also quite normal in that I expect my students to work hard; in exchange, I do my best to evaluate that work in a rigorous and constructive manner.

My students tell me that I show a lot of enthusiasm for the materials I teach in class. That may be a reflection of the fact that I genuinely love my fields of study and feel very fortunate to be able to work in them for a living. But, just as likely, that enthusiasm is a mixture of the Italian excitability I've genetically inherited and the thousands of fire-and-brimstone Pentecostal sermons I heard as a kid. I must subconsciously believe that students are less likely to fall asleep if the prof is standing on a desk, ripping up his lecture notes, or sweating through two shirts while talking about Gilgamesh's quest for immortality or the political dimensions of the Book of Judges-very extreme examples, to be sure.

But excitement can't replace genuine care for students' education. So I invite students to come to the office and talk. I like to hear about their future plans. I field questions that may or may not be related to the class they are taking with me. I get to know them. This is what drew me to the teaching profession.

Something else that may be a little different about my teaching is directly related to its content: I challenge students to think critically and self-reflectively about religion and especially about the Bible as products of human culture. We bring a multi-disciplinary array of methodological tools to this task: linguistic, historical, sociological, and anthropological. This deep intellectual engagement with religious texts often touches on sensitive personal issues, perhaps even creating conflict for a student's religious identity. I know firsthand about such matters. And, again, I encourage students to visit me during office hours to think through such issues with me.

Education is nothing if it is not challenging.

Alan Lenzi
Assistant Professor of Religious and Classical Studies
Email Link for Professor Alan Lenzi Email