Dr. Brad Chance

Chance is the head of the religion department. He received his bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, his master of divinity fromSoutheastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctor of philosophy in religious studies from Duke University. Chance’s area of expertise is in Christian origins, primarily in the books of Luke and Acts. He is also very interested in how religion and culture work together.

“I’m very interested in how religion works socially and particularly the kind of social cultural environment that religion can create to then influence and shape people within that environment,” said Chance.


Chance said that he loves that Jewell is “an interdisciplinary exploration of our ideas.” He also thinks that the caliber of students at Jewell gives him the opportunity to present them with some challenging curriculum and some challenging texts. He likes his colleagues and enjoys Jewell’s environment.

Chance’s favorite class to teach is CTI 238/REL 270 Religion in the Modern Age, because it has the “deepest roots.” The course was once called Religion and Meaning and has been through many changes. He sees this class as important because he believes that one cannot discuss most major issues in today’s world without talking about religion.

“Religion is everywhere whether people like it or not,” said Chance.


Dr. Milton P. Horne

Horne received his bachelor of arts from the University of Missouri, Columbia, his master of divinity from Midwestern Theological Seminary and his doctor of philosophy in theology from Oxford University. His area of expertise is the Hebrew Bible, more specifically the wisdom texts, including the apocryphal books of Ecclesiastics and Wisdom of Solomon.

While Horne is still very interested in the wisdom texts, he finds that he has also become interested in economics’ influence on religion.

“I think economics and religion, for instance, dovetail a lot more than people are aware of,” said Horne.

Like Chance, Horne enjoys the interdisciplinary environment that Jewell creates as well as its students. He also likes the size, because it is a close community.

“They like that kind of close conversation, they like to work with professors, they like interesting research ideas, they like co-curricular activities where you’re talking about the applications of what you might be talking about in the classroom,” said Horne.

He doesn’t have a favorite class, but the three he enjoys the most are CTI 239/REL 272 Judaism, Christianity and Islam, CTI 236/REL 275 Science, Magic and Religion; and CTI 407 The Economics of Well-Being. He likes these three classes for different reasons, but he sees students engage in these classes in a way that he doesn’t see in others.


Dr. Brendon C. Benz

Benz has his bachelor of arts from Taylor University, his master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and his doctor of philosophy in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East from the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. His area of expertise is the Hebrew Bible and context, specifically the history of the Ancient Southern Levant and the history of the Ancient Near East as a whole.

Benz said that he’s still working with the topic of his dissertation. In fact, the first book that will come from his dissertation is in the final stages of publication. However, he has become more interested in what he refers to as “a hermetic of relationship,” which means reading the Bible in a way that influences the way an individual forms relationships with others.

Similar to Chance and Horne, Benz likes Jewell because the students’ ability to engage in study in a close and critical way. He also likes that, while Jewell doesn’t reject its history of religious affiliation, it is not defined by that history.


“You can teach the Bible in a critical way and there’s no party line that has to be held and so in that way as opposed to many institutions that I have been affiliated with or know about it is an institution of higher learning,” said Benz.

Benz says his favorite class to teach is REL 110 Introduction to the Bible, because the students are able to suspend their own judgments and embrace new ideas in a way that “really blows their world open.”

“I also like Christianity and Tyranny because at the core of that class is promoting healthy relationship and it’s something that goes beyond knowledge,” said Benz.