Meet the Division: Brad Herling

Welcome back to the Meet the Division series! For this week the 255 will spotlight the Chair of the History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies department.


Prof Herling is fresh off a two term stint as Division chair! In addition to chairing the History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies department, Professor Herling’s teaching and research interests include religious traditions of Asia, philosophies of religion, and a variety of themes in the study of religion. Herling is the author of three books: The German Gita: Hermeneutics and Discipline in the German Reception of Indian Thought, 1778-1831; A Beginner’s Guide to the Study of Religion; and Deliver Us From Evil. Some of Herling’s online work includes a presentation on suffering in comparative perspectives, and his analysis and critique of just war theory.

  • What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • I don’t think that I have a “favorite”–they all appeal to different interests and approaches. The one that has probably been the most popular over the years is the Nature of Evil; I of course like that the content of the course compels MMC students.
  • What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
    • I am old school and do lecture from time to time, but I like that at MMC, a lecture is never really a straight-up “lecture”–it’s an exchange. Discussions are best, however, and recently I have also appreciated the online discussion forums on Blackboard.
  • Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • In general, I just knew as an undergrad that I wanted to stay in college forever. How do you do that? Become a professor. I studied religion because it opened so many possibilities, and I was curious about a lot of things. Later, I got interested in the way that religion is positioned in popular and scholarly discourse, and in the way that religion intersects with power–social and otherworldly. 
  • What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
    • Hanging out with my wife and daughter; travel; craft beer; binge-watching!
  • Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • No pets. If I had one, it would be a dog, but difficult to have a dog in the city and leave to travel for extended periods in the summer.
  • What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • As grinding and difficult as this period has been (and will continue to be), persevere. And also, if possible, take this as an occasion to see the world in a different way.

Big thanks to Professor Herling for contributing to our ongoing series! Join us next week as we highlight another faculty in our division. As always, a friendly reminder to be kind, stay safe, and get ready for the sPoOkY sEaSoN.

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