Gary A. Phillips returned to full-time teaching in 2015 after serving for eight years as Wabash’s Dean of the College. Before coming to Wabash, Phillips taught at the College of the Holy Cross and The University of the South: Sewanee, where he served as Department Chair and Director of Sewanee’s First Year Program (and owned and operated a pizza shoppe and café). His current research and teaching interests focus upon the Bible and its relationship to Western art and culture, issues of violence and religion, and the ethics of reading and teaching the Bible by Jews and Christian after the Holocaust. Ethical questions related to interpreting the Bible in light of suffering and atrocity, past and present, are perennial concerns.
Phillips is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of ten books and more than 65 articles. His most recent writing focuses on the artwork of Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak. Phillips recently participated in the summer seminar of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies investigating the historical tie between anti-Semitism and Christian theology as well as offered workshops on pedagogical issues related to the teaching of the Holocaust.
Convinced that a liberal arts education prepares a person for wrestling with the central, most difficult human questions, Phillips is a first generation college graduate whose family came from the coal mine country of central West Virginia. His life was altered by liberal arts teachers who showed him the art of the question. His spouse, Alice Phillips, is a Curriculum Supervisor for Purdue University. They are the proud parents of three adult children and two teenage grandsons. When not in the classroom, Dean Phillips can be found cycling on the back roads of Montgomery County, visiting family in New York City, or installing ceramic tile.
New Testament Studies and linguistics, Highest Distinction
(École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, 1975-76)
M.Div Vanderbilt Divinity School, 1974
Biblical Studies, Theology, Magna Cum Laude
B.A. Lynchburg College, 1971
Religion, Philosophy, English, Magna Cum Laude
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
Parables in Jewish and Christian Traditions
Religion and Representations of the Holocaust
Reading the Bible after the Holocaust
Freshman Tutorial: Images of Jesus in Gospel and Film
Violence and Religion
Ethics of Biblical Interpretation
Reading the Bible after the Holocaust
“Fraught with Responsibility: Trauma-Informed Pedagogy, Teaching The Holocaust, and Biblical Texts of Terror in the Religious Studies and Theology Classroom.’ Invited presentation to the Biblical Literature and the Hermeneutics of Trauma Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 22, 2015.
“Eye for an I: Intertextuality, Lex Talionis, and the Call of Justice.” Invited presentation to the Intertextuality and New Testament Section, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 21, 2015.
“Representing the Irreparable: The Holocaust and the Art of Samuel Bak.” Invited presentation to the Jewish Studies Program of Kent State University. March 2-3, 2015.
“Trauma, Pedagogy, and Teaching the Holocaust.” Invited workshop with Henry Knight at the Education and Research Divisions of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., February 3, 2015.
“More than the Jews…His Blood be upon All the Children: Biblical Violence, Genocide, and Responsible Reading.” Invited presentation at Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, VA, October 25, 2014.
“Scripture as Script of Terror: The Bible, Genocide, and Responsible Reading.” Presentation and Workshop at Facing History and Ourselves, Brookline, MA, December 3, 2014.
“The Domain of the Dead and the Witness of the Liberal Arts.” The 30th Annual LaFollete Lecture. Wabash College, October 9, 2009. Watch on YouTube.
Icon of Loss: The Haunting Child of Samuel Bak. Co-author with Danna Nolan Fewell. Boston: Pucker Art Publication/Syracuse University Press, 2009.
Representing the Irreparable: The Shoah, the Bible, and the Art of Samuel Bak. Co-edited with Danna Nolan Fewell and Yvonne Sherwoo. Boston: Pucker Art Publication/Syracuse University Press, 2008.
“The Icons of Just-Is.” Exhibition Catalogue Essay. Just-Is: New Works by Samuel Bak. Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA. October 18-November 30, 2016.
“More is Needed: Mary and Martha, Levinas, and Indelibly Ethical Reading.” Signs and Gospels. Festschrift in Honor of George Aichele. Ed. Melissa Stewart. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2015.
“The Commanding Faces of Biblical Narrative.” The Oxford Handbook on Biblical Narrative. Ed. Danna Nolan Fewell. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
"'Eye for an Eye.' An Intertextual Reading of Matthew 5:38 and the Artwork of Samuel Bak" The Press of the Text: Biblical Studies in Honor of James W. Voelz. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2016.
“Textual Instability and Responsible Reading: A Poststructural Approach to Matthean Intertextuality.” Exploring Intertextuality: Diverse Strategies for the New Testament Use of Texts. Eds. B. J. Oropeza and Steve Moyise. Eugene: Cascade, 2016.
MAJORS & MINORS
- ASIAN STUDIES (MINOR)
- BLACK STUDIES (MINOR)
- BUSINESS (MINOR)
- COMPUTER SCIENCE (MINOR)
- EDUCATION STUDIES (MINOR)
- ELECTRONIC MUSIC (MINOR)
- ENGINEERING (DUAL-DEGREE)
- FINANCIAL ECONOMICS
- FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA (MINOR)
- GENDER STUDIES (MINOR)
- Global Health (MINOR)
- HISPANIC STUDIES
- MODERN LANGUAGES
- MULTICULTURAL AMER. STUDIES (MINOR)
- Neuroscience (MINOR)
- PRE-MEDICINE (PRE-PROFESSIONAL)
- POLITICAL SCIENCE