Religion Department Adds New Faculty

Wake Forest University’s religion department has announced the hiring of two new faculty members and the departure of a 26-year veteran.

Mary F. Foskett will join the department as assistant professor of biblical studies after earning her doctoral degree at Emory University in New Testament and Christian origins. E. Frank Tupper, professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., will join the department as visiting professor of religion.

The new additions come as Ralph C. Wood, J. Allen Easley Professor of Religion, leaves Wake Forest to become a distinguished professor of religion at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., this summer.

“We will certainly miss the significant contributions of Ralph Wood,” said Charles Kimball, chair of the religion department. “Ralph has been an excellent teacher and has contributed in numerous ways to the life of the university over the past 26 years.

“At the same time, we are excited about the addition of Mary Foskett and Frank Tupper,” Kimball said. “Both Mary and Frank are deeply rooted in the Baptist tradition. They bring a vitality and energy to the department and will enhance the high standard of teaching and scholarship that has been a hallmark of this department for many years.”

A former social worker, Baptist campus minister and associate chaplain, Foskett completed undergraduate studies at New York University in 1985 before earning her master of divinity degree at The Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1989. At Wake Forest, Foskett will teach courses on the New Testament.

Foskett has taught at the Candler School of Theology and Columbia Theological Seminary and serves on the editorial board of Baptists Today. As research assistant to Luke Johnson, Robert W. Woodruff Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Emory University, she contributed to such works as “The Real Jesus” and “A New Translation and Commentary on the Letter of James.” Foskett is also a member of the American Academy of Religion, the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, and the Society of Biblical Literature.

A Baptist minister who earned his master of divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1965 and his doctorate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 1971, Tupper is a well-known Baptist theologian, lecturer and author. His books include “The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg” and “A Scandalous Providence: The Jesus Story of the Compassion of God.” During his year at Wake Forest, Tupper will teach “20th Century Theologians” and “Introduction to the Christian Tradition.”

Tupper’s ministerial experience includes seven years as pastor at Edmonton Baptist Church in Edmonton, Ky., from 1966 to 1973 and interim pastorates at 12 Baptist churches from 1973 to 1985.

Wood joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1971. Beloved by students for his engaging style and scholarship, Wood’s teaching talents earned him the Reid-Doyle Junior Faculty Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1979 and the Jon Reinhardt Senior Faculty Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1991.

Editor at large of The Christian Century since 1988, reviewer for the journal Christianity and Literature since 1991 and member of the editorial advisory board of The Flannery O’Connor Bulletin, Wood won critical acclaim for his 1988 book, “The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists.”

Categories: Faculty, School of Divinity, University Announcement