In some ways, if you think particularly about the types of Jewish students here in the ‘80s and ‘90s, many may well have come here out of a desire for further assimilation and distance from Judaism– and this would have been a very good place a good place to do that.
Dr. Karl Plank received his MDiv in 1977 and his PhD in 1983 from Vanderbilt University. He has taught at Davidson ever since. His courses cover wide array of subjects, from David Foster Wallace and the ethics of fiction, to the spiritual world of Psalms. In the last thirty years, he has been one of the few professors at Davidson to teach courses that discretely deal with Judaism. As a literary scholar, he has focused specifically on Jewish textual tradition, religious and secular.
Summary: Dr. Karl Plank fondly recounts the evolution of the Religious Studies department since his hiring in the early 1980s, the types of students (Jewish and not) who have been attracted to courses that deal explicitly with Judaism, and his experience of being “read” as Jewish because of the courses he teaches.