Religion in

Theodore Louis Trost
Professor & Undergraduate Director

Religious Studies &
New College

Religions in America, Religious Rhetorics, Religion in Popular Culture, Biblical Narratives, and Apocalypticism

office phone: (205) 348-7534
office: Manly 206

A recent copy of his cv can be found here (PDF).

Learn more about Prof. Trost

See his ar·ti·facts episode...

What's the Backstory on Prof. Trost...?

Douglas Horton and the Ecumenical Impulse in American Religion

See Prof. Trost's co-written chapter

Co-edited by Matthew Kapell and William G. Doty

Prof. Trost's co-edited book

Teaching African
American Religions

Collection of essays edited by Prof. Trost

The African Diaspora and the Study of Religion

Learn more about the conference that resulted in the book. See the contents and Preface (PDF).

And find Prof. Trost's work in the volume volumes:

Who Do You Say That I Am?
Scott R. Paeth

From Biblical Interpretation to Human Transformation
Herman Waetjen

Prism: A Theological Forum for the United Church of Christ
Barbara Brown Zikmund, Editor
Lee C. Barrett III, Editor





Professor Theodore Louis Trost was graduated from Harvard University in 1998 with a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion. His dissertation focused on the career of Douglas Horton, an American Protestant leader in the ecumenical movement during the 20th century. Previous degrees were earned at the University of Michigan (BGS), the San Francisco Theological Seminary (MDiv), and the Graduate Theological Union (MA). He also worked for nine years as a flight attendant and purser with the now defunct Pan American World Airways.

For over a decade, Dr. Trost held a joint appointment within the College of Arts & Sciences to both the Department of Religious Studies and to the New College. In the Fall semester 2009, he began a four year term as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, temporarily suspending his cross-appointment to New College and stepping down in 2013. Dr. Trost was promoted to the rank of Professor in August, 2010.

Trost teaches courses in American Religious History, Religion and Popular Culture, Bible, Religious Rhetoric in Literature and Film, and song writing. He is also songwriter and member of the group called Thaddaeus Quince and the New Originals.

Current Projects

Professor Trost's research interests lie in three inter-related areas. His work in American religious history has focused on the ecumenical movement and the survival struggles of "mainstream" Protestant churches. His article, "Identity and Identification: The United Church of Christ's 'God is Still Speaking' Television Ad Campaign," Prism 21/2 (2008), investigates a series of controversial television ads designed to recruit new members to the United Church of Christ—a denomination that traces its history through the Congregational churches back to the Puritan founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the area of religion and popular culture, Dr. Trost presented recently his conference paper, "'I Give You a Testimonial': Religious Rhetoric in the Songs of the MC5"; it is part of an ongoing book project, a collection of essays addressing "religion" as represented in popular songs, film, and television. The opportunity to teach a course in the New Testament has re-invigorated Dr. Trost's interest in the category of "Scripture." He is currently investigating ways in which the Gospel of Mark might be described, historically and rhetorically, as a recruiting manual for a first century counterculture movement describing itself as "Christian."

Courses Taught

REL 112 Introduction to the New Testament

REL 124 Religion and Film in America

REL 240 Apocalypse in Contemporary Film

REL 311 English Bible as Literature

REL 420 The Gospel of Mark

REL 490 Senior Capstone Seminar

Prof. Trost's Books

The African Diaspora and the Study of Religion, Theodore Louis Trost, ed. (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007).

Teaching African American Religions, Carolyn M. Jones and Theodore Louis Trost, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Douglas Horton and the Ecumenical Impulse in American Religion, Harvard Theological Studies Series, 50 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

Other Works by Prof. Trost

"The Passion and the Compassion of the Christ" in Scott Paeth, ed., Who Do You Say That I Am? Christology and Identity in the United Church of Christ (Cleveland, OH: United Church Press, 2006), 145-166; 217-220.

"'Never Have I Witnessed Such Hospitality': Malcolm X's Pilgrimage to Mecca," FootSteps Magazine of African American Heritage 8/2 (March-April 2006): 17-19.

"Watching for Religion and Race at the Movies" in Carolyn M. Jones and Theodore Louis Trost, eds., Teaching African American Religions (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 219-240.

"Story, Product, Franchise: Images of Postmodern Cinema," co-authored with Bruce Isaacs in Matthew Kapell and William G. Doty, eds., Jacking into the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation (New York: Continuum, 2004), 65-79.

"'Hooray for Our Side!': Songs, Identity Construction, and Sound Doctrine," Religious Studies Review 29/3 (July 2003): 215-223.

"Confessional Identity: An Early Exchange," in M. Douglas Meeks, ed., In Essentials Unity: Essays on the Nature and Purpose of the Church (Minneapolis: Kirk House, 2001), 108-112.

Service Beyond the University of Alabama

In addition to his responsibilities to the University of Alabama, Dr. Trost serves on the Board of Directors of the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society and the Editorial Board of the New Mercersburg Review. With Professor Philip Stoltzfus, he chairs the Music and Religion Consultation of the American Academy of Religion.