Q&A with Classics and religion professor Timothy Baker '08

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, classics and religion professor Timothy Baker ’08 was interested in folklore, fairy tales and religion, a fascination that led him to take Latin in middle school and study religion when he came to Dartmouth as an undergraduate in 2004. After earning his B.A. in religion and Jewish studies, Baker earned both his master’s and Ph.D. in theology from Harvard Divinity School. Baker also has a diploma in Manuscript Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, Canada. In his office in Reed Hall, Baker discussed how his interests in religion manifested and how religion and science can coexist.

How did your upbringing influence you?

TB: I was always interested in religion, and I was always interested in medieval stories, folklore, fairy tales, those types of things. And that interest was something I thought I wanted to pursue, graduating from high school. I had taken a lot of Latin as a middle and high school student and knew I really liked Latin, and knew that I liked it more than the Spanish I had taken, so I wanted to pursue something like that. So when I came here [as an undergraduate], I pretty quickly attached myself to the Latin program here and to the religion department, because that’s what I thought I liked, and it turns out I really didn’t like that kind of thing. So even though I spent quite a bit of my time taking courses — I would usually take four or five, sometimes six courses a term — and kind of bounced around to different departments, the core was in religion. So I took almost all the course offerings in religion, or at least as many as I could.

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