UA Religious Studies Professor Tim Murphy Dies

  • March 21st, 2013
Tim Murphy
Tim Murphy

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Timothy M. Murphy, a University of Alabama associate professor of religious studies, died March 15 from complications related to cystic fibrosis.

He was 56.

Murphy joined the faculty in UA’s department of religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2002. Prior to his appointment, he held a prestigious Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

He received his master’s degree and doctorate in the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he worked with Hayden White, Donna Harraway, Gary Lease and Norman O. Brown, among others. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan.

“In his writing and teaching, Murphy combined current theoretical perspectives with a rereading of the history of the discipline through the lens of both post-structuralism and post-colonialism,” said Dr. Ted Trost, chair of the department of religious studies. “He drew upon data from throughout the world, not just a single tradition or type of tradition, to produce not merely a critical, but a constructive and comprehensive theory of religion.”

In addition to numerous essays, Murphy authored three books: “Nietzsche, Metaphor, Religion” (2001); “Representing Religion:  Essays in History, Theory, and Crisis” (2007); and “The Politics of Spirit:  Phenomenology, Genealogy, Religion” (2010).

Murphy is survived by his older brother, Councilman Bernie Herpin of Colorado Springs, Colo., and his younger sister, Elizabeth Stowell of Andover, Kan., and nieces Tiffany Koch of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Emily Stowell and nephews Matthew, William and Benjamin Stowell all of Andover, Kan.

UA’s department of religious studies is planning an informal memorial event in conjunction with their Honors Day activities on April 5, 2013.  More information will be forthcoming from the department’s website:

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ( or to The University of Alabama, Department of Religious Studies. Cards could be sent to the family in care of Bernie Herpin, PO Box 76521, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80970.


Kelli Wright, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539,

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.