David Torbett

Israel Ward Andrews Professor of Religion
Ph.D.-Historical Theology, Union Theological Seminary (2002); MA-Divinity, Andover Newton Theological School (1992); BFA-Dramatic Writing, New York University (1987)
Year Appointed
Fall 2016
  • U.S. History - 1st Century
  • History of Religion in U.S.
  • Five Big Religions
Spring 2017
  • Ancient Civilizations
  • African-American Religion
  • Five Big Religions
  • Alternative Religions in America


Dr. Torbett joined the Marietta College faculty in 2007. His most popular class is Five Big Religions, Five Big Questions, a course he created to introduce students to the five major world religions and topics in philosophy of religion. Other religion courses cover alternative religions, biblical studies, African-American religion, ethics, and the history of Christianity. Dr. Torbett also teaches courses in American, European, and ancient history. Dr. Torbett is the author of Theology and Slavery: Charles Hodge and Horace Bushnell (Mercer University Press, 2006), which deals with the intersection of belief and ethics for two prominent nineteenth-century American Protestant theologians. He has also published articles on the use of drama and debate in teaching biblical studies. His current research interests include religious movements of the nineteenth-century Ohio Valley. Dr. Torbett received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University in 1987, a Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 1992, and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia in 2002. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. His hobbies include racewalking and music. With his family, Dr. Torbett has created a number of humorous musical videos on topics in European history, the most popular of which is “Lay Investiture Swings,” which has received thousands of views and has been used by teachers in high school and college classrooms. Dr. Torbett lives in Marietta with extremely cooperative and tolerant wife and children.
Research Interests:
Religion in America, World Religions, Biblical Studies, Ethics, European History, Pedagogy

Recent Publications:
Overcoming Evil With Good: The Autobiography of Daniel Parker, a Frontier Universalist (book in progress); Theology and Slavery: Charles Hodge and Horace Bushnell (book, Mercer University Press); “I Did Not Wash My Feet with that Woman: Using Drama to Teach the Hebrew Bible” article, Teaching Theology and Religion (13:4, 2010).