Joseph Reiff is an ordained United Methodist minister with membership in the Mississippi Annual Conference and served as a pastor of churches in Mississippi and Georgia from 1977-1985. His Ph.D. dissertation was a congregational study of St. Paul United Methodist church in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta.

Since 1990 he has taught here at Emory & Henry; he became Chair of the Religion Department in 1998. For several years he directed the First-Year Western Tradition program and then the First-Year Human Foundations course, part of the College’s Core Curriculum. He has served in a number of other faculty leadership roles, including Faculty Representative to the College’s Board of Trustees and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. 

The courses Dr. Reiff teaches include New Testament Survey, Old Testament Survey, Introduction to the Christian Faith, Church and World, The Christian Faith in Literature, Church and Community Ministries, and Psychological Development and Religious Faith. In addition, he teaches these courses in the E&H core curriculum: an ETLA 100 Transitions I (first-year) course entitled “What Is the Good Life in the Digital Age?”; ETLA 200, "Foundations"; and ETLA 315, "The Book of Genesis in Context." He also occasionally preaches and teaches Bible studies in local churches, mostly United Methodist.

Dr. Reiff’s book, Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society, published by Oxford University Press in November 2015, focuses on the response of the white Methodist Church in Mississippi to the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. He holds memberships in the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the Southern Historical Association. 

Honors and awards received by Dr. Reiff include the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2016 Nonfiction Award for Born of Conviction, a Louisville Institute Religious Institutions Grant in 2005-06, a Hope Award from Emory & Henry’s Appalachian Center for Community Service in 2003, and two awards from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church: the Exemplary Teaching Award for 2000-01 and a Dempster Graduate Fellowship in 1988-89. 




Educational Background

  • B.A., Millsaps College
  • M.Div. & Ph.D., Emory University