Marilyn Bierling


  • BA (Spanish, English, Secondary Education) Calvin College 1971
  • MA (Romance Linguistics) University of Michigan 1974
  • PhD (Spanish) Michigan State University 1990


Professor Bierling enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, swimming, language learning, and playing the piano and guitar, as well as Middle Eastern, Spanish, Mayan, and Peruvian archaeology.  She also volunteers at local immigration clinics, and she is currently organizing a second Calvin Alumni trip to Peru.  She and her husband have three married children and seven grandchildren, all living in the GR area.

Research and scholarship

Professor Bierling’s academic interests include pronoun usage in Central America, Sephardic Spanish, the Phoenician colonization of Spain, and Hispanic immigration to the U.S., including Cuban immigration. 

Her conference presentations include the following:

  • “People Crossing Borders:  Where We Stand on Undocumented Immigration.” Christian Association of
  • World Languages (CAWL) 2014.
  • “Protestantism in Cuba:  A Unique Journey.” CAWL 2012.
  • “The Cuban Immigrant Experience in the U.S. Church.” CAWL 2011.
  • “Immigration Impasse:  Issues for the Classroom.”  Conference on Diversity, Calvin College, 2009)


Bierling, M., ed. and trans. (2002)  The Phoenicians in Spain:  An Archaeological Review of the 8th-6th Centuries B.C.E.  Eisenbrauns.

Bierling, M. (2007)  “Legal and Illegal Immigration:  Complex Ethical Issues for the Language Classroom” in Spirituality, Social Justice, and Language Learning.  Eds. David Smith and Terry Osborn. Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.  89-105.

Bierling, M.  (2009)  “Teaching Enrique’s Journey / La travesía de Enrique.”  Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages 10, 59-67.

Bierling, M. (2005)  “Review of Iglesias peregrinas en busca de identidad: cuadros del protestantismo latino en los Estados Unidos by Juan Martínez Guerra and Luis Scott, eds.”  Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages 6, 100-02.

Bierling, M. (2005)  “Review of  Terrorism and the War in Iraq:  A Christian Word from Latin America by Carlos Padilla and Lindy Scott.” Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages 6, 103-05.

Bierling, M. (2001) “Chac and Maximón:  Perspectives on Religious Syncretism.”  Journal of Christianity and Foreign Languages 2 (2001), 83-95.

Bierling, M. (2011-2013)  Cuban Refugees in the Christian Reformed Church. 18 videotaped interviews with subtitles and transcripts.  Heritage Hall, Hekman Library.

Bierling, M. (2013)  La inmigración cubana.  Teaching/learning unit on Cuban refugees.

Bierling, M. (2012)  “Flights to Her Future.”  Bierling, Marilyn, and Elena Brubaker. World Renew website.

Bierling, M.  Christian Resources for the Spanish Classroom

Learn more about Calvin's excellent faculty and learning environment by scheduling a campus visit.

Visit »

  • Course code:
  • Credits:
  • Semester:
  • Department: