Public Lecture by Evan Haefeli
January 10 2017 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Evan Haefeli, Associate Professor of History, Texas A & M University, will give a public lecture entitled "Accidental Pluralists: Colonial America and English Religious Expansion, 1497-1662."
Evan Haefeli has also taught at Columbia, Tufts, and Princeton Universities and the London School of Economics, where he was a Visiting Fellow. He has held fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; the NEH; the Huntington Library in San Marino, California; and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at New York Public Library. His research has ranged from the frontier between New France and New England, to early Native American history, the famous Salem witchcraft trials, obscure revolts in colonial New York, captivity narratives and the nature of book publishing in colonial America, and the politics of religious toleration in the Dutch empire, especially New Netherland. He is currently finishing a book for the University of Chicago Press on the politics of religious toleration and English overseas expansion from 1497-1688, editing a volume of essays entitled Anti-Catholicism: The Anglo-American Experience c. 1600-1850, and beginning his next book, which examines the radical origins of the English Bahamas in the seventeenth century.
Prof. Haefeli will also give a workshop presentation on January 11 12:00 noon in S200 on "The Delaware as Women? Indigneous Sources on a Colonial Discourse"
Public Lecture by Katharine Garbner
January 17 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Katharine Gerbner, Assistant Professor of History, University of Minnesota, will give a public lecture entitled "Christian Slavery: Religion, Race, and Freedom in Protestant Missions to the Caribbean."
Katharine Gerbner's research explores the religious dimensions of race, authority, and freedom in the early modern Atlantic world. She is currently working on a book project entitled “Christian Slavery: Protestant Missions and Slave Conversion in the Atlantic World, 1660-1760,” which asks why enslaved and free Africans participated in Christian rituals in the Protestant Caribbean. A second project investigates the religious and medical practices of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean, paying particular attention to obeah and how Afro-Caribbean ideas about healing, prayer, and worship influenced the construction of European categories such as religion and medicine.
Prof. Gerbner will also give a workshop presentation on January 18, 12:00 noon in S200.
Public Lecture by Claudia Rapp: "Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai and its Hidden Manuscript Treasures"
February 6 | 4:30pm | Swift 208
Professor Claudia Rapp, University of Vienna, presents a public lecture entitled "Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai and its Hidden Manuscript Treasures."
Located in the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula and fortified with walls under Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine is the oldest Christian monastery in continuous operation. Despite its remoteness, it has attracted monks and pilgrims from all regions of Christendom. Its art collection and library are home to unique treasures that have been preserved through the ages. Some of the manuscript evidence has only recently been unlocked with the help of digital technology. This lecture will present the current results of the Sinai Palimpsests Project and explain how they contribute to our understanding of the monastery as a cultural magnet in the middle ages.
Claudia Rapp is Professor of Byzantine Studies at the University of Vienna and the director of the Division for Byzantine Research at the Institute for Medieval Studies (Austrian ACademy of Sciences). The author of Holy Bishops in Late Antiquity: The Nature of Christian Leadership in an Age of Transition (University of California Press), Prof. Rapp was the 2015 winner of the Wittgenstein Prize, Austria's highest academic award.
Public Lecture by Esra Özyürek
February 14 | 4:30pm | Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
Professor Esra Özyürek presents a public lecture entitled "Wrong Emotions for the Holocaust: Invisible Contributions of the Turkish- and Arab-Germans to the Cosmopolitan Memory Culture"
Workshop with Michael Levine
Workshop with Michael Levine on "After the Animal: Kafka, Monstrosity, and the Graphic Novel." Michael Levine is Professor in the German, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies programs at Rutgers University. His research, on 19th and 20th century German literature, literary theory, and intellectual history, focuses on four major areas: intersections among literary, philosophical and psychoanalytic discourses; Holocaust Studies and the poetics of witnessing; the changing structure of the literary, philosophical, and operatic work in the German nineteenth century; and the legal and political legacies of Nuremberg. He is the author of several books including The Belated Witness: Literature, Testimony, and the Question of Holocaust Survival and, most recently, Weak Messianic Power: Figures of a Time to Come in Benjamin, Derrida and Celan.
Sponsored by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop.
Bettina Bergo is Professor of Philosophy at the Université de Montréal. She is the author of Levinas between Ethics and Politics and editor or co-editor of several collections, including: “I don’t see color!”: Personal and Critical Perspectives on White Privilege (Penn State Press, 2015);Trauma: Reflections on Experience and Its Other (SUNY, 2009); Levinas and Nietzsche: after the Death of a Certain God (Columbia, 2008); Levinas’s Contribution to Contemporary Thought (Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 1999). She was a Martin Marty Center Senior Fellow for the 2015-2016 academic year.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 20 | 4:30 pm
Marshall Sahlins (PhD, Columbia 1954) is presently doing research focused on the intersection of culture and history, especially as those play out in early-modern Pacific societies. He recently published a book of his anthropological and political essays ranging from the 60s through the 90s, and is working on two others: a set of studies in history and historiography and a multi-volume work on “The Polynesian War,” a history of the great Fijian War, 1843-1855.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 26 | 4:30 pm
“Good Neighbors or Fellow Seekers? Dealing with the Plurality of Religions in the Twenty-First Century”
A public lecture and conversation with Paul Knitter
Swift Hall Common Room
Reception to follow
Paul Knitter is the Emeritus Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture at Union Theological Seminary, New York, as well as Emeritus Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. He received a Licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome (1966) and a doctorate from the University of Marburg, Germany (1972). Most of his research and publications have dealt with religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue.
Since his ground-breaking 1985 book, No Other Name?, he has been exploring how the religious communities of the world can cooperate in promoting human and ecological well-being. This is the topic of: One Earth Many Religions (1995). More recently, his writing and speaking engagements have focused on what Christians can learn in their dialogue with Buddhists, which is the topic of his 2009 book Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian and of his 2015 coauthored book with Roger Haight, S.J., Jesus and Buddha: Friends in Conversation. Since 1986, Paul has been serving on the Board of Directors for CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador). From 1996-2015, he was also on the Board of Trustees of the International Interreligious Peace Council (formed after the 1993 World Parliament of Religions, to promote interreligious peace-making projects).
Sarah Rivett, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, Princeton University, will give a public lecture entitled "'Savage Sounds' of Christian Translations: The Missionary Limits of Universalism in Colonial America"
Rivett (PhD UChicago) specializes in early American and eighteenth-century transatlantic literature and culture. Her first book, The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England (2011) was awarded the Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History. The Science of the Soul highlights the unity of science and religion in transatlantic networks of knowledge formation by arguing that empiricism and natural philosophy transformed the scope of Puritan religious activity in colonial New England from the 1630s to the Great Awakening of the 1740s. Rivett’s current book, Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of Literary Nation, explores the impact of New World language encounters between indigenous and European populations on Enlightenment language philosophy and early American literary history. Unscripted America traces the shifting status of indigenous words from seventeenth century Jesuit and Protestant missions to the imperial wars of the eighteenth century to notions of Indian grammars as the basis for a new national literary history in the 1820s. Rivett is also writing The New Cambridge Introduction to the Literature of Early America. Additionally, she has co-edited a volume of essays on Religious Transformations in the Early Modern Americas (2014). Her articles have appeared in PMLA, American Literary History, Early American Literature, The William and Mary Quarterly, and Early American Studies. Some of her course titles include: Religion in the Early Modern Atlantic World (grad), American Enlightenment (grad), The Supernatural in American Literature, American Literature to 1865, Religion and Poetry, Walt Whitman’s America, and Morality in America.
Spring Quarter 2016
Tuesday, April 5 | 4:30 pm, Swift Common Room (1st floor)
John Cottingham will deliver a public lecture, entitled "Transcending science: humane models of religious understanding."
John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at University of Reading, Professorial Research Fellow, Heythrop College, University of London, and Honorary Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford and former editor of Ratio: the International Journal of Analytic Philosophy (1993-2013). Prof. Cottingham is a world-renowned Descartes scholar who has has published extensively on issues in Early Modern Philosophy and Moral Philosophy. In recent years Cottingham has focused on the Philosophy of Religions with celebrated monographs on the nature, justification, and transformative power of religious devotion, including Why Believe? (Continuum, 2009) and How to Believe (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2016). His books also include Philosophy and the Good Life: Reason and the Passions in Greek, Cartesian and Psychoanalytic Ethics (Cambridge, 1998); On the Meaning of Life (Routledge, 2003); The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge, 2005); Cartesian Reflections (Oxford, 2008), and Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach(Cambridge, 2014). For further details see http://www.johncottingham.co.uk
In many contemporary debates religion and science are cast as rivals, supposedly offering competing explanations of the origins and nature of the cosmos. Religion often appears at a disadvantage here: given the magnificent achievements of science in uncovering the workings of nature, theistic speculations about the activities of a supposed immaterial divine agent are apt to seem radically impoverished by comparison. This paper will argue that we need a more ‘humane’ model of religious understanding, one that is responsive to the actual role played by religion in the life of the believer. Understanding the world religiously is less about subscribing to explanatory hypotheses than about a certain mode of engagement with reality, requiring a moral and spiritual transformation of the subject. This has crucial implications for the appropriate way to philosophize about religion. Instead of an ‘epistemology of control’, based on the detached evaluation of evidence, we may need to substitute an ‘epistemology of receptivity’. In religion, as in many areas of human life, authentic understanding may require a process of attunement in order for the relevant evidence to become manifest.
This lecture is a cosponsored by the Office of the Dean and the Philosophy of Religions Workshop.
Please join us in celebrating the work of Michael Fishbane (Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School) on the occasion of the release of Michael Fishbane: Jewish Hermeneutical Theology, an unprecedented encapsulation and synthesis of Fishbane's multi-faceted career of both historical and constructive theological reflection. Michael will be joined by Sam Berrin Shonkoff, Ph.D. candidate in History of Judaism at the University of Chicago Divinity School, who contributed an "intellectual portrait" to the volume.
Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago. His areas of research and interest span the history of religious texts, culture and hermeneutics, from ancient Near Eastern antiquity to modern Jewish though and theology. Among his many books are Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, Biblical Myth and Mythmaking, and The Kiss of God: Spiritual and Mystical Death in Judaism.
He is also the author of a work of contemporary theology, entitled Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology; and a comprehensive Commentary on the Song of Songs, which retrieves and renews the tradition of a four-level treatment of Scripture. His most recent work is Jewish Hermeneutical Theology, a volume in the Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers. Fishbane has been a Guggenheim Fellow and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Sam Berrin Shonkoff is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Judaism at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is currently working on his dissertation, entitled "Sacramental Existence: Embodiment in Buber's Philosophical and Hasidic Writings." Shonkoff, born and raised in Berkeley, California, holds an M.A. in Religion and Jewish Studies from the University of Toronto and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University. He also serves as the Managing Editor of The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy.
"Believing Scientists in America: Trials and Tribulations of Theistic Evolution."
Tuesday April 19 | 4:00pm meet and greet; 4:30pm lecture, Swift Common Room
A public lecture by Alain de Libéra entitled "Will and nil: Christ’s agony in the garden and other ethical dilemma's in early Christian and medieval thought."
Alain de Libéra is Professor of the History of Medieval Philosophy at the Collège de France, where his inaugural lecture was entitled Where Is Medieval Philosophy Headed? (Où va la philosophie médiévale? Leçon inaugurale prononcée le jeudi 13 février 2014 ). Prior to his election in 2012, he held the chair of the History of Medieval Philosophy at the University of Geneva. Among his earlier notable distinctions is his election in 1985 as research director of the Ve section (Sciences religieuses) of the École Pratique des Hautes Études, where he was in charge of the program Histoire des théologies chrétiennes dans l’Occident médiéval, formerly entitled Histoire des doctrines et des dogmes (Etienne Gilson), and later Histoire des théologies médiévales (Paul Vignaux and René Roques). Standing in a long and venerable tradition, Alain de Libéra has an impressive bibliography, as his publications range from studies on Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas to works on Averroism and medieval Neoplatonism as well as on the Rhineland mystics, especially Eckhart. His most recent work involves a multivolume study on the subject: Archéologie du sujet, I, Naissance du sujet, Paris 2007; Archéologie du sujet, II, La Quête de l’identité, Paris 2008; Archéologie du sujet, III, L’Acte de Penser, I : La Double révolution, Paris 2014.
Prof. De Libéra will have office hours in Swift 300B on Thursday April 21 from 1 to 430pm. In addition he will be giving a public lecture on April 26th entitled "Philosophical archeology and deconstruction: Towards an archeology of the subject." Professors Ryan Coyne and Jean-Luc Marion will offer responses.
Cosponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the Philosophy of Religions workshop, the Theology and Ethics workshop, Medieval Studies Workshop, Lumen Christi Institute, and the France Chicago Center.
The 2016 Alumnus of the Year Lecture | Thursday, April 21, 2016
Peter Iver Kaufman, (MA 1973, PhD 1975, History of Christianity), our 2016 Alumnus of the Year, will deliver the lecture.
Dr. Kaufman's lecture is entitled
“Giorgio Agamben, Meet Augustine (With an Extended Introduction to Augustine’s Statesmen)”
A reception will follow.
Peter Iver Kaufman, (MA'73, PhD'75, History of Christianity) is our 2016 Alumnus of the Year.
Kaufman is George Matthews and Virginia Brinkley Modlin Professor of Leadership Studies in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond, a position he has held since 2008. Previously he taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is Professor Emeritus. Dr. Kaufman’s scholarly work focuses on the political cultures of late antique, medieval, and early modern Europe and North Africa; he teaches leadership studies courses as well as advanced courses on political, cultural and religious leaders in late antiquity and early modern Europe.
Immediately following Professor Kaufman's lecture, a reception will be held in the Common Room.
During the reception Divinity Student Association (DSA) will unveil their 150th Anniversary Student Gift – a commissioned portrait of Benjamin Mays, MA'25, PhD'35, and the Divinity School's 1949 Alumnus of the Year.
Tuesday April 26 | 4:00 meet and greet; 4:30pm lecture, Swift Lecture Hall
A public lecture by Alain de Libéra entitled "Philosophical archeology and deconstruction: Towards an archeology of the subject."
Professors Ryan Coyne and Jean-Luc Marion will offer responses.
Cosponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the Philosophy of Religions workshop, the Theology and Ethics workshop, Medieval Studies Workshop, Lumen Christi Institute, and the France Chicago Center.
Thursday May 5 | 3-4pm, Swift Hall Room 403
"The Ambiguity of Anxiety: The Philosophical History of a Concept"
Her project at the Marty Center, a monograph entitled Anxiety: History of a Concept in 19th and 20th Century Philosophy and Psychology, traces the intellectual history of anxiety, as an idea and a sign. Aimed at an interdisciplinary readership, the book is concerned with a recurrent theme in disciplines that framed the meaning of life, embodiment, subjectivity, and indeed, intersubjectivity.
Even the so-called egalitarian and loosely structured societies known to anthropology, including hunters such as Inuit or Australian Aborigines, are in structure and practice subordinate segments of inclusive cosmic polities, ordered and governed by divinities, ancestors, species masters, and other such metapersons endowed with life and death powers over the human population. "The Mbowamb spends is whole life completely under the spell and in the company of spirits" (Vicedom and Tischner). "[Arawete] society is not complete on earth: the living are part of the global social structure founded on the alliance between heaven and earth" (Viveiros de Castro). We need something like a Copernican revolution in anthropological perspective: from human society as the center of a universe onto which it projects its own forms--that is to say, from the Durkheimian or structural-functional deceived wisdom--to the ethnographic realities of people's dependence on the encompassing life-giving and death-dealing powers, themselves of human attributes, which rule earthly order, welfare, and existence. For Hobbes notwithstanding, something like the political state is the condition of humanity in the state of nature; there are kingly beings in heaven even where there are no chiefs on earth.
Philosophy of Religions Workshops presents Jonardon Ganeri on “Why Philosophy Must Go Global”
Jonardon Ganeri is Professor of Philosophy, NYU Abu Dhabi and Global Network Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Science, NYU.
Winter Quarter 2016
Tuesday, January 26 | 4:30pm, Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
Thursday, January 28 | 4:30pm, Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
His research areas include Qur’anic Studies, medieval intellectual history of North Africa and al-Andalus, and Muslim perceptions of the Bible. He has several publications, the most recent is a critical edition of a Qur’an commentary by the Sevillan mystic Ibn Barrajan (d. 536/1141) published with Brill (TSQ Series, Oct. 2015). He is completing a study on the life and teachings of Ibn Barrajan for Cambridge University Press (March, 2016), as well as a translation and critical edition of a Philosophical-Sufi commentary on the divine names by the Algerian scholar ʿAfif al-Din al-Tilimsani (d. 1291) for the Library of Arabic Literature, NYU Press.
Born in Egypt and raised in Morocco, he is fluent in Arabic, French and Spanish. Yousef has traveled throughout the Islamic world, and has studied with Muslim scholars in Morocco, Syria, and Mauritania.
Constance Furey will present a public lecture entitled "Close Relations: The Hermeneutics of the Subject and the Poetics of Friendship”
Constance Furey (PhD'02, History of Christianity), a scholar of Renaissance and Reformation Christianity, is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, where she has taught since 2000. The emergence of new types of religious and intellectual communities was the subject her first book, Erasmus, Contarini, and the Religious Republic of Letters (Cambridge UP, 2006). She has published also on friendship and marriage; virtue and vitriolic religious debates; error, critique, and discernment; and theoretical questions of relationality and intersubjectivity. Her current book project, Crowded Interiors: A Key to the Self in English Protestant Poetry, explores the way male and female poets in early modern England re-imagined authorship, friendship, love, and marriage as sites of utopian longing and fulfillment. In this, as in her other research projects, Professor Furey is interested in thinking about how religiously motivated ideals and assumptions should be understood in relation to a host of social developments, ranging from the advent of print and new kinds of literary authority to the celebration of friendship, changing conceptions of marriage and patronage, and shifting assumptions about gender differences.
Suleyman Dost will present a public lecture entitled "The Qur’ānic Question: A Contribution to the Scholarly Debate on Qur’ānic Authorship”
Suleyman Dost is a PhD candidate in the University of Chicago Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He also holds an AM degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research interests include early Islamic history and historiography, Arabic paleography, Syriac Christianity, Classical and Late Antique Greek texts and Biblical studies. In his PhD dissertation he discusses the historical context of the Qur’ān’s origins and the background of Qur’ān’s thematic and lexical content within pre-Islamic Arabian epigraphy. To this end, he conducted research on Old South Arabian, Ancient North Arabian, Nabataean, Sinaitic, Syriac and Aramaic inscriptions from the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring areas. He also worked on the process of the Qur’ān’s canonical development during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates through the works of classicalʿulūm al-qur’ān. In addition to finalizing his dissertation, Dost is preparing an annotated translation of an early tenth-century treatise on the history of the Qur’ān titled “Kitāb al-Maṣāḥif” (The Book of Qur’ān Codices) by Ibn Abī Dāwūd (d. 929).
Thursday February 11 | 4:30pm, Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)
Nora Katharina Schmid will present a public lecture entitled “…. and not the Word of a Soothsayer!” Inspired Speech and Authoritative Knowledge in Early Qur’anic Surahs
In the early Meccan surahs, the Qur’anic revelations are clearly distinguished from other forms of inspired speech prevalent in the milieu of the Qur’an – notably poetry and oracular pronouncements. Several times, the reproach that the Prophet employs the rhetoric of a poet (shāʿir) or a soothsayer (kāhin) is rejected. One can thus catch a glimpse of an intensive debate on the source of authoritative knowledge. In the workshop, the figure of the pre-Islamic soothsayer and his pronouncements will be considered in light of pre-Islamic epigraphic material and Islamic traditional reports transmitted in texts of the Abbasid era. In a second step, the Qur’an’s resonance with and rejection of this kind of inspired speech will be examined before the background of an eschatological “turn”.
Nora Katharina Schmid is a research associate of the Collaborative Research Center 980 “Episteme in Motion. Transfer of Knowledge from the Ancient World to the Early Modern Period” at Freie Universität Berlin. Nora Schmid’s research interests include the Qur’an, Arabic asceticism and the intellectual and literary traditions of pre-Islamic Arabia. She is currently co-editing a collective volume entitled “Denkraum Spätantike. Szenarien der Reflexion von Antiken im Umfeld des Koran” (forthcoming in 2016), in which Late Antiquity is re-thought as an epistemic space encompassing the Qur’an and early Islamic intellectual culture. Nora Schmid has also written a number of articles – among them “Lot’s Wife: Late Antique Paradigms of Sense and the Qur’ān”. She has studied Arabic and French languages and literatures in Mainz, Berlin and Paris. From 2007 to 2012 she was a researcher of the Corpus Coranicum project (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities), contributing to a historical-critical and literary commentary on the Qur’an.
East Asian Lecture Series
Professor Peter Gregory, the Jill Ker Conway of Professor Emeritus of Religion and East Asian Studies of Smith College, will present a public lecture on "Bridging the Gap:
Zongmi’s Strategies for Reconciling Textual Study and Meditative Practice."
Monday, February 29 | 4:30pm, Swift Lecture Hall
Christoph Markschies will present a public lecture entitled "Chenoboskion Library or Nag Hammadi Library? Gnosticism after ‘dismantling a dubious category.’”
Markschies holds the Harnack Chair of Church History (Ancient Christianity) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where he also served as President from 2006-2010. Prof. Markschies studied Theology, Classics, and Philosophy in Marburg, Jerusalem, and Munich, and received his doctorate (1991) and Habilitation (1994) from the University of Tübingen. The recipient of multiple honorary doctorates, his many publications include seminal studies of such key figures as Valentinus, Origen and Ambrosius. Prof. Markschies is the Vice-President of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and a member of the Academy of Erfurt and Heidelberg, the European Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Akademia Europea.
Tuesday March 8 | 4:30 - 6 pm Swift Lecture Hall
Frances Robinson, Mellon Islamic Studies Initatives Visiting Professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations will give a public lecture entitled "On the Building of Islamic Societies from Below Since 1800."
Professor of the History of South Asia at the University of London Francis Robinson (Trinity College, Cambridge PhD, 1970), is one of the most prominent and influential voices among Western scholars of Muslim history and Islam in India. His research on Islam and Muslim history in South Asia focuses on Muslim responses to modernity, learned and holy families and their textual traditions, and religious and political change. His interest in the Muslim world, however, is not confined to the Indian subcontinent, but spans a much wider geographical region and discursive landscape.
The Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative is a three-year project, designed to support the expansion and enhancement of the study of Islam at the University of Chicago. Administered by the Divinity School, the initiative is a cross-divisional collaboration, intended to create a sustained campus conversation about the future of Islamic studies.
Funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the initiative brings to the University distinguished visiting scholars representing a wide range of topics in Islamic Studies, resulting in a substantive, sustained discussion about both specific topics in Islamic studies and the wider field of study.
Read more about the initiative at http://misi.uchicago.edu.
Spring Quarter 2015
"Diversifying Theological Education"
by Stephen Lewis, President of the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly Fund for Theological Education).
The event is open to the entire Divinity School community of faculty, students, and staff and it welcomes participants from the broader University of Chicago campus.
The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) is a leadership incubator that inspires young people to make a difference in the world through Christian communities. Since our founding in 1954, FTE has provided resources, events, networks, grants and fellowships to cultivate tomorrow's leaders, pastors and theological educators. FTE provides a forum through which gifted, purposeful students, young adults and partners explore their passion, purpose and call."
Sponsored by the Divinity School and the Diversity Committee of the Academic Policy Committee
East Asian Studies Public Lecture by Carl Bielefeldt
The Divinity School's 2015 Alumna of the Year Lecture
"Grandmother Language: A Chicagoan Sojourn with Women, Sanskrit and The Ethnography of Reading"
by Laurie L. Patton
Thursday April 23 | 4:30pm | Swift Lecture Hall
Dean Laurie L. Patton (AM 1986, PhD 1991 in the History of Religions area) is the 2015 Divinity School Alumna of the Year.
Dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University, the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion, and Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Patton is an accomplished scholar and the author or editor of eight books on South Asian history, culture and religion. In addition to two monographs on early Indian mythology and ritual, she has published two books of poetry, Fire’s Goal: Poems from a Hindu Year (2003) and Angel’s Task (2011). She also translated the classical Sanskrit text The Bhagavad Gita (2008) for the Penguin Classics Series. In 1996 she coedited Myth and Method with Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions.
Buddhist Studies Group present H.E. Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche
Friday, April 25 | 10am | Common Room
H. E. Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche is well known for his role as a politician and prominent scholar of Buddhism. He has acted as principal and director of the Central University for Tibetan Studies at Varanasi, India, formerly the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS), since 1971. A close associate of the 14th Dalai Lama, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche was elected in 2001 as the Kalon Tripa, or Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile based incDharamsala, India and held this office until 2011.
Refreshments will be served.
The Construction of Mestizaje in Colonial Latin America: A Partial Story
by Néstor Medina
Thursday, January 29 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Néstor Medina is Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent University, School of Divinity, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His research focuses on multiple points of intersection between culture, theological knowledge and religious practices among Latinas/os in the US, Canada, and Latin America. Professor Medina is the author of Mestizaje: Remapping Race, Culture, and Faith in Latina/o Catholicism (Orbis 2009) and co-editor of Theology and the Crisis of Engagement: Essays on the Relationship between Theology and the Social Sciences (Pickwick, 2013). He is currently at work on two monographs: “Humanity, Culture and the Spirit,” and a second on Latina/o theological method. Professor Medina received his PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto.
Hermits and Zen: Solitary and Communal Practice in China
by Bill Porter
Friday January 30 | 4:30 pm | Swift Common Room
Bill Porter, aka Red Pine, is one of the premier translators of traditional Chinese poetry and Buddhist writings and an expert on Buddhism in contemporary China.
The search for spiritual fulfillment has been at the core of Chinese civilization ever since it began 5,000 years ago. Spending time alone or with a like-minded group, usually in the mountains, has been an essential part of all three of China’s major spiritual traditions from their very beginning, and it continues to be so today. In his visit to the University, Bill Porter will give a talk and slide presentation focusing on China’s hermit tradition and the tradition that has become known as Zen. Mr. Porter will be basing his talk on interviews and personal experiences as recorded in his books Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits and Zen Baggage, which have sold nearly 300,000 copies in their Chinese translations.
Cosponsored by the China Committee of the Center for East Asian Studies.
’Dangerous Merchandize’: Religion and Enslavement in the English Atlantic World
by Linford D. Fisher
"Image and Agency in Benjamin's Late Work"
by Brian Britt
Friday, February 6 | 4:30pm | Swift 106
"Strange Israelites”: Mobility, Anonymity, and Religion in America
by Shari L. Rabin
Monday, February 9 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Shari L. Rabin is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies at Yale University. Her research explores American religious cultures and communities, especially as they are constituted through and in relation to economics, media, and concepts of space. Ms. Rabin’s dissertation, “Manifest Jews: Mobility and the Making of American Judaism, 1820-1877,” rewrites the history of American Judaism in the 19th century through an analysis of Jews who were far flung from urban or diasporic centers, highlighting the central role of pragmatic moderates who responded to the challenges of religious life in a mobile continent. She is the author of articles in Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation and Nashim: The Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues.
Jewish, Christian, Greek? The Apocalypse of Peter as a Witness of Early Second Century Christianity in Alexandria
by Tobias Nicklas
Monday, February 16 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Tobias Nicklas is Professor of New Testament in the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Regensburg, Germany. His research and teaching encompass the New Testament and Early Christianity, with particular interests in the Gospel of John, the Book of Revelation, early Christian Apocrypha, the development of the New Testament canon and its reception-history, and manuscript studies. Professor Nicklas is author or co-author of five monographs, including Ablösung und Verstrickung: “Juden” und Jüngergestalten als Charaktere der erzählten Welt des Johannesevangeliums und ihre Wirkung auf den impliziten Leser (2001) and, most recently, Jews and Christians? Second Century ‘Christian’ Perspectives on the ‘Parting of the Ways’ (Tübingen 2014). He has published (with Thomas J. Kraus) a textual edition and translation of the Greek fragments of the Gospel of Peter and the Apocalypse of Peter (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller, 2004), and is the co-editor of 20 volumes on a variety of topics, including (also with Thomas J. Kraus) Early Christian Manuscripts: Examples of Applied Methods and Approaches (Brill, 2010).
Professor Nicklas is currently working on commentaries on The Gospel of Peter (Kommentare zur apokryphen Literatur, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) and 2 Thessalonians (Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), and the edited volume, Handbuch zu Tod und Jenseits im frühen Christentum und seiner Umwelt. Professor Nicklas is the series editor of Deuterocanonical and Cognate Literature Studies and serves on the editorial boards of Novum Testamentum Patristicum and Kommentare zur apokryphen Literatur. He completed his doctorate and Habilitation at the University of Regensburg.
Shenoute the Great (347-465) and the Invention of Early Christian Literature: Making an Author
by David Brakke
Monday, February 23 | 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
David Brakke is Joe R. Engle Chair in the History of Christianity and Professor of History, The Ohio State University. Professor Brakke’s research and teaching address the history and literature of early Christianity from its origins through the fifth century, with a particular focus on asceticism (embodied practices of spiritual discipline), scripture (the writing, dissemination, limitation, and promotion of authoritative literature) and “Gnosticism.” Much of his research has been concerned with Christianity in Roman Egypt as the setting for asking questions about cultural exchange, center and periphery in an empire, multilingualism, and religious transformation. Professor Brakke is the author of three monographs: The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual, and Diversity in Early Christianity (Harvard University Press, 2010); Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity (Harvard University Press, 2006) and Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism (Oxford University Press, 1995). He has produced critical editions of texts and annotated translations of early Christian works in Coptic and Syriac, including selected works of Shenoute (with Andrew T. Crislip, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2015), Evagrius of Pontus (Liturgical Press, 2009) and Pseudo-Athanasius (Peeters, 2002). In addition to many co-edited volumes, such as Invention, Rewriting, Usurpation: Discursive Fights over Religious Traditions in Antiquity (Peter Lang, 2012), Professor Brakke has served as editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies from 2005-2015. Among his current research projects are The Gospel of Judas: A New Translation and Commentary (to be published by Yale University Press), and a monograph, Scriptural Practices in Ancient Christianity. Professor Brakke holds the PhD from Yale University (Department of Religious Studies) and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School.
"Defending the Milieu in Global Palestine"
by John Collins, Professor of Global Studies, St. Lawrence University
"The Dead Sea Scrolls and Judaism Today"
The 2015 Jerald Brauer Lecture
by James L. Kugel
Tuesday March 17 | 4:30 pm | Swift Lecture Hall
A specialist in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Kugel is the author of more than eighty research articles and fifteen books, including The Idea of Biblical Poetry, In Potiphar’s House, On Being a Jew, and The Bible As It Was (the winner of the Grawemeyer Prize in Religion in 2001). His more recent books include The God of Old, The Ladder of Jacob, How to Read the Bible, awarded the National Jewish Book Award for the best book of 2007, In the Valley of the Shadow, and A Walk Through Jubilees. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, and Editor-in-chief of Jewish Studies: an Internet Journal.
Cosponsored by The Divinity School and the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies.