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Public Lectures and Events, Winter Quarter 2019



Monday, February 18, 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Julia Snyder: "Paul and Hidden Particularity: One Size Fits All?" 

Originally from Upper Michigan, Julia Snyder is currently Research Fellow in New Testament and Early Christianity at the Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Regensburg, Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and studied previously at Williams College and Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary. Her research interests include storytelling practices in the early Christian movement, especially in stories about the apostles, and methodological reflection on what it means to ask about "Christianness" in the ancient world. She is co-chair of the Society of Biblical Literature Seminar on the Construction of "Christian Identities" and the International SBL Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha section.


Wednesday, February 20, 12:15pm | Swift Common ROom
Wednesday Lunch featuring Jenny Trinitapoli

Wednesday Lunch program with Jenny Trinitapoli, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Associated Faculty in the Divinity School.  RSVP beforehand to divinitylunch@gmail.com.

Jenny Trinitapoli is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Associated Faculty in the Divinity School. Professor Trinitapoli's training and background is in two areas: social demography and the sociology of religion. Bridging these two fields, her work features the demographer’s characteristic concern with data and denominators and an insistence on connecting demographic processes to questions of meaning. She's written extensively on the role of religion in the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but religion permeates her research, even when it isn’t present as a variable. Since 2008 she has been the principal investigator of Tsogolo la Thanzi (TLT)—an ongoing longitudinal study of young adults in Malawi. 

Thursday, February 21,  4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Erin Galgay Walsh:  "Emboldened Speech, Embodied Voices: New Testament Women in Syriac and Greek Poetry”

Erin Galgay Walsh is a PhD candidate in Early Christianity, Duke University. Her research focuses on the New Testament and early Christianity with a specialization in Syriac language and literature. In her dissertation, she examines the reception of female biblical figures from the New Testament in Syriac and Greek liturgical poetry. Her interests include the history of Biblical interpretation, asceticism, religion and literature, and women and gender within the ancient world. She holds a BA in Classics and an MA in Theology from Boston College as well as an MTS from Duke Divinity School. For the 2018-2019 academic year she is a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection of Harvard University. 

Thursday, February 28, 5:15pm | Swift Lecture Hall
Public Lecture by Paul DeHart"Being, Nature, Grace: Clashing Visions in Milbank and Aquinas."

Paul DeHart is Professor of Theology at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. He holds an MA from Yale Divinity School and a PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research interests center on the problem of God, especially the doctrine of the Trinity, and the dogmatic and philosophical issues involved in theorizing the relation of God to the created order. Prof. Dehart has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, and is author of Aquinas and Radical Orthodoxy: A Critical Inquiry and The Trial of the Witness: The Rise and Decline of Postliberal Theology. This event is cosponsored by the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, the Theology Club, and the Lumen Christi Institute. 


Wednesday, January 23, 12:15pm | Swift Common Room

Wednesday Lunch program with Kim Sasser and Jeffrey Turco, the 2018-2019 Martin Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion's Senior Fellows.  RSVP beforehand to divinitylunch@gmail.com.

Kim Sasser is an Associate Professor at Wheaton College, where she has taught and published on magical realism, postcolonial literature, and global Anglophone literatures. She's working on a project called Texts and Tongues: Literature in Pentecostal Perspective, which explores literature and literary theory in relation to Pentecostalism/charismatic Christianity and its historical analogues. 

Jeffrey Turco is Associate Professor of German, Religious Studies, and Comparative Literature at Purdue University.  His scholarship has examined questions of religious conflict, conversion, and co-existence, particularly at the intersection of the Germanic cultures of Europe and medieval Christianity. In the Marty Center he's working on a project focused on the intersection of religious, literary, and proverbial language in Grimms’ Children’s and Household Tales.

Wednesday, January 23, 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Sarah Pierce Taylor: "Rethinking Nonviolence: The Spiritual and Emotional Lives of Animals in Jain Literature"

Sarah Pierce Taylor, Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions, Department of Religions and Culture, Concordia University, on: "Rethinking Nonviolence: The Spiritual and Emotional Lives of Animals in Jain Literature." Sarah Pierce Taylor is an Assistant Professor of South Asian Religions at Concordia University. She received her Ph.D. in 2016 from the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and previously taught at Oberlin and Mount Holyoke Colleges. Taylor’s research focuses on gender and emotion in premodern religion in South India. In particular, her current book project, “Embodying Souls: Emotion, Gender, and Animality in Premodern South Asian Religion," considers the soteriological tension in Jainism to both experience and to escape the pleasures of the body. The book argues that Deccani Jain authors produced a body of medieval literature in which embodiment was understood to be internal to and even necessary for Jain religious experience.


Monday, January 28, 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Marko Geslani: "From Weber to Varāha: Toward as Astrological Hinduism"

Marko Geslani, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of South Carolina, on "From Weber to Varāha: Toward an Astrological Hinduism.  " Marko Geslani is a historian of religion specializing in ritual studies and medieval Hinduism. His first book, Rites of the God-King: Śānti and Ritual Change in Early Hinduism (OUP 2018), forms a historiographic critique of Hinduism through a history of omen-appeasement (śānti) rituals, from late Vedic ritual manuals to medieval Hindu purāṇas. His current research explores the role of the astrological tradition (jyotiḥśāstra) on the problems of personhood and state formation in early Hinduism. He is also researching the recent history of Hindu studies in the North American Academy from the perspective of Asian American studies.

Thursday, January 31, 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Michael Benjamin Cover: "Philo of Alexandria and the Construction of Christian Orthodoxies"

Michael Benjamin Cover is Assistant Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity in the Theology Department at Marquette University. For the 2018-2019 academic year, he is an Alexander von Humboldt Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, where he is completing a commentary on Philo of Alexandria’s allegorical treatise, De mutatione nominum. He has published scholarly articles in a variety of journals, including New Testament StudiesHarvard Theological Review, the Journal of Biblical Literature, and the Studia Philonica Annual. His first book, Lifting the Veil: 2 Cor 3:7-18 in Light of Jewish Homiletic and Commentary Traditions (De Gruyter, 2015), examines Paul's biblical interpretation in the Corinthian Correspondence. Current research interests include the study of echoes of classical tragedy and comedy in the New Testament. An Episcopal priest, he is also a member of the Anglican–Roman Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue in the United States.


Monday, February 4, 10:45am | Quadrangle Club

Uncovering a Legacy of Abuse in the Catholic Church. Cosponsored with the Institute of Politics. A conversation with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Registration required.


Monday, February 4, 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Jeff Jay:  “In the Lap of Jesus: The Hermeneutics of Love, Sex, and Eros in John’s Portrayal of the Beloved Disciple”

Jeff Jay is Lecturer in New Testament and Early Christian Literature, the University of Chicago Divinity School. His teaching and research focus on early Jewish and Christian literature in their original languages and especially in terms of their context in Second Temple Judaism and Greek and Roman literature, religion, and philosophy. His interests also extend to the history of Biblical interpretation, the history of religions, religion and literature, the history of sex and sexuality, and philosophical hermeneutics. Professor Jay is the author of The Tragic in Mark(HUTh 66; Mohr Siebeck, 2014). He has also published articles in the Journal of Early Christian StudiesJournal for the Study of JudaismJournal of Ancient JudaismContexticon of New Testament LanguageT&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism,and Feasting on the Gospels--Luke, Vol. 1.

His current writing and research focus on the hermeneutics of love, eros, and sex in The Gospel According to John in light of the sexual and erotic topography in ancient Mediterranean cultures.

Monday, February 4, 6pm at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore




Reflections on Religion in Public Life
with Martin E. Marty, Willemien Otten, Richard Rosengarten, and Brett Colassaco




Tuesday, February 5, 5:30pm | Logan Center for the Arts
"Religion, Identity, and the Construction of Faith"

The Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge invites you to a discussion about the past, present, and future of belief. Join award-winning writer and commentator Reza Aslan (author of Beyond Fundamentalism), controversial philosopher of science and culture Daniel Dennett (author of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon), and respected religious ethicist William Schweiker for a conversation that will take the long view on religion as a human enterprise: its history, its power, and its prospects. We hope to bring believers, critics, and everyone in between into a productive—and provocative—dialogue about the place of faith in our changing world. Moderated by David Nirenberg, Dean of the Divinity School and Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought. Cosponsored by the Martin Marty Center for teh Public Understanding of Religion, the Divinity School, and campus partners. 

Wednesday, February 6, 12:15pm | Swift Common Room

Wednesday Lunch program cohosted with the Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion! The quarterly Dean's Seminar, with Ellen Haskell on “Teaching and the Academy”.  RSVP beforehand to divinitylunch@gmail.com.

This seminar explores strategies for effective teaching within institutional constraints. When prerequisites are not practical, how do you prevent every course from feeling like an introduction? How do you find the intersections with students’ experiences that make a course relevant to those who know little to nothing about the topic? What considerations define expectations for introductory versus advanced courses? And finally, how do you decide what courses to offer when you are the only faculty member at your institution teaching in your field?

The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design, institutional context, and leadership in higher education. RSVP:  divinitylunch@gmail.com .

Prof. Ellen Haskell is Director of Jewish Studies and the Herman & Zelda Bernard Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at UNCG. Educated at the University of Chicago Divinity School and the University of Michigan, her field of expertise is the study of Jewish mysticism, with special emphasis on classical Kabbalah and Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Splendor). She is the author of two monographs, Mystical Resistance: Uncovering the Zohar’s Conversations with Christianity (Oxford, 2016) and Suckling at My Mother’s Breasts: The Image of a Nursing God in Jewish Mysticism (SUNY, 2012). Haskell received an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship to develop Mystical Resistance. Her research interests include Jewish mysticism’s relationship to its cultural environments, Jewish responses to Christianity, and Jewish religious imagery, especially that which incorporates gender and teachings on the human body.

Monday, February 11, 4:30pm | Swift Common Room
Public Lecture by Anand Venkatkrishnan: "Love in the Time of Scholarship: Religious Intellectuals in Early Modern India"

A public lecture by Anand Venkatkrishnan, Preceptor in Sanskrit, Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University: "Love in the Time of Scholarship: Religious Intellectuals in Early Modern India." Anand Venkatkrishnan’s book in progress, “Love in the Time of Scholarship,” examines the relationship of bhakti, religion as lived affect, with philosophy as intellectual practice. It also demonstrates how vernacular ways of knowing pushed through the glass ceiling of Sanskrit intellectuality. His research at large concerns the social history of intellectual life, not only in early modern India, but also in the modern scholarly study of Hinduism.


Wednesday, February 13, 12:15pm | Swift Common Room
Wednesday Lunch featuring Susan Schreiner

Wednesday Lunch program with Susan Screiner, Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology, interviewed by PhD Candidate Mark Lambert.  RSVP beforehand to divinitylunch@gmail.com.

Susan Schreiner is an historian of early modern Europe (14-16th centuries). Her research and teaching interests include the Protestant Reformation, early modern Catholicism, and the Renaissance; in addition, her teaching interests extend to twentieth-century Protestant theologians. Her first book, The Theater of His Glory, examined John Calvin’s understanding of creation, providence, and the created order. Her second book, Where Shall Wisdom be Found? Calvin’s exegesis of Job from medieval and Modern Perspectives analyzes the history of the interpretation of Job in such figures as Gregory the Great, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and modern figures such as Jung, MacLeish, and Kafka. Her most recent book, Are You Alone Wise? The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era, focuses on the various epistemological and theological debates from Ockham to Shakespeare, including Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Münzter, Franck, Hubmaier, Teresa of Avila, Montaigne and Shakespeare.

Professor Schreiner was a 2018 recipient of a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring.


Wednesday, February 13, 5pm | Swift Lecture Hall
Public Lecture by Elizabeth A. Cecil: "Building Hinduism in the Land of the Khmer: From Liṅga Mountain to Prosperous Lord"

Elizabeth A. Cecil, Assistant Professor, Religions of South & Southeast Asia, Florida State University, on "Building Hinduism in the Land of the Khmer: From Liṅga Mountain to Prosperous Lord." Elizabeth A. Cecil is a historian of South and Southeast Asian religions with Sanskrit and Hindi as her primary research languages. Her forthcoming monograph—Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early North India (Brill, 2019) — examines the intersections of religion, politics, and place-making in Early Medieval India. Focusing on the geographic expansion of a religious community called the Pāśupatas, devotees of the Hindu deity Śiva, this project uses narratives, built landscapes, inscriptions, and icons to explore religion as spatial and material practice. With her new projects, she investigates the dynamics of transregional religious networks in early South and Southeast Asia and the use of material media—ranging from monumental temples and inscribed columns to votive sculptures and pocket-sized shrines— to communicate political aspirations and religious ideologies. Her materially grounded work is supported by field research in India, Nepal, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

Wednesday, February 13, 5pm | Swift 106
Public Lecture by Jeffrey Stackert: “Identifying Compositional Strata in the Pentateuchal Deuteronomic Source: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations”

StackertJeffrey Stackert is Director of MA Studies and Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible; also in the College and the Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies; Associate Faculty in the Department of Classics and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. 

The lecture opens the 3rd Annual Chicago-Yale Pentateuch Colloquium, a forum for faculty and advanced students from around the world to present works in progress and discuss the narrative problems of the Pentateuch and their source-critical solutions.

Persons with a disability who need an accomodation to attend a Divinity School event, please call Suzanne Riggle in advance: 773-702-8219.