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2008 Convocation Lectures*

Lyman Beecher Lectures • Renita J. Weems

Biblical Scholar/Author/Minister

Preaching Against the Grain: Recovering the Voices of Those from the Underside of History

      I. Preaching from the "Underside" of the Book of Jeremiah: Gods, Goddesses, and Matters of


     II. Preaching from the "Underside" of the Book of Samuel: David, Jonathan, and Justice

    III. Preaching from the "Underside" of the Gospels:  Jesus, Zealots, and Tax collectors

Rev. Dr. Renita J. Weems is passionate about her vocation as a teacher of spiritual insight. Whether it’s through the books and articles she writes, the sermons she preaches, the classes she teaches, the workshops and seminars she gives, or the lectures she offers, she understands her work as that of a midwife of inner wisdom, helping women and men tap into the inner wisdom and the spiritual intelligence they already possess. Ordained an elder in the Methodist tradition, Weems has written about the waxing and waning of faith all believers endure on the spiritual journey. Weems earned her undergraduate degree (BA) from Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA, and her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. Weems taught from 1987 to  2004 on the divinity faculty at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN as a professor of Hebrew Bible. She served as the William and Camille Cosby Visiting Professor of Humanities at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA from 2003to 2005. Weems writes a popular bi-monthly e-column for www.beliefnet.org which focuses on matters of love and relationships, self-esteem, career, spirituality, and opportunities for change.  She is especially proud of her newest online project, “Something Within Blog” (www.somethingwithin.com/blog/), which allows her to provide commentary on and to keep in touch with readers interested in exploring women’s values and who are interested in conversations about faith, love, gender, justice, inner wisdom, and other topics of interest to thinking women of faith.


Shaffer Lectures • Christopher Rowland

Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, Queens College, University of Oxford

From Impulse Not From Rules: the Life, Character, and Teachings of Jesus in the Light of the Prophecy, Poetry and Art of William Blake

      I. William Blake on the Life and teaching of Jesus
     II. Seeing the Christ: Imagining the Life and Teaching of Jesus in Images

    III. Antinomianism and the Forgiveness of Sins: Perspectives on Neglected Themes in the Gospels

         and the New Testament


Christopher Rowland is Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture in the University of Oxford and Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford, a post he has held since 1991. He comes from Doncaster in the north of England and was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he was a contemporary of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  He graduated with first class honors in theology. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the origins of Jewish mysticism and its impact on Christian origins. His first university appointment was as lecturer in religious studies (with special responsibility for New Testament studies) at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1974-1979). This was followed by a period as fellow and dean of Jesus College, Cambridge and University Lecturer in Divinity, University of Cambridge  (1979 –1991). His research and writing has been concerned with the history of apocalypticism. He has a long-standing interest in Latin American liberation theology and was for a decade chair of Christian Aid’s Latin American and Caribbean Committee, which was the British churches development work in Latin America. [[[[He has also written on non-conformist radicalism in Christianity. He is completing a book on William Blake and the Bible study on the importance of Jewish mysticism and apocalypticism for the study of the New Testament (with Christopher Morray-Jones).]]]


Aidan J. Kavanagh Lecture (ISM)Robert F. Taft, S.J.

Professor Emeritus of Oriental Liturgy, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome

Mrs. Murphy Goes to Moscow: Kavanagh, Schmemann, and the "Byzantine Synthesis"


Robert F. Taft, S.J., born in Providence, RI (USA) Jan. 9, 1932, is a Jesuit priest ordained in the Byzantine Slavonic (Russian) Rite in 1963. He is founder and editor-in-chief of Anaphorae Orientales, and Professor-emeritus of Oriental Liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, where he served as Vice-Rector from December 20, 1995-April 29, 2001. He received there his doctorate in 1970, followed in 1971-72 by postdoctoral studies in Oriental Philology at the University of Louvain, Belgium. He has also served as Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of the University of Notre Dame since 1974. A prolific writer, the bibliography of his publications and writings comprises over 800 works, written in English, French, and Italian, mostly scholarly publications on Eastern Liturgy, including 21 books, two of them co-authored, plus seven others edited in collaboration with other authors. His writings have been translated into seventeen different languages.  Fr. Taft also serves as Consultor for Liturgy of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and is a member of several Vatican commissions and other editorial and advisory boards.In recognition of his work, Fr. Taft has received numerous academic awards, including three honorary doctorates, and several ecclesiastical honors. In 2001, he was elected Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, the highest honor the Academy confers in recognition of scholarly distinction. He is the only American Jesuit ever to be so honored.


Francis X. Cheney Lecture (BDS) • Krista Tippett '94 M.Div.

Host of the weekly public radio program, Speaking of Faith

Religion, Media, and Public Life in the 21st Century


Krista Tippett is a journalist, former diplomat, and creator of the Peabody Award-winning weekly public radio program, Speaking of Faith.  She is the author of Speaking of Faith – Why Religion Matters and How to Talk About It.  Tippett wrote and reported for international media in divided Berlin in the 1980s and later served as a special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to West Germany.  She received an M.Div. from YDS/Berkeley in 1994.  She has produced and hosted her radio program at American Public Media since its inception as an occasional series in 2000.  Speaking of Faith has been called “the most intelligent and inquisitive program on religion anywhere on the air” and is now heard globally via podcast and internet and on over 200 public radio stations in the U.S.


*Please note, seating at all events will be limited and offered on a first come first served basis. We will try to accommodate everyone as best we can. Thank you in advance for your help and patience with this process.

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