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Senior faculty featured in Summer Term Theological Update course

For the first time this year, Summer Term at Sterling Divinity Quadrangle will feature a special two-day course, Theological Update, taught by six senior YDS and Institute of Sacred Music faculty members: Harold Attridge, dean of Yale Divinity School and the Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament; Margaret Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics; Margot Fassler, the Robert Tangeman Professor of Music History and Liturgy at YDS, ISM and the School of Music; Emilie Townes, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology; Miroslav Volf, director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology; and Robert Wilson, Hoober Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Old Testament.

This intensive June 20-21 course is designed to offer an overview of contemporary developments in several critical theological disciplines. Five sessions, taught by different members of the Yale Divinity faculty, will be devoted to various aspects of the contemporary theological scene. The course will be particularly helpful for participants who would like to refresh their knowledge of scripture, systematic theology, history, ethics, and practical theology.

Attridge's segment of the course will examine how several new discoveries of ancient manuscripts in recent years have benefited New Testament studies, even as there have been important shifts in the way in which scholars have read parables of Jesus and elements of Pauline theology. A much sought-after commentator on the novel The DaVinci Code during the past several years, Attridge is general editor of the revised edition of The HarperCollins Study Bible, 2006 and a former president of the Society of Biblical Literature. His areas of specialization are New Testament exegesis, the study of Hellenistic Judaism, and the history of the early Church.

Farley will focus on developments in contemporary ethical theory particularly as related to research she has done in medical and sexual ethics. She has just published a book on sexual ethics, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, and she is co-director of the Yale University Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project. She is a past president of the Society of Christian Ethics and the Catholic Theological Society of America. She is the recipient of eleven honorary degrees, the John Courtney Murray Award for Excellence in Theology, and a Luce Fellowship in Theology.

Fassler, whose special fields of study are medieval and American sacred music and the liturgy of the Latin Middle Ages, will explore history, liturgy and the arts in the context of Western Christian tradition. In particular, she will consider how, in recent decades, the riches of Christian artistic and liturgical traditions have increasingly been brought to bear on our understanding of how Christian communities knew the texts of scripture and embodied their meanings within both collective and individual experience.

Townes, president-elect of the American Academy of Religion, will explore some of the biblical and theological roots of evil, and how humanity thinks about evil in the 21 st century. Townes's teaching and general research interests focus on Christian ethics, womanist ethics, critical social theory, cultural theory and studies, as well as on postmodernism and social postmodernism.

Volf plans to address ongoing debates in: political theology; the relation between Christian convictions and practices; Trinitarian theology; questions of struggle for justice and reconciliation; and the rediscovery of generosity in theology. A prolific writer, Volf's most recent books include Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (2006), the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lenten book for 2006; Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (1996), a winner of the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; and After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award.

Wilson's section of the course will address three specific topics: Wellhausen Revisited: New Perspectives on he Pentateuch; Innerbiblical Interpretation and the Formation of the Prophetic Books ; and Nothing Early and Everything Late: The Old Testament as a Scribal Artifact. Wilson's areas of academic interest include Israelite prophecy, the Deuteronomistic history, and ancient Israelite religion in its social and cultural context. He has been a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Religion, the HarperCollins Study Bible, and the Anchor Bible Dictionary. He has served as chair of the Society of Biblical Literature's Social Roles of Prophecy in Israel Group, and as Old Testament editor of the SBL dissertation series.

On Wednesday, June 20 the course will meet 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and, on Thursday, June 21, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.


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