For some, Summer Term 2010 is a second bite at the apple

By Frank Brown, Assistant Director, Publications

When Mary Grace Williams ’88 M.Div. enrolled in Yale Divinity School’s Summer Term in 2008, she was “looking for a relatively easy and entertaining class where I could just sit back and take in what I wanted.” Instead, Williams, an Episcopal priest in Wilton, CT, discovered something much different in Julie Faith Parker’s, “The Bible Through Art and Artifact.”

JFP“I was amazingly surprised by her class, which I not only found compelling, but also caused me to look at scripture in new and exciting ways,” recalls Williams, who is returning to YDS this June for a continuation of Parker’s course being offered as part of the three-week Summer Term 2010.

It was the enthusiasm of students like Williams that prompted Parker to add “The Bible Through Art and Artifact II,” building on an approach that takes students out of the classroom to use resources at Yale museums to bring the Bible to life. “One of the visits takes us to the Yale Babylonian Collection,” explains Parker, who  “Here we not only see – but hold – artifacts that are four and five thousand years old.  Usually only trained Assyriologists would be able to handle such treasured items, but Yale makes these accessible to our class.”

Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology Denys Turner, a popular teacher with a quick wit who came to YDS via Cambridge University in 2005, is teaching “Sin and the Love of God in Julian of Norwich's A Revelation of Love” during the first week of Summer Term 2010. Turner reckons that the 14th-century writings of Julian of Norwich are enjoying a distinct popularity today. Why? “She is an honest theologian,” says Turner. “I mean, she doesn't think you have to solve all the problems, especially the problem of sin: in fact she definitely thinks you ought not to pretend to solve that problem, and that you have to live a life of faith and love without any more solution than Jesus had, who asked his father as he was dying why he had been abandoned, and died without an answer.”

DTParker and Turner are just two of the teachers offering stimulating courses during Summer Term 2010, which runs over three week-long sessions from June 7 to 25, in areas ranging from theology, history, Scripture,  art &literature, music & liturgy, to contemporary issues.

Some of the other 24 courses include “Getting a Word In: Writing about Faith,” taught by Ray Waddle, an award-winning author and the editor of YDS’s Reflections magazine; “Family Matters in the Canonical Paul: A Sampler from 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Philemon, and the Pastoral Epistles,” taught by YDS New Testament scholar Judith Gundry; and, “Pop Goes Religion,” by Richard Lindsay ’04 M.Div., a doctoral candidate studying the intersection of religion and popular culture.

This year, for the first time, registration and payment are both available online, as well as by phone, 203-432-6550. May 15 is the registration deadline. After that, classes with insufficient enrollment may be cancelled. The program is presented jointly by the Yale Divinity School, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. It takes place on the YDS campus and overlaps during the second and third weeks with the city's International Festival of Arts and Ideas.