Issuu on Google+

CIRCA News from the University of Chicago Divinity School

“Do any of you know what a land grant university is?” Thus began the inaugural Craft of Teaching seminar that took place in January, presented by M. Cooper Harriss, Ph.D. 2011 (Religion and Literature), Visiting Assistant Professor of Race and Religion, Department of

Religion and Culture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. The new series is meant to highlight for current students across our degree programs the range of institutional contexts and programs within which religion is taught in American and international higher education, and to focus their attention and reflection on pedagogical goals, educational design, and anticipated and unanticipated outcomes in the academic study of religion. Each of the Craft of Teaching seminars is to be conducted by one of our alumni or another accomplished educator who is invited to hold a seminar in Swift Hall on their courses and their context in the study of religion. After a brief introduction to the foundation of land grant colleges in America by the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, to focus on agriculture, science and technology alongside “classical studies,” and to Virginia Tech in particular, Professor Harriss described his course on “Religion in American Life,” and the serious pedagogical reflection he had given — both in the planning stages and as the class proceeded — to the purposes of this class for students, the vast majority of whom, he was quite sure, would never take another course in religion in their lives. Those who arrived at his class on the first day found a syllabus with a “Course Introduction and Aims” that begins, “Paradoxically, the United States — a nation whose founding documents specifically and deliberately forbid official religious establishment — is distinguished by its status as arguably the most ‘religious’ of Western nations. This course introduces students to the impact of religion as an idea, and of specific religious systems, beliefs, and practices, in American society and culture through the course of its history.” Ph.D. graduates of the University of Chicago Divinity School are currently teaching in the entire range of educational institutions and programs in the United States and abroad where “religion”— under various local designations — is taught. This includes private research universities, state universities, liberal arts colleges, seminaries, Universityrelated Divinity Schools, and other institutions of higher education. Divinity School

Letter from the Dean

“...These graduates are engaging in a daily basis in the craft of teaching, and their education … is informing the ways in which they are in turn forming studentcitizen-thinkers...”

S p r i n g / s u m m e r

graduates are also teaching in high schools, synagogues, churches, institutes, and a wide range of other formal and informal settings. These graduates are engaging on a daily basis in the craft of teaching, and their education at the University of Chicago is informing the ways in which they are in turn forming student-citizen-thinkers in a host of institutions—people who are headed for a great variety of professions, in far-flung locations and with different interests and commitments — to think and talk about religion with like and non-like minded others in non-dogmatic and well-informed ways. As Professor Harriss explained it, his courses at Virginia Tech are meant to equip students with forms of access into scholarly resources on the study of religion, not only to give them information, but also to build a bridge for them into a life of disciplined inquiry and informed study about religion. And he talked about the balance required to promote a critical approach to the study of religion consonant with a university context while also avoiding the poles of teaching in a way that allows people either simply to selectively validate their beliefs, or to shut down and refuse to engage at all, thus reinforcing a broader culture of unproductive dialogue about religion. Our goal through the Craft of Teaching seminars and other programming in pedagogy at the Divinity School is to begin that balancing act in an intentional and focused way while our students are engaged in fulltime study, by drawing on the conspicuous talents of our alums and faculty who are at this work every day. The Divinity School was especially honored last year when one of our doctoral students and one of our faculty won University-wide teaching awards: Sunit Singh, doctoral candidate in the Anthropology and Sociology of Religion won the Wayne C. Booth teaching award and William Schweiker, Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Continued on page 10

2 0 1 2

|

N u m b e r

3 7


Faculty News and Notes in Dialogue,” (delivered on May 16, 2012), please visit http://divinity.uchicago.edu/ media/audio/.

Elshtain Receives NED Democracy Service Medal

S

Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, was presented with the Democracy Service Medal by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on October 13, 2011. Professor Elshtain served on the Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy for nine years and delivered the NED’s annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World in 2008. The Board of Directors of the National Endowment for Democracy created its Democracy Service Medal to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the progress of democracy around the world.

tay up-to-date with news at the Divinity School, bookmark our website at http://divinity.uchicago.edu — and join us on Facebook too!

Two Divinity School Faculty Awarded Research Grants

Mendes-Flohr Receives Named Professorship

Curtis J. Evans, Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity, has been named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology. The fellowship will allow him concentrated time to research and write his book, The Federal Council of Churches and Race Relations: An American Experiment. The program of the Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology seeks to foster excellence in theological scholarship and supports the research of scholars whose projects offer significant and innovative contributions to theological studies.

Paul Mendes-Flohr, a leading scholar on modern Jewish thought and intellectual history, has been named the Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Modern Jewish History and Thought in the Divinity School. An expert on the works of the GermanJewish religious philosopher Martin Buber, Mendes-Flohr is the author of German Jews: A Dual Identity (1999), which explores the complex cultural loyalties of German Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mendes-Flohr’s other works include The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History (with Jehuda Reinharz); Progress and its Discontents (in Hebrew); and Divided Passions: Jewish Intellectuals and the Experience of Modernity. He is also editor-in-chief, with Bernd Witte, of the twenty-one-volume critical edition of Martin Buber’s writings in German. He is currently at work on a biography of Buber. To hear Professor Mendes-Flohr’s inaugural lecture, “Martin Buber and Martin Heidegger

Cynthia Lindner, Director of Ministry Studies, has received a Louisville Institute Project Grant to support the research and writing of her book, Accounting for Our Selves, Responsible to Others: Ministerial Multiplicity and the Well-Lived Pastoral Life. The Louisville Institute seeks to nurture inquiry and conversation regarding the character, problems, contributions, and prospects of the historic institutions and commitments of American Christianity. Its Project Grant for Researchers Program supports a diverse range of research undertaken in the interest of believing communities, particularly projects that involve both academics and pastors in genuinely collaborative inquiry. 2

C

i

r ca

New Associated Faculty Jas’ Elsner, the Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Art at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, is now Associated Faculty for the Religion and Literature area.

McGinn Receives Honorary Doctorate Bernard McGinn, Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School, received an honorary doctorate in the Arts and Philosophy from the University of Antwerp (Belgium), “for his invaluable contributions to the field of mysticism in the Western Christian tradition.” The ceremony took place on March 29, 2012. Prof. McGinn, who retired from the faculty of the Divinity School in 2003, is widely regarded as one of the leading researchers of mysticism in the Western Christian tradition. He has written extensively in the areas of the history of apocalyptic thought and, most recently, in the areas of spirituality and mysticism. He is currently at work on a seven-volume history of Christian mysticism in the West under the general title The Presence of God.

ATS Visitation in December The Divinity School will be visited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) for its 10-year accreditation visit on December 3–6, 2012. If you wish to comment in any way on the Divinity School’s compliance with ATS accreditation standards, please contact Teresa Hord Owens, Dean of Students, at tdowens @uchicago.edu no later than November 26.

Visiting Faculty Over the course of the past academic year the Divinity School welcomed six visiting faculty members, of whom the following four joined us in the Spring. David Brakke, Visiting Professor of the History of Christianity, is Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University. He studies the history and literature of ancient Christianity from its beginnings through the fifth century, with special interests in Egyptian Christianity, monasticism, and Gnosticism. He is the author of Athanasius and Asceticism (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity (Harvard University Press, 2006), and The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual, and Diversity in Early Christianity (Harvard University Press, 2010). Beginning in Autumn 2012, he will be the Joe R. Engle Chair in the History of Christianity and Professor of History at The Ohio State University. He taught a course on Gnostic religion and literature. Raymond Cohen, the Patinkin Visiting Professor in Israel Studies, came to us from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was Chaim Weizmann Professor of International Relations. He has always been fascinated by the challenge of conflict resolution in unpromising situations involving the clash of cultures and religions. His early books probed problems of communication and understanding between nations, one dealing with Egypt

and Israel’s “dialogue of the deaf,” another the difficulties the U.S. has in “negotiating across cultures.” Theological and political reconciliation between Catholics and Jews, Israel and the Holy See, was therefore the subject of his research and teaching at Chicago during his visiting professorship; he offered a course on “Israel, the Jewish People, and the Catholic Church.”

Introduction and Commentary, for the Anchor Yale Bible series of Yale University Press. Starting Autumn 2012, he will be Professor in the Department of Greek and Latin at the Ohio State University. Professor Harrill offered an exegisis seminar on Ephesians.

J. Albert Harrill visited Chicago as Visiting Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature from his position as Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. A recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Foundation (Germany) and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is a scholar of the New Testament writings (especially Paul’s) in their ancient contexts. He is author of Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006); and The Manumission of Slaves in Early Christianity (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1995; paperback, 1998). His current book projects include Paul: The Life of the Apostle in its Roman Context, for the Key Figures of Classical Antiquity series of Cambridge University Press; and a major biblical commentary, Ephesians: A New

Yoram Bilu, Visiting Professor in Israel Studies, served as a professor of anthropology and psychology at Hebrew University until his retirement last year. Focusing on Israeli society and Jewish traditional culture, his research interests include the anthropology of religion, culture and mental health, the sanctification of space in Israel, and Maghrebi Jewish culture, as well as Jewish Moroccan “ethnopsychiatry,” manifestations of spirit possession in various Jewish communities, and culture-sensitive therapy with Jewish ultra-orthodox clients. Professor Bilu served as the Chair of the Department of Psychology and the head of the Authority for Doctoral Students, both at Hebrew University, and as the president of the Israeli Anthropological Association. He has been a visiting professor at several American Universities including University of California San Diego, Brandeis University, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. His most recent book is The Saints’ Impresarios: Dreamers, Healers, and Holy Men in Israel’s Urban Periphery (Academic Studies Press, 2010). “The Sanctification of Space in Contemporary Israel” explored the myriad ways in which “the idea of the holy” is imprinted on the land in contemporary Israel.

Doniger Honored with Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions, received a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching during the Divinity School’s June 2012 diploma ceremony, as part of the University’s 511th Convocation. The ceremony took place on Saturday, June 9, in Bond Chapel. An internationally recognized authority on mythology, Hinduism, Sanskrit texts and the study of religion generally, Professor Wendy Doniger has had an incalculable impact on the contemporary academic study of religion through the many students — doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s — who have benefitted from her famously entertaining lecture style, her careful attention to their own ideas and written work, and her profound personal investment in their intellectual and personal growth. Professor Doniger’s doctoral advisees to date (sixtynine, over a thirty-four year career at the University of Chicago) are leaders in the S

p

r

i

n

g

history of religions and South Asian Studies the world over. The virtues of her own scholarly work, which combines close textual reading, astute translation and historical analysis with lively prose and slicing wit, have enlivened and inspired the work of those from across the University who have had the fortune to be her students. The citation for Professor Doniger’s award reads: “Engaging and illuminating classroom teacher, magnanimous mentor, and striking model of erudition and zest, Wendy Doniger masterfully guides students into their own careers as scholars and teachers.” The Faculty Awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring recognize regular, full-time faculty members in the divisions for exemplary graduate teaching. The awards are presented at Spring Convocation.

/

s

u

m

m

e

r

2

0

1 2

|

3


News and Notes

Divinity School Events

Clinical Scholars Program Delves into Physician Spirituality A $2.6-million, three-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation will allow Farr Curlin, M.D., (right), and Daniel Sulmasy, M.D., (left), co-directors of the Program on Medicine and Religion at the University of Chicago, to create a Clinical Scholars Program designed to provide the essential infrastructure for the spiritual renewal of the medical profession. Sulmasy is Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and the Divinity School and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine. The Program on Medicine and Religion at

the University of Chicago seeks to promote rigorous study of and robust dialogue about the moral and spiritual dimensions of the practice of medicine. The Program reflects a collaboration between the Department of Medicine (and its MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics), and the Divinity School (and its Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion). The new Clinical Scholars Program will explore how physicians’ own religious and spiritual commitments relate to their clinical practice. The Program will begin by recruiting eight University of Chicago faculty to help take the spiritual “pulse” of medicine by researching

the relationship between professional satisfaction and the spiritual lives of physicians. Over the years, there has been much scholarship on the impact of religion on patients and health-care outcomes but virtually none on the spirituality of the practice of medicine, i.e., the religious characteristics of physicians and how physicians’ religious commitments shape the clinical encounter. While most physicians endorse the importance of addressing spiritual concerns of patients, particularly in the context of life, death and serious illness, examining the role of religion for physicians has been seen as a threat to medicine’s scientific principles “because it introduces personal and private elements,” says Curlin, Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics. Nevertheless, religion and spirituality are “inescapably” linked to how a physician practices, Curlin says. The grant will help develop a new field, the spirituality of medicine. “We’ll create and support a community of scholars with training in religion and medical science who could become leaders in this new interdisciplinary field,” Sulmasy says. “And there’s no better place to do this than the University of Chicago with its top medical and divinity schools.” Dr. Sulmasy will deliver the 2012 Nuveen Lecture at The Divinity School on Thursday, October 25.

What’s the best way to find out about events at The Divinity School? Online. Our online calendar can be found on our homepage—

Lectures and Other Events

http://divinity.uchicago.edu—as can detailed information about conferences, lectures, and workshops. You can also join our Facebook community. Find us under “University of Chicago Divinity School.” Alumni are most welcome!

Upcoming Events Throughout the academic year the Divinity School hosts or cohosts a wide variety of lectures, symposia, graduate workshops, and more. All these events are announced in advance online. Of special note is our annual John Nuveen Lecture, to be held this year on Thursday, October 25th, with Daniel P. Sulmasy, the Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and the Divinity School and the Associate Director of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine.

||

W e d n e sda y s

||

Theological Reflection and the Limits of Politics October 4 – 5, 2012 The third of four conferences in the series “The Engaged Mind,” reflecting on themes drawn from the work of Jean Bethke Elshtain. The series is underwritten by the McDonald Agape Foundation. See http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/conferences/engagedmind/2012/index.shtml for more information, including scheduled speakers.

Bond Chapel Worship Eight Wednesdays per Quarter 11:30 a.m. – 12 noon Wednesday Community Luncheons

The Trouble with the Prophets, Prophecy, and Prophetic Literature of the Hebrew Bible

Eight Wednesdays per Quarter 12 noon – 1:15 p.m.

Greg Borzo, News Office The original story on this can be found online at http://arete.uchicago.edu/features/ curlin.shtml.

Join us in Swift Common Room for a delicious meal, a speaker, and conversation. Please visit http://divinity .uchicago.edu/news/wednesdays. shtml to see upcoming date and speaker information.

A series of four lectures on the problematic nature of the literary, sociological, and historical categorization of prophecy in ancient Israel. It will explore how the study of Israelite prophecy has developed in recent decades, comparative aspects, gender theory, and origins in magic.

a leading scholar on the history of Islamic Spain, as well as the interaction of violence and religion in the Islamic world. While at the University she participated in the Initiative’s day-long workshop on “The Making of ‘Scholars’ in the Medieval Islamic West.” Abdulkarim Soroush joined the Divinity School in Winter. Dr. Soroush is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Epistemological Research in Tehran and a Research Associate of the London School of Oriental and African Studies. He is an internationally renowned Islamic philosopher, an author on Islam, history and human rights, as well as a noted scholar and reciter of the poetry of Rumi. Dr. Soroush taught a class on the “Religious and Intellectual History of Modern Iran” and

participated in the workshop “Religious Reform in Post-Revolutionary Iran: Achievements and Challenges” In the Spring Professor Serpil Bagci joined the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Dr. Bagci is the Chair of the Department of Art History at Hacettepe University in Ankara, and the foremost historian of the visual arts of the book in the Ottoman Period (ca. 1300–1924) active today. Her course was “Ottoman Painting.”

New Home for Reneker Organ Late this fall, Bond Chapel will echo with the sounds of a remarkable musical instrument. The Reneker Memorial Organ, a baroque-style organ built in 1983, will be moved this summer from 5757 S. University Ave., the current home of the Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS), to Bond Chapel.

The Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative

Bond Chapel will close after graduation in June to accommodate the relocation of the Reneker Organ. The chapel is expected to reopen in December 2012. University organist Thomas Weisflog is planning a 2012–13 inaugural concert series to celebrate the arrival of the instrument in its new location. “Bond Chapel is a beautiful space that serves as an active center for worship and musical performance on campus,” said Margaret M. Mitchell, Dean of the Divinity School and the Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature. “Moving the magnificent Reneker Organ to Bond Chapel is a fitting way to recognize its legacy and pay lasting tribute to the Reneker family. We look forward to welcoming the community and University to hear this magnificent baroque organ in its new home here on campus.” The University purchased 5757 S. University in 2008. As part of the purchase, the University agreed to construct a new building for the Seminary in Hyde Park at the southeast corner of Dorchester Avenue and 60th Street. The new Chicago Theological Seminary building, a

The Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative, a threeyear project funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is 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. The Initiative brings distinguished visiting scholars, representing a wide range of topics in Islamic Studies, to the University. With one visitor per quarter, the result will be a substantive, sustained discussion about both specific topics in Islamic studies and the wider field of study. Each visitor will bring to the community a unique area of expertise, which they will share with the campus by giving a public lecture, teaching a class, and organizing a conference or symposium on their topic of study. In the past academic year, we saw three visiting scholars. Maribel Fierro served as a Visiting Scholar in Islamic Studies in the Divinity School in the fall quarter 2011. Dr. Fierro is the Head of the Institute of Arabic Studies at the National Research Council of Spain, and

4

C

i

r ca

LEED-compatible green design by Chicago architect Dirk Danker, will provide facilities for current programming as well as expansion. The Reneker Organ was purchased from CTS separately, after local organ conservator Jeff Weiler, organ curator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted a study of the instrument and determined it was ideally suited to the organ gallery of Bond Chapel. Elizabeth Davenport, Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and the University’s director of spiritual life, said the new instrument would play an important role in the spiritual and artistic life of the University. “The Reneker Organ is worthy of a fine home where it will see expanded liturgical and concert use. I am delighted it will stay in Hyde Park in a space so perfectly suited to it, and confident it will be greatly appreciated by our community.” The Reneker Organ is named for the late Robert W. and Betty C. Reneker, who each had strong ties to both the University of Chicago and CTS. Mr. Reneker, Ph.B.’33, served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 1972–81, and as its chair from 1976–81. He was also

chairman of the Chicago Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees. Like her husband, Mrs. Reneker was active in CTS throughout her life, serving twice as its interim president and on the board of trustees. At the University, she was a member of the visiting committees of the College, Regenstein Library and the Divinity School (of which she was a lifetime member). She also served on the University’s Women’s Board. The new organ will complement the recently restored E.M. Skinner organ in Rockefeller Chapel. The Rockefeller Chapel organ, with its full, orchestral sound, is ideal for Romantic organ literature, while the pure, articulate tone of the smaller Reneker organ is more suitable for Baroque compositions. More information about the upcoming organ concerts will be made available online. Susie Allen, News Office

S

p

r

i

n

Please visit http://divinity.uchicago.edu/ news/islamic_studies_initiative.shtml for news about future Mellon Islamic Studies Initiative programming and the scholars who will be joining us in the coming years. g

/

s

u

m

m

e

r

2

0

1 2

|

5


An Interview with Dwight N. Hopkins

2011 Books by Faculty

involved. This can entail just being a sounding board, a listener, and a space where students can raise any questions and concerns relevant to their matriculation here at the Divinity School. CIRCA:  Tell us about some of what’s going on with your recent work with SinoChristian theology.

D

wight N. Hopkins is Professor of Theology and the Divinity School’s first Director of M.A. Studies. In this interview he discusses both his new role and his own teaching and research.

CIRCA: You are the Divinity’s School first Director of M.A. Studies — what do you do in your role as Director of M.A. Studies? What’s the rhythm of your year been like? DH: The Divinity School has always considered our M.A. students as very important voices contributing to the rich and rigorous conversations in Swift Hall. The faculty established the Director of M.A. Studies position on July 1, 2011, to accomplish several things. I advise our M.A. students about academic, curricular, and professional concerns. Academically, we talk about the various requirements needed to graduate. For curricular matters, we discuss the classes they are taking. And professionally, we entertain their post-M.A. degree future. In this dynamic and exciting process, we are trying to forge a “cohort” culture. Of course, the M.Div. program is a model cohort group. The M.A. students have their own particularities. For one thing, unlike our M.Div. students, M.A. students only take one required course together. Still we are building a certain rhythm

to the year with the end result being a sense of being part of the M.A. degree program. For example, over the summer, I’m in conversation via email and phone with incoming and secondyear M.A. students and then welcoming them back in the Fall, when we host an informal pizza lunch. Last Halloween, we had a pumpkin cutting and cider social. The first week of February, we held our annual M.A. dinner (which, by the way, had a good representation of faculty). We are also working on dividing the M.A. students along the lines of the three academic committees of the Divinity School. Throughout the academic year, I’m meeting with first- year and second-year M.A. students about each individual student’s particular academic, curricular, and professional needs. And I also attend Swift Hall committee meetings and some university-wide committee meetings in the interest of our M.A. students. Basically, while attending to academic, curricular, and professional needs, I also advocate for our M.A. students. And, to a degree, there is some “pastoral” work

DH: In the last five years, I’ve been expanding my comparative cultures work to include an imagined conversation between the United States’ and China’s foundational values. There’s much ado about them being, respectively, the numbers one and two global economic super powers. I’m more intrigued by the underlying and historical traditions that orient their peoples’ ways in the world. From their beginnings, I perceive transcendent values that construe meaning and identity for the citizens of both countries. By understanding and conversation, global communities have a better opportunity to live at peace with planet earth and the cosmos. CIRCA: What else are you exploring in your current research? Has working with the M.A. students sparked new areas of interest for teaching or research?  DH: Along with my academic look at the United States-China question, working with our M.A. students has also deepened my intellectual quest to devise some constructive theological statement on what does it mean to be healthy collective selves and an individual self. Our students are some of the brightest there are globally. The depth, breadth, and variety of intellectual projects of the M.A. students continue to challenge me in the academic study of religions as human phenomena. What is it about the human condition, human nature, and human self-cultivation that enable “human beings” to interrogate the transcendent? Read Prof. Hopkins’ letter to prospective M.A. students online at http://divinity. uchicago.edu/academics/masters.shtml.

Divinity School Introduces a New Seminar Series: The Craft of Teaching Based upon the recommendation of the Divinity School faculty’s Task Force on Teaching (Dean of Students Teresa Hord Owens, Professors Lucy Pick and Jeffrey Stackert), which is seeking to develop a full constellation of activities and programs in the Divinity School for pedagogical and professional preparation in teaching, Dean Mitchell has announced The Craft of Teaching series. Starting winter quarter 2012, the School will invite to campus each quarter one of our alumni or other accomplished educators in the academic study of religion to offer a seminar centered on one of their course syllabi. These sessions, which will highlight the range of institutional contexts and programs within which religion is taught in American and international higher education, will focus on pedagogical goals, educational design, significant and difficult choices, modes of instruction 6

C

i

r ca

and assignments, anticipated and unanticipated outcomes. M. Cooper Harriss, Ph.D. 2011 (Religion and Literature), Instructor and Visiting Professor of Race and Religion, Department of Religion and Culture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia) inaugurated the series on Monday, January 30. Professor Harriss wrote that “It was an honor to give the first Craft of Teaching seminar. In my preparations I focused on things I wish I could tell an earlier iteration of myself (who probably would have attended something like this) based on what I have encountered and on the particular opportunities and challenges that arise while teaching religion in my present context. Typical of a Chicago crowd, the discussion was rich and challenging. I hope the

attendees were as edified by our conversation as I was.” Ann Taves, A.M. 1979, Ph.D. 1983 (History of Christianity), Virgil Cordano, OFM, Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Divinity School’s Alumna of the Year for 2012, delivered the spring quarter Craft of Teaching seminar. Professor Taves’ seminar, in conjunction with the American Religious History Workshop, took place on Thursday, May 3, 2012, over lunch. Her Alumna of the Year lecture followed that same day in Swift Lecture Hall. The Craft of Teaching lectures are being audiorecorded and will be available, along with other audio content (including the Alumna of the Year address), online at http://divinity.uchicago.edu/ media/audio/.

Hans Deiter Betz, Don S. Browning, Bernd Janowski, and Eberhard Jüngel, eds.

Willemien Otten, Arjo Vanderjagt and Hent de Vries, eds.

Religion Past and Present: Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, vol. 10 (“Pet”—“Ref”) and vol. 11 (“Reg”—“Sie”)

How the West Was Won: Essays on Literary Imagination, the Canon, and the Christian Middle Ages for Burcht Pranger

Brill

Brill 2010

A complete, updated English translation of the 4th edition of the definitive encyclopedia of religion worldwide, the German Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. This year saw the publication of the 10th and 11th volumes in English; the translation of all 14 volumes is expected to be completed by 2013.

Festschrift for Burcht Pranger of the University of Amsterdam containing essays that focus on various aspects of literary imagination, canonicity, the history of the Christian Middle Ages, and the cultural legacy of the West.

Roger R. Jackson and Matthew T. Kapstein, eds.

Catherine A. Brekus and W. Clark Gilpin

Mahamudra and the bKa´-brgyud Tradition [ PIATS 2006: Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies. Königswinter 2006]

American Christianities: A History of Dominance and Diversity

International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies GmbH

The University of North Carolina Press

Articles by various Tibetanists pertaining to the bKa´-brgyud school of Tibetan Buddhism and the Mahamudra teaching and practice lineage.

Original essays, contributed by a group of prominent thinkers in American religious studies, on diversity and the alliances among Christianities in the United States and the influences that have shaped churches and the nation in reciprocal ways. Wendy Doniger, ed. The Magic Doe: Shaikh Qutban Suhravardi’s Mirigavati: A New Translation by Aditya Behl Oxford University Press Composed in 1503 as an introduction to mystical practice for disciples, this powerful Hindavi or early Hindi Sufi romance is a richly layered and sophisticated text, simultaneously a spiritual enigma and an exciting love story full of adventures. Franklin I. Gamwell Existence and the Good: Metaphysical Necessity in Morals and Politics State University of New York Press A challenging work defending metaphysical necessity against both modern and postmodern critiques. Kevin W. Hector Theology without Metaphysics: God, Language, and the Spirit of Recognition Cambridge University Press Drawing on recent work in theology and philosophy of language, Hector develops an account of language and its relation to God that demonstrates it is not necessary to choose between fitting God into a metaphysical framework, on the one hand, and keeping God at a distance from language, on the other.

Willemien Otten, Maarten Wisse and Marcel Sarot, eds. Scholasticism Reformed: Essays in Honour of Willem J. van Asselt Brill 2010 Festschrift to celebrate Professor Willem J. van Asselt’s many contributions to the study of Reformed scholasticism on the occasion of his retirement from Utrecht University.

Martin E. Marty Willemien Otten and Nienke M. Vos, eds.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Letters and Papers From Prison”: A Biography

Demons and the Devil in Ancient and Medieval Christianity

Princeton University Press In this, the first history of the remarkable global career of Letters and Papers from Prison, Martin Marty tells how and why the book has been read and used in such dramatically different ways, from the cold war to today. Françoise Meltzer Seeing Double: Baudelaire’s Modernity

Brill Essays on approaches to the role of demons and the devil in ancient and medieval Christianity from a variety of scholarly perspectives: historical, philosophical, and theological as well as philological, liturgical, and theoretical. Daniel P. Sulmasy

University of Chicago Press

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. “Ethically Impossible”: STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948.

A reconsideration of Baudelaire and his fraught relationship with the nineteenth-century world examining the way in which Baudelaire viewed the increasing dominance of modern life.

Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, Sept., 2011. http://bioethics.gov/cms/node/654

Françoise Meltzer and Jas’ Elsner, eds.

Fact-finding investigation into research on sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala supported by the US Public Health Service.

Saints: Faith Without Borders University of Chicago Press Scholars from across the humanities come together to reconsider our denial of saintliness and examine how modernity returns to the lure of saintly grace, energy, and charisma.

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Moral Science: Protecting Participants in Human Subjects Research.

Paul Mendes-Flohr

Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, Dec., 2011. http://bioethics.gov/cms/node/558

Encrucijadas en la Modernidad

Report on changes to current practices to protect research subjects as well as recommendations for improvement.

Prometeo Libros Essays on various problems and tensions that arise at the crossroads of modern Jewish existence: an identity that must daily confront the world, the State of Israel, and the diversity of those who claim a Jewish identity.

S

p

r

i

n

g

/

s

u

m

m

e

r

2

0

1 2

|

7


Marty Center News and Events

The Martin Marty Center builds on a long-standing

Sightings: Standing by the Working Man

conviction of the Divinity School that the best and most innovative scholarship in religion emerges from sustained dialogue with the world outside the academy. In all of its projects, the Center aims to serve as a robust circulatory system that strengthens, deepens, and extends scholarly inquiry by moving it through the deliberating bodies of the students, faculty, and public. — William Schweiker, Director of the Marty Center

Religion and Culture Web Forum

S

ince 2002, the Martin Marty Center’s Religion and Culture Web Forum has offered a place for scholars of religion to present their work to colleagues across disciplines and to the broader public. The mission of the web forum is to promote critical inquiry into the manifestations of religion in modern society and culture. Each month, the forum’s contributors advance that mission by presenting, or responding to, research emerging from diverse academic disciplines and touching on a wide range of topics. The 2011–12 academic year has featured an especially diverse array of work representing such fields as theology, law, psychology, history, literary studies, rabbinic studies, ethnography, and more. In September, Curtis L. Thompson of Thiel College examined dance as an analogy for the Divine and the God-world relation in “Dancing in God: The Relevance of Ritual for Conceiving the Divine Today.” October saw Emory Law School’s John Witte, Jr. present his Afterword to Sharia in the West? (Rex Ahdar and Nicholas Aroney, eds, Oxford University Press, 2011). The November forum featured an essay by Eliza Slavet of the

University of California, San Diego, discussing “Freud’s Theory of Jewishness: For Better and For Worse” (from The Jewish World of Sigmund Freud, edited by Arnold D. Richards, McFarland 2010). In December, current University of Chicago Ph.D. candidate and Martin Marty Center junior fellow Emanuelle Burton presented a paper on the treatment of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia in the Christian Academy. January’s forum featured “Drought,” a chapter from Harvard scholar Jonathan Wyn Schofer’s Confronting Vulnerability: The Body and the Divine in Rabbinic Ethics (University of Chicago Press, 2011) examining how rabbinic literature understands and copes with human dependence on rain. In February, Emanuela Zanotti Carney, of the University of Illinois—Chicago, presented “Voices of Despair and Gestures of Grief in Rituals of Mourning and Italian Marian Laments in the late Middle Ages.” March saw David M. Freidenreich of Colby College explore “‘How could their Food not be Impure?’: Jewish Food and the Definition of Christianity.” Contributions for the Spring and Summer

E

include work by Larisa Jasarevic (University of Chicago) and Reid B. Locklin (University of Toronto). To be notified of new content monthly, subscribe to our mailing list at: https://lists. uchicago.edu/web/subscribe/rcwf. The web forum welcomes contributions from established scholars; please send inquiries and potential submissions to the managing editor, Vince Evener, at vevener@uchicago.edu. Vince Evener, Managing Editor, Religion and Web Culture Forum

Martin Marty Center’s Sightings

R

evolutions, demonstrations and movements for change marked 2011 and the beginning of 2012, and religion was sighted in protests from Bahrain to Wisconsin. Sightings articles covered many aspects of the Arab Spring: the participation of Al-Azhar scholars in the protests at Tahrir Square, violence against Copts in Egypt following the fall of the Mubarak regime, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood during the elections. In his piece “Stating the Religious in Egypt and Elsewhere,” Benjamin Schonthal discussed what is at stake in these elections, citing examples of other countries where religion has been a source for the law. Outside of Egypt, the sit-ins of Islamist members of parliament in Kuwait caught the attention of Mona Kareem, a Kuwaiti journalist. Mun’im Sirry wrote about the history of reformation in Islam, responding to Abdulkarim Soroush’s public lecture at the Divinity School. Soroush, a renowned Iranian scholar who has written extensively on human rights and Islam, 8

C

i

r ca

was a visiting professor at the Divinity School this past winter. Closer to home, the shift in American Jewish perceptions about the government of Israel has been observed by Lilah Shapiro, a junior fellow at the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion. She writes about “the negotiation of American Jewish identity vis-à-vis Israel, in particular, highlighting the potential identity conflicts and dilemma that may arise for American Jews who are in the minority and are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.” Sam Brody, another MMC fellow, reports on American media coverage of American politics regarding Israel and Jewish communities in the United States. At the heart of all of these forms of dissent —  whether it is by Tunisians or members of JStreet — is the idea of equality and dignity of all humans. In her Sightings column, Debra Erickson challenged us — academics of religion — to apply these principles within the academy, as well. In “Standing by the Working

Man,” she cites the working conditions of adjunct professors of religion and compares their situation with that of hotel workers whose strike in San Francisco created challenges for the organizers of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. The Arab Spring which started a year ago has inspired Americans to form the Occupy Wall Street movement which spread in cities across the United States. At the Divinity School, graduate students also continue to organize, forming a union and discussing their rights and obligations. Sightings will continue to follow these local and global struggles, investigating the role of religion in these and other areas of public life, and providing critical analysis and commentary on intersections of faith and politics, the arts and education. Shatha Almutawa, Managing Editor, Sightings Subscribe and read archived articles at http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/ publications/sightings/.

arly in March, the American Academy of Religion sent an email to its 10,000-plus members expressing concern over an unresolved labor dispute at one of the six hotels where its upcoming annual meeting will be held. It announced that, on urging from union representatives, it will shift some events to other locations. The email described this move as a compromise that helps the AAR avoid the financial penalties associated with cancellation while still demonstrating consideration for the hotel workers’ situation. The email also announced the organization’s broader response: it will sponsor conference sessions at the 2011 annual meeting examining historic and contemporary relationships between religious and labor movements, and it will develop a policy for responding to similar labor issues prior to the 2012 meeting in Chicago, site of a hotel workers’ strike said to be the longest strike in American history. It asserts: “we hope to enable our Academy to do what it does best — listen, evaluate, critique, reformulate, and learn, by organizing critical and constructive conversations on religion and labor.” Issues of religion and labor, however, hit much closer to home than a once-a-year hotel gathering. Recent events in Wisconsin and other states have lifted discussion of academic labor off the pages of The Chronicle of Higher Education and into the general debate. Unfortunately for those in the trenches, the debate

has centered around reducing the power of academic unions, which represent varying classes of college-level teachers: tenured and tenure-track; full-time but non-tenure track (such as visiting professors, lecturers, and instructors); adjunct faculty, who are generally paid on a per-course basis; and graduate student teachers and teaching assistants whose teaching is often bound up with financial aid or other program requirements. Yet contingent faculty — all those off the tenure track — make up approximately 70% of instructors in American higher education. Of those who hold terminal degrees, adjuncts are often worst off: pay generally hovers around $2,000–$3,000 per course, although some large, wealthy institutions may pay as much as $7,000, and some smaller or public schools pay even less. In order to make ends meet, most adjuncts teach at multiple institutions. They earn no benefits, have no job security, and often lack access to other perks that full-time academic employment can bring: eligibility for promotion; an institutional home (avoiding the dreaded “independent scholar” label); budgets for

books, conference fees and travel, and professional organization memberships; the ability to sponsor events and conferences; uninterrupted library privileges; a voice in university and departmental affairs; and even office space and supplies. All of this effects their ability to teach, mentor, and research. Adjunct positions are disposable, not temp-to-hire; but precisely for that reason, their numbers are increasing: some foresee the day when tenured faculty are primarily administrators for departments consisting entirely of adjuncts. These working conditions are behind the ongoing drive for contingent faculty unionization, both among those with terminal degrees and among graduate-student teachers. In 1997, a number of scholarly organizations formed the Coalition on the Academic Workforce to address “deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on college and university students in the United States” (the AAR is a member); several other groups also advocate on behalf of the non-tenured. Yet the forty-year trend towards reliance upon contingent labor continues unabated, in good economic times and bad. Surely, then, labor issues within their own ranks should be the primary focus of the policymaking efforts of the AAR. As it is, the myth of academic meritocracy — including the promise of decently-paid, full-time jobs to all deserving Ph.D.s — continues to thrive, despite extensive documentation to the contrary. This means, in turn, that after devoting five, ten, even fifteen years or longer to the study of religion, a pursuit they both believe and are told is critical to understanding the contemporary world, even graduates of top schools realize too late how little chance they have of earning a decent livelihood and making a contribution to their chosen field. They are powerless and stuck, exploited by the ones who hold the keys to their professional future. The AAR’s March 4 email affirmed the organization’s “respect for the rights, dignity, and worth of all people.” Ten days later, a second email was sent, reporting that the annual meeting hotel’s management and union had agreed on a new contract, conveniently dissolving that particular ethical dilemma. The other, broader, more entrenched labor problem within the academy itself — and in religious studies — remains. Will the AAR stand up for them? Debra J. Erickson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Siena College in New York State. She received her Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the Divinity School in 2010.

References Coalition on the Academic Workforce: http://www.academicworkforce.org/

Sarah Schulte, “Congress Hotel Strike Marks 7th Anniversary,” ABC7 News, June 14, 2010. http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section= news/local&id=7496534.

Stanely Fish, “We’re All Badgers Now,” Opinionator, The New York Times, March 21, 2011. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes. com/2011/03/21/were-all-badgers-now/

Deanna Isaacs, “Labor Unrest at Columbia College, Northeastern: Adjuncts, unions at local schools fight for contract, job security,” Chicago Reader, March 3, 2011. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ columbia-college-northeastern-illinois-unionlabor/Content?oid=3350082

Roark Atkinson, “Adjunct Faculty: A Buyer’s Market,” published by the Organization of American Historians, describes working conditions for contingent faculty that have persisted for well over a decade. http://www.oah.org/ pubs/nl/96nov/adjunct1196.html

S

p

r

i

See also the American Association of University Professors’ many resources on contingent faculty: http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/ issues/contingent/ For an example of a university bucking the adjunct trend, see: Scott Jaschik, “Exception to the Rule,” Inside Higher Ed, December 2, 2008. http://www.insidehighered.com/ news/2008/12/02/elon n

g

/

s

u

m

m

e

r

2

0

1 2

|

9


Alma Wilson Teaching Fellowship Report

I

n his preface to a volume of essays on the Zhuangzi, a canonical Daoist classic, translator Burton Watson makes the following complaint: “Whenever I sit down and try to write seriously about Zhuangzi, I seem, somewhere in the back of my head, to hear Zhuangzi cackling away at the presumption of such an endeavor.” The same is true for me, and I suspect all scholars who love this peculiar book have felt something similar.

When teaching the Zhuangzi, however, or its cousins the Daodejing and the Liezi, the unenviable task of serious writing and analysis belongs to the students. For the first time in many years, this past fall I found myself playing the role of the texts themselves, pressing class members with rhetorical questions, conflicting viewpoints, and seemingly irresolvable paradoxes. Of course, like any responsible introduction or set of footnotes, I provided some straightforward information — historical context, background on debates about authorship, the basics of classical Chinese writing. But as anyone familiar with these texts well knows, they undermine the foundational scholarly assumption that historical/philological knowledge and familiarity with authorship will lead to better interpretation, and even call into question the very practice of reading texts! It was up to my students to attempt some resolution of these dilemmas, and for that reason my Alma Wilson Teaching Fellowship course, “The Classics of Daoism,” was perhaps more of a challenge for them than it was for

“I found myself playing the role of the texts themselves, pressing class members with rhetorical questions, conflicting viewpoints, and seemingly irresolvable paradoxes.” me. They were the ones who had to struggle with the first line of the Daodejing: “The Dao that can be spoken of is not the constant Dao, the name that can be named is not the constant name.” They had to decide the criteria by which to judge one translation superior to another. And they were forced to answer intractably difficult questions: Do paradoxes convey positive content? Can you translate cryptic poetry into clear philosophy, and what gets lost in the process?

The class was small, only six students, each with a different background and different goals. One was passionate about Zen Buddhism and wanted to learn more about its roots. Another studied philosophy and wanted to expand his horizons eastward. Others were simply interested in learning about China, or a new religion. Combined with the intimate atmosphere and provocative material, these differences made for an excellent class, a chorus of diverse and dissenting voices that mirrored the form of the texts under discussion. Many of the dialogues that took place were as witty and sardonic as any that transpired between Zhuangzi and his logician friend Huizi. Quantifiable results? A number of seemingly intractable issues were resolved: during a mock-debate, for instance, it was concluded that, indeed, dreams are different from reality (though life need not be preferred over death). Equally impressive was my students’ written work. As an undergraduate I took a class on the Zhuangzi in which my classmates and I were given a translation exercise, a sheet of Chinese characters with various possible definitions, along with a line of then-incomprehensible text. I remember thinking the task would be impossible, and being pleasantly surprised at the coherence and occasional beauty of the translations we produced. This fall I did the same exercise with a chapter from the Daodejing, and as everyone took turns reading their translations it was hard to decide whether they or the published experts had done a better job. Looking back on all this, I must admit I see some irony in conducting “The Classics of Daoism” under the auspices of the Alma Wilson Fellowship. Having received an award for teaching, I proceeded to spend a quarter learning from my students, asking questions instead of providing answers. Then again, perhaps that’s the appropriate approach when dealing with texts populated by pedagogues and sages who advocate wuwei [non-action], and elevate the useless over the useful. Hold on. I sense paradoxes. Isn’t an approach a kind of action? And haven’t I been implying my approach really was useful? As for the appropriate approach — I think I hear Zhuangzi, and my students, cackling away at the presumption of such a statement … Alan Levinovitz, Ph.D. Candidate, Religion and Literature

Mitchell — Continued from page 1 Professor of Theological Ethics won the Graduate Teaching Award. We were equally honored by this year’s Graduate Teaching Award to Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions (see story on page 3). Our alumna of the year for 2012, Professor Ann Taves, A.M. 1979, Ph.D. 1983 (History of Christianity) of the University of California at Santa Barbara, will be the second in our new series (please see page 6 for more information). 10

C

i

r ca

The craft of teaching is never fully honed, never perfected. But there are skills to be taught, experiences to be shared and excellent examples to be encountered, and the Divinity School has a great legacy into which our new students each year enter, and by which they will be equipped to make a profound difference. In describing his course at Virginia Tech Professor Harriss said, “Now, you have to realize that I’ve got a classroom full of engineering students. The first day, they come

up to me and say, ‘Wow, this is the Humanities, right? So there can be more than one correct answer. Great!’ To which I said, ‘Yes, but when we get it wrong things don’t blow up.’ … Or do they?’” Margaret M. Mitchell, Dean

Ministry Program Update through my classes and extracurricular experiences, knowing that I have a strong and affirming support network behind me.” Steven is engaged in his second year placement at Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. He says “I sit on several committees, help coordinate services, teach arts and crafts at our Religious School, assist with the Jews-by-Choice program, and hang out with our youth group attendees. My internship has been a great experience; due to the fact that Anshe Emet is such a large synagogue, I have had the opportunity to do a little bit of everything. I am also the co-founder and co-leader of Mishkan, an independent Jewish community that meets every other week for Shabbat evening services.” Abbas Chinoy first enrolled at the Divinity School in the one-year A.M.R.S. program; during his oral exam for that degree, he made a convincing case for continuing his studies in the M.Div. program to extend his chaplaincy training. In his words, “I’m a first-generation American born to Indian parents. I grew up with Jews, went to high school on the south side of Chicago, and I was later educated and trained by Catholics. Personally, I come from the Islamic tradition. Professionally, I am an interfaith hospital chaplain.” Like many of his M.Div. colleagues, Abbas characterizes the strengths of the ministry program at Chicago as “advocacy and opportunity … within Ministry Studies, I feel supported and encouraged. Having advocates who believes in me is crucial! Swift Hall is not only home to strong religious scholarship, it’s a conduit to the rest of the University’s classrooms as well. I have the opportunity to tap into the Social Service Administration where I can apply the techniques of social work to my craft.” Abbas is currently serving as an intern for the Interreligious Center at Rockefeller Chapel, which he says has “afforded me the amazing

Extending the Table

F

rom its inception, the ministry program at the Divinity School has been characterized by creative and formative tensions — tensions between theory and practice, tradition and experience, discipline and multiplicity. Students have chosen to prepare for careers in ministry at the Divinity School because the curriculum insists on academic rigor and scholarly discipline, while at the same time offering a variety of approaches to the study of religion, coursework in a number of religious traditions, and the rich resources of the multireligious metropolitan area for gaining practical wisdom and experience. In the 1960s and 70s, for example, a generation of ministry students were shaped for religious leadership in challenging times by coursework in ethics and society, and religion and psychological studies. In the ’80s and ’90s, a restructured Master of Divinity program offered dual degree possibilities with social work and public policy, reflecting the everwidening purview of the public church, and students’ aptitude for interdisciplinary formation. In the more recent past, as religions and religious identities have played such visible roles in conflicts within and among cultures, ministry students are seeking the resources of the Divinity School to cultivate the sensibilities needed to live and serve as religious leaders in a multi-religious world. Not surprisingly, these students are, themselves, from a wider variety of religious backgrounds than ever before. Historically, the ministry program, as a reflection of its culture and origins, has focused on the texts, traditions, and practices of the Christian faith — the Protestant roots of the program are still recognizable, for example, in the program’s insistence that first-year students study Biblical languages and read the texts for themselves, and in the second-year ministerial arts classes in preaching, worship, and pastoral care. But the conversation around the table in the classroom which is home to each year’s cohort of ministry students has always been a diverse one, and the program has long welcomed and been enriched by the participation of

students from a wide range of denominations, from Roman Catholic to Unitarian, Mennonite to Mormon. Over the past three years, the table has extended even further, including secular humanist, Jewish and Muslim students in our conversation about what it means to profess faith — and to serve as “professional” religious leaders — in our own complicated times. Steven Philp, a Conservative Jew who completed his undergraduate work at University of California Los Angeles, is now in his second year of study in the M.Div. program at the Divinity School. Upon completion of the M.Div. degree, he plans to attend rabbinical school, pursuing ordination with the intention of going in the chaplaincy work and interfaith advocacy. Invited to reflect about his experience in the program Steven replied: “I knew that my three years at the Divinity School would be challenging; coming to the University of Chicago was a commitment to push myself academically, socially, and spiritually. As the first Jewish Master of Divinity student, I have had to blaze a few trails — from reformulating the core requirements to reflect my faith commitments, to finding a synagogue for my second year placement. As a convert, I am used to being a border crosser; however I have found that carving your own path can be an isolating experience. Yet from the moment I stepped on campus, I knew I was part of a family; the Divinity School is a remarkably intimate and supportive environment. The faculty and staff have a strict open door policy, and both the Dean and the Dean of Students know each student by name. Reverend Lindner — the Director of the Ministry Program — regularly invites students to her home for meals. Although one is challenged at the Divinity School, I have never had to face obstacles alone. Rather, I am able to approach problems with the tools that I have been equipped with S

p

r

i

n

“Like me, this place is quite a mixture, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.” privilege of giving a sermon during Sunday services, a type of ministry I might not experience in my professional niche.… Like me, this place is quite a mixture, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.” These two students’ appraisal of the advantages of training in this multi-religious setting is shared by the majority of their M.Div. colleagues. While students are realistic about the difficulties that they encounter when they must “represent” their tradition in a plural classroom, or when articulating one’s own belief or practice challenges the beliefs or practices of a friend and colleague, most also recognize that they are themselves “plural” religiously, that they are preparing to serve a world in which this multiple consciousness is essential, and that the extended conversation table on the fourth floor of Swift Hall is a significant asset for their formation. Cynthia Lindner, Director of Ministry Studies g

/

s

u

m

m

e

r

2

0

1 2

|

11


Swift Hall 1025 East 58th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637

Go Green! Circa is also available online as a PDF document, which you can download to your desktop. You can read current and past issues of Circa by visiting http://divinity.uchicago.edu/ martycenter/publications/circa. If you would prefer not to receive Circa via postal mail, please let us know by emailing Sara Bigger, Assistant Director of Development, at sfbigger@uchicago.edu. We will send you a link when Circa is available for viewing online! Please help us improve our communication with you. Update your email address at http://divinity.uchicago.edu/alumni.

find us on

Offering Your Support

Let Us Know If you have designated the Divinity School as beneficiary of a retirement account, life insurance policy, or other financial instrument, we hope you will tell us so that we may:

Easy and Flexible Estate Gifts Imagine an estate gift that doesn’t require a visit to an attorney. One of the easiest, most flexible ways to plan a gift is also one of the most convenient. In general, gifts of retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and bank accounts have simple forms that you can complete to name the Divinity School as beneficiary. These forms are legally binding and by design override specific directions that may be named in your will or living trust. To request the proper form, just contact your agent, plan custodian, or bank branch. Making such a designation may help you avoid income and “death taxes,” while maximizing your giving potential and providing long-lasting support for the Divinity School. You also have the freedom to change or revoke the arrangement at any time.

• Express our gratitude to you during your lifetime • Ensure that your wishes will be met • Properly plan for the Divinity School’s future To learn more about beneficiary forms or other creative ways you can make a gift to the Divinity School or to inform us of a provision that you have already made, please contact Heather R. McClean in the Office of Gift Planning at 773-834-2117 or hmcclean@uchicago.edu.


Circa v. 37