Preview of “Scripture and The Passions” Panel

Preview of “Scripture and The Passions” Panel

Scripture and the Passions

David W. Priddy“Satiating and Starving the Yahwistic Imagination: The Weaponization of Food in the Elijah Cycle”

David Priddy of Wake Forest University suggests that the Elijah cycle has a critical ideological and theological function within the Deuteronomistic history. More than only a narrative interlude of legendary material, the Elijah cycle threatens and comforts its agrarian hearers into obedience to Yahweh. Through a persistent use of the satiation and hunger motif, the Deuteronomistic storyteller fashions a narrative that makes food a weapon in an ideological battle between the Omridic dynasty and Yahweh.

Michael Thomas Carlson“The Violence of Shame: Sexuality and Luke 17:21 in Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets”

Michael Carlson of Yale Divinity School explicates the “accidental theology” of the art in Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets. Beginning by diagnosing the systematic elements of fundamentalist scripture-based sexual repression in Blankets, he argue that Thompson’s work espouses an explicitly mystical theology founded on gratitude for corporeality and the sexual self. He ultimately argue that Thompson’s novel engages scripture as artistic hermeneutics; it is a work which cannot be fully appreciated without understanding its incorporation of scripture. 

Sunil Kumar YadavMangalasutta: A Buddhist Blessing Persecuting Muslims in Myanmar”

Sunil Kumar Yadav of University of Chicago Divinity School will present how Buddhist scriptures have influenced anti-Islam legislatures, racial/ethnic discriminations and boycotting of Muslim businesses in Myanmar’s society. Rife with fear of Islamization, and grounded in Buddhist fundamentalist notion of purity, he argues that Myanmar’s society is moving towards a systematic and gradual genocide of Muslims. Using ethnographic evidence, he will present a critical analysis of the Mangalasutta – its interpretation, its influence and its application – in Myanmar’s society, and Buddhist texts’ role more generally in Myanmar’s newly established democracy.

“Weaponizing Scripture?” Finalized Conference Schedule

“Weaponizing Scripture?” Finalized Conference Schedule

When does scripture serve as a resource for or against the communities that are formed by it? 

How is it instrumentalized for formational, popular, political, and/or polemical agendas?

How does scripture transform the character of the debates and purposes for which it is deployed?

Weaponizing Scripture? Flyer
Click on the poster above for a printable PDF version.

Sunday, March 22nd
Nau Hall 342 (unless otherwise noted)

12:00 pm — Registration and Opening Reception

12:30 pm — Introduction

12:45 pm — Panel 1: “Scripture and the Passions” 

⇒David Priddy, Wake Forest University – “Satiating and Starving the Yahwistic Imagination: The Weaponization of Food in the Elijah Cycle”

⇒Michael Carlson, Yale Divinity School – “The Violence of Shame: Sexuality and Luke 17:21 in Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets”

⇒Sunil Kumar Yadav, University of Chicago Divinity School – “Mangalasutta: A Buddhist Blessing Persecuting Muslims in Myanmar”

Respondent: Peter Ochs, Department of Religious Studies

2:45 pm — Break

3:00 pm — Text Study

4:00 pm — Panel 2:  “Scripture and the State”

⇒Khadeega M. Gafar, American University of Cairo 

⇒Ben Dillon, Duke University – “Squelching the Double Vision: Hobbes’s Subversion of Sola Scriptura”

⇒Meg Stapleton Smith, Yale Divinity School – “Vision of Hope: Scripture in the Context of the Salvadoran Civil War”

Respondent: Shankar Nair, Department of Religious Studies

6:00 pm — Break

6:15 pm — Plenary Address by Ambassador Aref Nayed
“Scriptures As Operational Artifacts”
Location: Nau Lecture Hall 101, Open to the Public

8:00 pm — Dinner
Location: Nau Hall Manley Commons, Limited to Conference Participants and Invited Guests

Monday, March 23rd
Nau Hall 342 (unless otherwise noted)

9:00 am — Coffee and Pastries

9:30 am — Panel 3: “Scripture and Subversion”

⇒Valerie Landfair, Regent School of Divinity – “An African-American Pentecostal Reading of Hagar: Through the Aesthetics of Silence and the Politics of Recognition”

⇒Mark James, University of Virginia – “Origen, Power, and the Naturalness of Names”

⇒Ezra Blaustein, University of Chicago Divinity School – “The Hermeneutics of an Outsider: Torah, New Testament, and Quran in Simon Duran’s Bow and Shield”

⇒Ardaine Gooden, Howard University School of Divinity – “Male Violence: A Biblical Exploration of Male Rape and Sexual Assault”

Respondent: Maurice Wallace, Department of English

11:45 am — Lunch

1:15 pm — Panel 4:  “Scripture – Who’s In? Who’s Out?”

⇒Mitchell Chillcot, Duke Divinity School – “(De)weaponizing Scripture at Qumran”

⇒Matthew Goldstone, New York University – “Three Models of Wielding Lev. 19:17 in Antiquity”

⇒Christine Landau, University of Virginia – “In the interests of peace: Jews, gentiles and land management in Mishnah Peah”

⇒Evan Anhorn, Boston University – “Revealed Words and Subjunctive Worlds: The Uncreated Qur’an and the Order Transforming Power of God’s Speech”

Respondent: Elizabeth Shanks Alexander, Department of Religious Studies

3:30 pm — Text Study
Location: Gibson 441

4:30 pm — Closing Reception
Location: Gibson 441


Preview of “Scripture and the State” Panel

Preview of “Scripture and the State” Panel

Scripture and the State

Ben Dillon“Squelching the Double Vision: Hobbes’s Subversion of Sola Scriptura

Ben Dillon of Duke University will present an examination of two cases of Thomas Hobbes’s controversial exegesis in his masterpiece Leviathan that have profound political implications: his treatment of the term “spirit,” which issues in the denial of any incorporeal substance; and his account of martyrdom, which effectively renders true martyrdom impossible. The effect of these exegetical moves is, first, to deny any spiritual realm beyond the material; and second, to render all claims by clergy to authority over citizens’ bodies illegitimate; combined, they serve to bolster his claims for absolute civil sovereignty, all while appealing to the Protestant principle of sola scriptura.

 Meg Stapleton Smith“Vision of Hope: Scripture in the Context of the Salvadoran Civil War”

Meg Stapleton Smith of Yale Divinity School will present an examination of the ways Scripture was utilized as a way to justify the violent acts of the Salvadoran government, as well as critically examine how Scripture became a source of inspiration within the Christian Base Communities to authenticate and validate the humanity and faith of the poor. Ultimately, Scripture was weaponized within the context of the Salvadoran Civil War to be both a modicum of violent governmental rationale, as well as a vehicle of expression for the poor’s national liberation, economic amelioration, and spiritual enlightenment.

Meet the 2015 SIP Graduate Colloquium Presenters

Meet the 2015 SIP Graduate Colloquium Presenters

Evan Christopher Anhorn
Evan Christopher Anhorn

Evan Anhorn is a third year PhD student in the Religion department at Boston University. His work engages the role of Islamic law and theology in promoting and shaping civic participation and engagement for Muslims in Canada and Germany. He is furthermore interested in minority Muslims in the West, the problem of tolerance and community boundaries, the social construction of sacred knowledge and the relationship of religious institutions to the center of society.

Ezra Blaustein
Ezra Blaustein

Ezra Blaustein is a third year PhD student in the History of Judaism division of the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is interested in the intellectual history of medieval Jews living under Islam, with a focus on texts written in Judeo-Arabic.  Prior to his time in Chicago, he received a MA in Medieval Jewish History from Yeshiva University.

Michael Thomas Carlson
Michael Thomas Carlson

Michael Carlson is Master’s Candidate at Yale Divinity School, concentrating in Religion and Literature. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, majoring in Literature and Theology, he has also been a high school English teacher, a Jesuit novice, and communications associate at Franciscan Mission Service. Currently, his studies involve the intersection of faith and art, particularly through literature.
Follow Michael here: @mcarlson1985

Mitchell Chilcot
Mitchell Chilcot

Mitchell Chilcot is a Master’s student at Duke Divinity School and a graduate of William Jessup University. He is primarily interested in the interactions between Judaism and Christianity during the first three centuries of the Common Era. In addition, he is interested in issues related to the study of the Synoptic Gospels, the historical Jesus, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
For more about Mitchell, click here.
Follow Mitchell here: @MitchChilcott

Ben Dillon
Ben Dillon

Ben Dillon is a PhD Candidate at Duke University. This is in his final year of a doctorate in Christian theology. His research has focused on early modern philosophy (especially Spinoza and Hobbes), the thought of Augustine, and the relation between western Christianity and political liberalism. His dissertation treats the theological argumentation undergirding Thomas Hobbes’s defense of state sovereignty. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College and a MA in Religion from Yale Divinity School.

Khadeega Kamaleldeen Yousef Mohammed Ga'far
Khadeega M. Ga’far

Khadeega M. Gafar is an MA fellow at the American University in Cairo where she studies philosophy and an MA candidate at Cairo University where she researches Islamic Philosophy. In her studies, she tries to bring philosophical perspectives to understanding of contemporary concerns in religion and politics. Currently, she is an Essayist at al-Hayat newspaper writing on the contemporary and historical Islamic thought.
Follow Khadeega here: @khadeega

Matthew Goldstone
Matthew Goldstone

Matthew Goldstone is a fourth year PhD candidate at New York University. Prior to beginning his doctoral work he received his Master’s Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary in Judaic Studies and spent two years of intensive study in Jerusalem.  His dissertation explores the discourse surrounding rebuke in the rabbinic corpus of Late Antiquity in addition to a selection of Christian texts from the Persian Empire.

Ardaine L. Gooden
Ardaine L. Gooden

Adraine Gooden comes from the island of Jamaica, the “land of wood and water.” He is a second year MA student in Religious Studies at Howard Univeristy School of Divinity and holds a BA in Religion & Theology from Northern Caribbean University. He served as a former pastoral intern in the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he supervised 14 congregations. His interest is in New Testament studies and his thesis topic is “From God and a Woman: the Moral Integrity of Womanhood in the Birth Narrative.”
For more information about Adraine, click here.

Mark James
Mark Randall James

Mark Randall James is a PhD student in religious studies at the University of Virginia. His work focuses on Jewish and Christian interpretation of scripture and the distinctive rationalities of scriptural religious traditions. His dissertation, ‘Learning the Language of Scripture: Origen and the Logic of Induction,’ is a re-examination of Origen’s hermeneutics in light of Origen’s Stoic philosophy of language.
Follow Mark here: @interpretweeter

Christine Landau
Christine Landau

Christine Landau is a PhD Candidate in Religious Studies in Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at the University of Virginia. Her dissertation is a comparative study of early rabbinic culture in Palestine and early Christian monastic culture in Egypt. She has worked in academic and trade publishing, in nonprofit fundraising, and as an editor, freelance writer, and translator. She has an MA in Biblical Languages from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and a BA in English Literature from Swarthmore College.

Valerie Ranee Landfair
Valerie Ranee Landfair

Valerie Landfair is a PhD Candidate in theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach. Her research interests include African and African-American prayers,  Pentecostal and Charismatic theology, contextual theology, and leadership in the public square. Her recent publications include: “Eschatological Prayer in African Pentecostalism” in Pentecostal Theology in Africa (2014), and  “Ogbu Kalu, African Pentecostalism and Shalom” in CCDA Theology Journal (2014). She holds a MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary and a BS in Organizational Management from Illinois State University.

David W. Priddy
David W. Priddy

David Priddy is an MA student at Wake Forest University. H is an a ordained Baptist minister serving as interim minister at two Presbyterian Churches and an adjunct Professor at Campbell University in the Religion Department. He loves to travel, read, play string instruments, and raise chickens along with this wife, Mikaela Aryn, and son, Liam.

Meg Stapleton Smith
Meg Stapleton Smith

Meg Stapleton Smith is a Master’s Candidate in Ethics at Yale Divinity School. A graduate of Boston College, her current research interests lie mainly in Salvadoran Liberation Theology and contemporary Christian Social Ethics. Meg has studied under renowned liberation theologians such as Roberto Goizueta and Jon Sobrino, has lived in El Salvador, and has a continued relationship with a Christian Base Community, Pueblo de Dios en Camino, in San Ramon, El Salvador. Meg is also a writer and a regular contributor to the blog, Daily Theology. For more information about Med, click here.
Follow Meg here: @mstapletonsmith

Sunil Kumar Yadav
Sunil Kumar Yadav

Sunil Yadav is a second year Master of Divinity student at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is currently investigating applications of inter-religious engagements in conflict resolution/reconciliation process within religiously plural societies. Primarily based upon the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, his studies attempt to explore the tools, techniques and methodologies that are effective in approaching modern-day religious conflicts. He recently conducted a two-month long field research in Myanmar investigating theological, historical, political, social and economic factors influencing Buddhist-Muslim conflict.