WFU Divinity School hosts second Phyllis Trible Lecture Series March 2-3

The annual Phyllis Trible Lecture Series at Wake Forest University brings four prominent lecturers in the field of feminist theology to Wait Chapel for a program March 2 and 3 focused on the topic “The Children of Hagar and Sarah: Feminist Perspectives in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” The event, which is offered as part of the university’s celebration of March as Women’s History Month, is open to the public.

In its second year, the series has garnered interest and support from individuals and groups like the Turlington Charitable Foundation of New Jersey, which has pledged to it $10,000 a year for the next 10 years. The lectures are named in honor of Phyllis Trible, University Professor of Biblical Studies at the Wake Forest Divinity School, who became one of the school’s first faculty members before its opening in 1999. The idea for an annual lecture series honoring Trible as a biblical scholar and feminist theologian originated in the fall of 2002 with Winston-Salem resident Sylva Billue, who is now a member of the series’ steering committee.

“The series does the important work of making feminist concerns more visible on our campus and in the theological world by celebrating Professor Trible’s career through dialogue with some of today’s foremost feminist thinkers,” said Jill Crainshaw, a faculty member in the Divinity School and co-chair of the series’ steering committee.

“One of our hopes is that the series will be a resource for the increasing number of women in ministry and in seminaries, divinity schools and departments of religion,” she said. “We also hope to engage the entire university and the larger community of North Carolina with a topic that is particularly pertinent to crises confronting our world.”

Phyllis Trible will present the first lecture of this year’s program at 1 p.m. March 2. She will explore the biblical narratives of Hagar and Sarah under the title “Ominous Beginnings for a Promise of Blessing.” An internationally known Hebrew scholar and rhetorical critic, Trible provided expert commentary for Bill Moyer’s public television series, “Genesis: A Living Conversation.” She is the author of the books, “God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality,” “Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives” and “Rhetorical Criticism: Context, Method, and the Book of Jonah.”

Adele Reinhartz, dean of graduate studies and research and a professor in the religion and culture department at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, will present the second lecture at 2:30 p.m. March 2. Her presentation will focus on “The Gospel of John, Judaism and Gender: A Feminist’s Dilemma.” Reinhartz has published extensively on a range of subjects, including Jewish feminist biblical scholarship; the Gospel of John read from a Jewish, feminist perspective; the books of Ruth, Esther, Judith and Susanna; and uses of the Bible in Hollywood films.

At 6 p.m. March 2, Riffat Hassan, professor of religious studies and humanities at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, will present the third lecture titled “The Sarah-Hagar Story: An Islamic Feminist Perspective.” Hassan, a well-known pioneer of feminist theology in the context of the Islamic tradition, has been extensively involved in interreligious dialogue with Jews, Christians and Muslims, with a particular focus on Human Rights in Religious Traditions. She founded The International Network for the Rights of Female Victims of Violence in Pakistan in February 1999.

Letty Russell, professor emerita of theology at Yale Divinity School, will give the final lecture of the series, “Mission as a Stumbling Block: A Christian Feminist Perspective,” at 9:30 a.m. March 3. Russell, a well-known feminist theologian, has had her books translated into Japanese, Korean, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. She is a leader in the ecumenical movement, having worked with the National Council of Churches of Christ, USA, as well as with the World Council of Churches and the YWCA both at the national and international levels.

A panel discussion scheduled for 11 a.m. March 3, followed by a 12:30 p.m. luncheon will conclude the series. Sponsors of the series include the university’s Divinity School, the departments of philosophy and religion, the Women’s Health Center of Excellence, the Multicultural Affairs office, the women’s studies program and the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

The cost for the lectures is $20 for all four, $15 for two or $10 for one. There is an additional $10 charge for the closing luncheon on March 3. For a complete schedule of events, visit the lecture web site.

Categories: Events, School of Divinity, Speakers