Middlebury

"The Death of Jesus and its Legacies" to be focus of Middlebury College lecture series Jan. 17 - 19

January 3, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? On Thursday, Jan. 17, through Saturday, Jan. 19, Middlebury College will host the 2008 Charles P. Scott Lectures. The series, titled "Engaging Passions: The Death of Jesus and its Legacies," will feature prominent speakers who are authors and scholars in the fields of religion, literature and music. The lectures, discussions and film screening are free and open to the public and will take place in Twilight Hall, located on College Street (Route 125).

The death of Jesus, the central event of "the Passion," is a major icon of the Western world. The series of lectures and events will examine the story of Jesus' death in the gospels and other early Christian literature and explore the development of these narratives in liturgy, art, music, literature, drama and film. The speakers will provide a sense of the diversity of the gospel narratives, their eventual melding into one story, the ways the story influenced the development of Christian theology and Western culture, and the conflicts that frequently occurred as a result of the story itself and its interpretations at various points in history.

The lecturers, who have a wide range of perspectives, each bringing an informed and authoritative voice to the discussion, include: Larry Yarbrough, Tillinghast Professor of Religion at Middlebury College and scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity who wrote "Not Like the Gentiles: Marriage Rules in the Letters of Paul" as well as essays on a variety of themes in Early Christianity and Early Judaism; Julia Alvarez, a best-selling novelist and poet, who has written several books including "Saving the World" (2006), "The Woman I Kept to Myself" (2004), "Yo" (1997), "In the Time of the Butterflies" (1994), and "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents" (1991), as well as children's books and collections of poetry; Jay Parini, Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College and author of "The Art of Teaching" (2005), "One Matchless Time" (2004), "The Apprentice Lover" (2002), "Robert Frost: A Life" (1999), "Benjamin's Crossing" (1996) and "John Steinbeck" (1995); Adele Reinhartz, a professor in the department of classics and religious studies at the University of Ottawa and a scholar of the Gospel of John, early Jewish-Christian relations, feminist criticism, and, most recently, the Bible and film, whose latest book is a study of the Jesus movies, entitled "Jesus of Hollywood" (2007); Elizabeth Cook, author of academic publications including "Seeing Through Words" (1986), fiction including "Achilles" (2002), and poet, who wrote the libretto for composer Francis Grier's  "The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth," which premiered in Minneapolis and King's College Chapel Cambridge in 2006; Andrew Shenton, a professional musician trained at The Royal College of Music in London and an assistant professor of sacred music at Boston University, where he directs the Master of Sacred Music Program; Maria Hatjigeorgiou, a poet and scholar whose research focuses on Orthodox Christianity and Byzantine iconography, has published articles on Byzantine art and poetry, Orthodox theology, and Medieval and Modern Greek literature, and teaches courses at Middlebury on the "Female Experience of the Divine in Late Antiquity and Byzantium," as well as on Byzantine iconography and the Byzantine religious experience; Robert Atwell, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of London and former Benedictine Monk who has written books on theology and liturgics including "Spiritual Classics from the Early Church" (1995) and "Celebrating the Saints" (2001); John McWilliams, professor of humanities at Middlebury College, whose recent books include "The American Epic: Transforming A Genre" (l989), "The Last of the Mohicans: Civil Savagery and Savage Civility" (1994); and "New England's Crises and Cultural Memory" (2004); Katherine Sonderegger, a professor at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and author of "That Jesus Christ was born a Jew" (1992), as well as articles in theological journals addressing Jewish-Christian relations; and Suleiman Ali Mourad, an assistant professor of religion at Smith College who teaches courses on history and religion, and whose recent publications include "Early Islam between Myth and History: al-Hasan al-Basri and the Formation of His Legacy in Classical Islamic Scholarship" (2005) and "Jerusalem: Idea and Reality" (2008).

The lecture series is sponsored by several Middlebury College organizations: the Department of Religion, the Charles P. Scott Fund, the American Studies Program, Atwater Commons, Brainerd Commons, Cook Commons, Ross Commons, Wonnacott Commons and the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs.

For more information, contact Charlene Barrett in the Middlebury College religion department at cmbarret@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5289.

To follow is a schedule of lectures:

2008 Charles P. Scott Lecture Series Schedule
"Engaging Passions: The Death of Jesus and its Legacies"
January 17-19
All lectures and events will take place in Twilight Hall

Thursday, Jan. 17

2 p.m.
"Is it One Story from Four or Four Stories from One?"
Larry Yarbrough, Middlebury College Professor of Religion

3 p.m.
"Fifteen Stations in the Passion of Mark"
Julia Alvarez, novelist and poet

4 p.m.
"Reading the Passion of John"
Jay Parini, author, biographer and Middlebury College Professor of English and Creative Writing

5 p.m.
"Dying for Our Sins: Jesus' Passion on the Silver Screen"
Adele Reinhartz, University of Ottawa Professor of Classics and Religious Studies

8 p.m.
Screening of "Jesus of Montreal" (1989)
A film by Quebec film director Denys Arcand
The film revolves around a group of actors in Montreal hired to present a passion play, with an actor named Daniel playing the role of Christ. However, their interpretation of the life of Jesus is unconventional, and although the production becomes the toast of the city, the Catholic Church strongly objects to its biblical interpretation and attempts to stop the players.

Friday, Jan. 18

1 p.m. 
"The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth"
A listening experience, during which a recording of the libretto from Francis Grier and Elizabeth Cook's "The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth" (2006) will be played.

3:30 p.m.
"'There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd': Working on the Passion of Jesus of Nazareth"
Elizabeth Cook, author and composer

4:30 p.m.
"The Musical Settings of the Passion Texts"
Andrew Shenton, musician and Boston University Assistant Professor of Sacred Music
 
8 p.m.
"The Passion and the Resurrection in Byzantine Iconography and Ritual"
Maria Hatjigeorgiou, poet and scholar of Byzantine iconography

Saturday, Jan. 19

9:30 a.m.
"The Passion in Christian Liturgy"
Robert Atwell, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of London and former Benedictine Monk 

10:30 a.m.
"The Passion in American Literature"
John McWilliams, Middlebury College Professor of the Humanities

11:30 a.m.
"Theological Themes in the Passion"
Katherine Sonderegger, Virginia Theological Seminary Professor of Theology

1 p.m.
"Did He Die and How: The Death of Jesus in Islamic Discourse"
Suleiman Ali Mourad, Smith College Assistant Professor of Religion

2 p.m.
Panel Discussion
Larry Yarbrough, Middlebury College Professor of Religion
Julia Alvarez, novelist and poet
Jay Parini, author and Middlebury College Professor of English and Creative Writing
Elizabeth Cook, author and composer
Andrew Shenton, musician and Boston University Assistant Professor of Sacred Music
Maria Hatjigeorgiou, poet and scholar of Byzantine iconography
Robert Atwell, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of London and former Benedictine Monk 
John McWilliams, Middlebury College Professor of the Humanities
Katherine Sonderegger, Virginia Theological Seminary Professor of Theology
Suleiman Ali Mourad, Smith College Assistant Professor of Religion
  
For more information, contact Charlene Barrett in the Middlebury College religion department at cmbarret@middlebury.edu or 802-443-5289.