posted April 11, 2012

Lecture to Offer Historical Perspective on Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Dr. David Nirenberg of the University of Chicago will present “Medieval History Meets Geopolitics: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” as the 2012 Danforth Lecture at Hope College on Thursday, April 19, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Nirenberg is the Deborah R. and Edgar D. Jannotta Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought at the University of Chicago.  Much of his work has focused on the ways in which Jewish, Christian and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by inter-relating with or thinking about each other.

His first book, “Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages,” studied social interaction between the three groups within the context of Spain and France, in order to understand the role of violence in shaping the possibilities for co-existence.  His more recent work has focused on the insights to be gained from medieval literature, exploring the work that “Judaism,” “Christianity” and “Islam” do as figures in each other’s thought about the nature of language and the world.  One of his current book projects focuses on the transformation of religious identities in Spain between the mass conversion of 1391 and the establishment of the Inquisition, and another on the functions of Jews and Judaism as figures of thought, from ancient Egypt to the present.

The Danforth Lecture is sponsored by the Hope College department of religion with support from an endowment established by the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis, Mo. The program was established by the foundation “to deepen and enlarge the religious dimension of the campus family through speakers who can reflect on the broad, interdenominational and yet positive sense of the Judaeo-Christian perspectives of life and existence.”

Some of the many distinguished scholars who have visited the campus through the program in the past include theologian Dr. Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School; Dr. Phyllis Trible of Union Theological Seminary; Dr. Jon D. Levenson of Harvard University; Dr. Daniel Maguire of Marquette University; Dr. Allen Verhey of the Divinity School at Duke University; and John Webster of the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy of King’s College of the University of Aberdeen; and Dr. John L. Esposito of Georgetown University.

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.