Lecture Series: Spring '09

Greg Wright: “Inklings: Too Good for Hollywood, or Perfect Fit?”

Greg Wright is the author of Tolkien in Perspective: Sifting the Gold From the Glitter and Peter Jackson in Perspective: The Power Behind Cinema's The Lord of the Rings.

Writer in Residence at Puget Sound Christian College from 2005 to 2007, his academic work on Tolkien began in 1999 with his contributions to the Web site,, for which he is now managing editor. Wright is an ordained minister of the dramatic arts and has degrees in theology, English literature, and computer science.

Sponsors: Honors Residential College, Department of Student Activities

Chalberg as ChestertonDr. John C. “Chuck” Chalberg as G.K. Chesterton

Dr. John "Chuck" Chalberg delights many audiences throughout the United States with his historical impersonations of American and British characters, such as President Theodore Roosevelt and G.K. Chesterton.

During an afternoon presentation, Chalberg discussed the life and thought of Chesterton, along with a bit of impersonation. And many enjoyed a full Chesterton impersonation later the same evening in the Mayborn Museum's SBC Theater.

Learn more about Chuck Chalberg.

Sponsors: Honors College, Honors Residential College, Center for Ministry Effectiveness & Educational Leadership

Esolen, AnthonyDr. Anthony Esolen (Professor of English, Providence College): How To Put Your Soul on Ice: Freedom and Autonomy in Dante’s Divine Comedy

Dr. Anthony Esolen, known for his translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy and Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things -- among others -- has published articles on Spenser, Shakespeare, Dante, and Tasso, and is a contributing editor of the theological journal Touchstone. His interests include classical, medieval, and Renaissance literature.

Sponsors: Honors Residential College, Honors College, Department of Student Activities

Ochs, PeterDr. Peter Ochs (Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia): Logics of Indignity and Redemption in the Hebrew Bible

In his research, Ochs explores modern Jewish philosophy and theology; the history of Jewish thought; rabbinic hermeneutics, semiotics, and ethics; modern and postmodern philosophic theology; the philosophy of religion; scriptural reading (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scriptural interpretation); and postliberal Christian theology. He has authored and edited several works, including Crisis, Call and Leadership in the Abrahamic Traditions, Another Reformation: Postliberal Christianity and the Jews, and The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation.

Sponsors: Honors College, Honors Residential College

Newman, ElizabethProf. Elizabeth Newman (Professor of Theology and Ethics, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond): “Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle: An Ecclesial and Political Interpretation”

Teresa of Avila’s classic, Interior Castle (Las Moradas, 1577), is often read as a solitary account of the soul’s journey toward God, a reading that reflects our late modern context more than it does Teresa’s own. Rightly understood, Interior Castle ought to be read as commentary on Scripture, more specifically as an exercise in the figural reading of Scripture. Thus, the rich imagery that Teresa invokes – a diamond dwelling, pilgrimage, exodus, marriage, birth and so forth – is descriptive of a providential ordering of the church across time.

Prof. Elizabeth Newman argues that reading Teresa in this light is particularly helpful in our context today because it deeply opposes the late modern “religious” self that is both sustained and created by a false politics and economics. Whereas late modernity imagines the nation-state as the bearer of politics and the global market as the guardian of economics, Teresa’s figural understanding of Christ’s body offers a political and economic alternative, one that does not interiorize the spiritual quest but rather describes a public, ecclesial way of life. This life, even in its apparent meagerness and brokenness, is the visible Body of Christ for the world.

Newman is the author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers (Brazos Press, 2007). She writes bi-weekly columns for the Associated Baptist Press and has published numerous articles in theology and ethics. She currently serves on the board of The Ekklesia Project, the steering committee for Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy, and the editorial board of Studies in Baptist History and Thought. Newman has been named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 2009.

Sponsors: Great Texts, Brooks Residential College, Honors Residential College

Jeffrey, DavidDr. David Lyle Jeffrey (Distinguished Professor of Literature & Humanities in the Honors Program, Baylor University): An Alterpiece for Lent: Suffering and the Sublime in Christian Painting

Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey (B.A. Wheaton; Ph.D. Princeton; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada) is Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities at Baylor University. He is also Professor Emeritus of English Literature at the University of Ottawa, where in 1995 he was named the inaugural Arts Faculty Professor of the Year, and has been Guest Professor at Peking University (Beijing) since 1996, and Honorary Professor of the University of Business and Economics (Beijing) since 2005. He served as Chair of the Department of English both at the University of Victoria and the University of Ottawa, and has taught also at the Universities of Rochester and Hull (UK), and Regent College. Jeffrey is general editor and co-author of A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (1992).

He has three times (1975; 1992; 1996) been recipient of the Conference on Christianity & Literature's Book of the Year Award, and at the Modern Language Association convention in 2003 received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Conference on Christianity and Literature. He served as Senior Vice-Provost (2001-2003) and then Provost (2003-2005) at Baylor University. His current projects include a chapter on the relationship between biblical hermeneutics and literary theory for The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, a book on Augustine's aesthetics, a chapter for The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible, and an historically-based theological commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

Sponsor: Honors Residential College

Williams, GarethDr. Gareth Williams (Chair of Classics, Columbia University): Health Matters: Apollo and Aesculapius in Ovid's Metamorphoses

Dr. Gareth Williams is one of the foremost Latin poetry scholars of our day. His lecture -- Health Matters: Apollo and Aesculapius in Ovid's Metamorphoses -- had broad appeal, not only to students of classics, religion, and literature, but also to those interested in the medical profession. Apollo and Aesculapius are both gods of healing; yet, why one (apparently) succeeds while the other (apparently) fails, is a complex and fascinating topic.

Sponsors: Department of Classics, University Scholars Program, Honors Program, Medical Humanities Program

Milbank, AlisonAlison Milbank (Lecturer in Literature & Theology, University of Nottingham): G.K. Chesterton, Tolkien, and Thomas Aquinas: Or Why Fantasy Gives You Reality

The Reverend Alison Milbank joined the Department of Theology at the University of Nottingham in September 2004. She studied theology and English literature at Cambridge, then took her doctorate at Lancaster. She was John Rylands Research Institute Fellow at Manchester and, after temporary lectureships at Cambridge and Middlesex, taught in the English Department at the University of Virginia for five years.

Milbank’s research and teaching focuses on the relation of religion to culture in the post-Enlightenment period, with particular literary interest in non-realist literary and artistic expression, such as the Gothic, the fantastic, horror and fantasy. She is working on a study of the theological importance of the Gothic double or doppelganger as it relates to theories of sacrifice, and also a book on the Catholic poetics of Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton.

Sponsors: Honors Residential College, Department of Student Activities

The Pulse Student Lecture: Ariana Phillips (Piano Pedagogy, B.M. ’09; Honors Program): Chopin and the Sublime: The Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 35

Ariana Phillips ’09 presented Chopin and the Sublime: The Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 35 for The Pulse’s 2009 annual student lecture. Free copies of The Pulse were given to all attendees.

Sponsor: Honors Program

McClay, BillProf. Wilfred (Bill) McClay (Professor of History, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga)

Prof. Bill McClay, the Suntrust Chair of Excellence in the Humanities at the University of Tennessee, was the guest lecturer for the Honors Program’s final spring colloquium, covering the following texts:

• Edward Shils, “Tradition and Liberty: Antinomy and Interdependence,” from Grosby, ed., The Virtue of Civility, 103-22.
• G.K. Chesterton, “The Ethics of Elfland,” from Orthodoxy, 45-66.
• Eric Hobsbawm, “Introduction: Inventing Traditions,” from Hobsbawm and Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition, 1-14.
• T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” from Selected Essays, 3-11.

Learn more about Prof. Bill McClay.

Sponsors: Honors Program