Why Bother with the Older Testament? The Professor of the Year Can Tell You

Sept. 30, 2013
William H. BellingerWilliam H. Bellinger, Ph.D., courtesy photo.

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Sept. 30, 2013) - Students and faculty will have the chance to gain some wisdom from the 2013 professor of the year at the Cornelia Marschall Smith Lecture this Thursday.

William H. Bellinger, Ph.D., professor and departmental chair of religion in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences, received the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award in April.

His lecture will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3 in the Kayser Auditorium in the Hankamer School of Business, 1428 S. 5th St., with a reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public.

The award is presented to a Baylor faculty member who has made a lasting contribution to the learning environment at the university, with nominations coming from faculty, students and alumni. The award includes a plaque, $20,000 and the opportunity to present a lecture in the fall on the recipient's topic of choice. Bellinger will be presenting his lecture "A Baylor Liberal Arts Education: Why Bother with the Older Testament?"

"There is a good bit of debate about the purpose of an undergraduate education both among those involved in higher education and more broadly in American society," Bellinger said. "I am taking the opportunity of this lecture to try to further the conversation at Baylor."

"I particularly want to explore why Baylor includes reading and study of the Old Testament in 'a Baylor liberal arts education,'" he continued. " I will suggest that such study helps us all think about how we will live. "

James Bennighof, Ph.D., vice provost for academic affairs and policy, said Bellinger has a "warm and caring spirit in everything he does" and that his sense of humor in the classroom made learning fun and put students at ease.

"Dr. Bellinger's service to the university over the past 29 years has been exemplary in its quality and breadth," Bennighof said. "During that time his teaching has been tremendously meaningful in the lives of countless undergraduate and graduate students and he has produced extensive scholarship in the form of influential books, articles and book reviews."

"It's important for students and faculty to attend his lecture on Thursday because it's vital for all of us at Baylor to be cultivating a liberal education, and understanding how the Old Testament bears on such an education is essential for all students, and most especially, those with a Christian perspective," Bennighof said.

Bellinger joined the Baylor faculty in 1984. He earned a BA degree from Furman University, a M.Div. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

by Rachel Miller, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit www.baylor.edu/artsandsciences.

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