Acclaimed Writer Will Address Students about Writing Christ’s Story

Sept. 25, 2015
Parini photoPoet Jay Parini (Courtesy photo)

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

WACO, Texas (Sept. 24,2015) – Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences will host Jay Parini, renowned poet, novelist, biographer and critic for the 2015 Beall-Russell Lecture, “Writing Jesus: Issues and Challenges in Telling the Christ Story,” at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, in Room 250 of Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

Parini will draw his lecture from his book, “Jesus: The Human Face of God,” a biographical account of the life of Jesus told from the perspective of a writer rather than a religious scholar. In his book, Parini depicts Jesus from both a factual and a mythical view, describing him as “the human face of God” through whom believers can experience and understand God on a greater level.

Parini has written five books of poetry, among them “The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems” and eight novels, among them “Benjamin’s Crossing,” “The Apprentice Lover” and “The Passages of H.M.” His novel, “The Last Station” was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer.

His biographies include those of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost and William Faulkner. Parini has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Jay Parini is one of our leading public intellectuals in America,” said Richard Russell, Ph.D., professor of English in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “For some decades, he has issued a steady stream of essays and books arguing for literature’s relevance to our daily lives.”

Parini’s work on a broad range of figures such as Tolstoy, Faulkner, Frost, Jesus and Gore Vidal, suggests how literature acts as a cultural force with significant authority that leads us to consider fundamental questions of being human in a changing world, Russell said.

The Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities were established in 1982. The funds for the lecture series came from Virginia B. Ball, who named the series in honor of her mother, Mrs. John A. Beall, and Lily Russell, former dean of women at Baylor. Both graduated from Baylor in 1910.

The lectures provide an opportunity for the Baylor community to meet and hear speakers renowned in the humanities. Past lecturers have included Nobel Prize winner in literature Czeslaw Milosz, poet Maya Angelou and journalist Bill Moyers.

This event is free and open to the public. Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation is located at 1621 S. Third Street.

For more information, contact Kimberly Kellison.

by Bethany Harper , 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 16,000 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 12 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 25 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.

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