Students from Across the Country Travel to Baylor for Conference on Studying Great Texts Within Christian Framework

May 14, 2010

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Fifteen students from across the country who are in the Lilly Fellows Programs in Humanities and the Arts will travel to Baylor University May 16 to 20 for the conference "Engaging Great Texts Within the Christian Tradition."

The conference will be sponsored by Baylor and the Lilly program, which is based at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.

Among works to be discussed will be the movie Tender Mercies, writings of the philosopher/theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, the poetry of Virgil and the writings of Flannery O'Connor.

During the event, students will take part in a colloquium about reading great texts within the Christian tradition, said Dr. Michael Beaty, a faculty mentor in the Lilly Graduate Fellows program and chair of philosophy at Baylor.

With respect to great texts, both Eastern and Western, "We are trying to help them think, `How would you read this as a Christian? How would you teach it in ways that are faithful to the text, faithful to your own framework as a Christian and faithful to the best academic standards possible?'" he said.

For example, "Some of these great texts written by Christians are now read as if they weren't by Christians," Beaty said. "Doing so is to excise or ignore the way in which Flannery O'Connor short stories and novels were shaped by and reflected her sacramental and incarnational understanding of Catholic Christianity. Whether you're Christian or not, if you understand this framework you'll grasp themes in her novels and short stories you would miss otherwise. That's part of what's at stake."

He said that the students, who are at a variety of major research universities and plan careers in teaching and research, want their academic careers to be an expression of their Christian commitment -- a Christian vocation.

Conference speakers will be:

• Dr. Susan Colon, an associate professor of Literature in the Honors Program at Baylor University

• Dr. Douglas Henry, associate professor of philosophy in the Honors College and Master of Brooks Residential College

• Dr. Julia Dyson Hejduk, an associate professor of classics at Baylor University

• Dr. Thomas Hibbs, Distinguished Professor of ethics and culture and dean of the Honors College at Baylor University

• Dr. Victor J. Hinojosa, associate professor of political science in the Honors Program at Baylor University

• Dr. Scott H. Moore, associate professor of philosophy and great texts and director of the Great Texts Program in the Honors College at Baylor University.

• Dr. Jonathan Tran, assistant professor of theological ethics in the religion department at Baylor University

• Dr. Ralph C. Wood, professor of theology and literature at Baylor.

Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321

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