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Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

College of Arts & Science

Religious Studies Past Speakers


February 22, 2017

Dr. Paul V.M. Flesher will present, "Jesus Reading Scripture: Exploring the Archaeology of Worship in First Century Synagogues," on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in the Business Building, Room 9 from 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Abstract: In the study of ancient Judaism, our understanding of worship largely derives from texts, ranging from the Bible to the Dead Sea scrolls and rabbinic literature—and everything in between. Missing from the picture has been the remains of synagogues where such worship took place. This talk takes what we know about synagogue worship in the first century CE and portrays it in the archaeologically revealed architecture of actual synagogues. This move highlights the dynamics of both worship and social interaction encouraged by different synagogue plans, and casts different interpretative perspectives on the Gospel of Luke’s story of Jesus reading Scripture in the Nazareth synagogue.

February 8-9, 2017

Dr. Moshe Pinchuk, of Netanya Academic College, Israel, will present three events:
  • Wed., February 8, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 133; Dr. Pinchuk will introduce, screen and lead the post-film discussion on the award winning Israel film, "Footnote."
  • Thurs., February 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 103, Dr. Pinchuk will present "Challenges of living in a dual-culture dual calendar society."
  • Thurs., February 9, 2017 at 4:10 p.m. in the Classroom Building, Room 215, Dr. Pinchuk will present "David & Goliath's combat in the Light of Single-combat Narratives in the Illiad and other Greek Sources."

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Professor Menachem Mor, University of Haifa, will present two lectures on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. 

  • 1:20 p.m., Classroom Building Room 219, "Samaritans Past & Present"

    • Abstract: Menachem Mor is one of Israel’s leading experts on the tiny remnant of the Samaritan community and its long history, dating back, perhaps to the Assyrian conquest of Samaria. Perspectives from Jewish sources in late antiquity shed light on just what the “Samaritans” symbolized to the New Testament audience, and their fraught interactions with the mainstream Judean community. An ancient Jewish source suggests that they are an offshoot of Judaism and will be accepted as Jews when they “renounce Mt. Gerizim, and confess Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead.” In modern times, their numbers have declined but their status remains controversial, both in Israeli society and in their relations with Arab and Jewish neighbors; in 1994, the Israeli Supreme Court considered their status within the very complicated issue of eligibility for the Law of Return. This lecture treats the question "who is a  Samaritan?" according to a variety of ancient sources: Biblical, Mishnaic and Talmudic, contemporary considerations derived from the ancient sources, and how these influenced Samaritan status today. 
  • 5:10 p.m., Classroom Building Room 214, "Bar Kokhba: From Hebrew to English"

    • Abstract: Twenty-five years after Professor Menachem Mor published his path-breaking volume The Bar Kokhba Revolt: Its Extent and Effect (Hebrew, 1991), he produced an English, extended version, entitled The Second Jewish Revolt: The Bar Kokhba War 132-136 CE (2016). This rebellion was one of the major challenges to Rome in the first few centuries of Imperial rule, and the last attempt at Judean independence in antiquity. In this lecture, Professor Mor will review dilemmas, debates and corrections related to the new edition, methodological issues, and the contribution of Archaeology to the understanding of History. In addition, the lecture will address issues such as the date of the Revolt, the name of its leader, its geographical scope, and its outcome. 


    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    Dr. Tammy Heise, University of Wyoming, presented, "Ghost Dancing and the American Indian Movement's 1973 Takeover of Wounded Knee,"  

    • Abstract: This talk will trace the history of the Lakota Ghost Dance into the twentieth century, focusing on the political activism of the American Indian Movement’s “restoration” of Ghost Dance religion during the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Many histories have linked “authentic” American Indian identity to “traditional” reservation culture and have not examined the innovations in indigenous culture federal assimilation programs produced. In reality, U.S. Indian policy is connected to this trajectory of the Ghost Dance and confusion on this relationship has tended to divorce religion from politics in understanding the movement. Reconceptualizing AIM's expression of the Ghost Dance puts religion at the center of its conflict with the U.S. government.

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

    Professor Menachem Mor, University of Haifa, presented two lectures:
    • 1:20-2:35 p.m., Business Building, Room 9, “Samaritans Past & Present—Who are They?”
      • Abstract: Classic Jewish sources make it clear that they were considered Jews who had relinquished Judaism but would be accepted if they accepted “Jerusalem and the resurrection of the dead.” “Who is a Samaritan?”-- hotly disputed in ancient Jewish sources—emerged again in modern Israel with respect to the Law of Return, when they wanted to immigrate from Nablus to Israel and live as part of Israeli society. The first part of this lecture discusses a variety of ancient sources; the second part surveys how these considerations influenced the Supreme Court’s final decision.
    • 4:10 p.m., Classroom Building, Room 103, “Archeology vs. Historical Sources: What has Tel Shalem to do with the Bar Kokhba Revolt”
        • Abstract: The Bar Kochba Revolt (132-136 CE), often called the Second Jewish Rebellion, was a major attempt to restore Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Some see it as a central event in the history of the Roman Empire, inflicting heavy damage to the Roman army with both immediate effects and long-term implications. Walter Eck of the University of Cologne argues for a maximalist approach based in part on archaeological discoveries from Tel Shalem, in the Beth Shean Valley near the Jordan River: parts of a large bronze statue, a head identified as that of the Roman emperor Hadrian, and a monumental inscription. Mor’s lecture will question this approach, re-examining the archaeological evidence from Tel Shalem, and other places in Galilee, the historical background for the inscription and other evidence and their implications for the study of the Revolt.


    Mon, September 29, 2014

    Mon., September 29, 2014, Matteo Pistono, presented"Sacred Landscape and Pilgrimage inTibet." Co-sponsored with the Departments of Anthropology and Global Area Studies

        • Abstract: Experience what devout pilgrims endure on their arduous journey to remote caves, holy mountains, ancient hermitages and Himalayan power places. Join author Matteo Pistono for a photo presentation of his latest book Fearless in Tibet: The Life of the Mystic Tertön Sogyal. Pistono takes you on a visual pilgrimage into the heart of Tibet with stories and images from a decade of his travels to sacred sites. Pistono illuminates how pilgrims’ inner journeys create a shift in perception of terrain as wilderness to conceiving of it as a sacred panorama in which mountains and rivers, streams and glaciers, the very pebbles upon which their boots fall, are woven into a blessed landscape. Pistono will also discuss how Buddhist rituals and faith has defined the political topography of Tibet.

    October 23, 2014

    Thurs., October 23, 2014, Dr. Moshe Pinchuk of Netanya Academic College, Netanya Israel, will speak at two different events.

    • 1:20-2:35, Classroom Building Room 147, "The Jewish Wife Unchained." The talk will address the legal-halachic status of a married woman in Judaism, the modern agunah problem it generates, and some of the legal solutions available.
    • 5:00 p.m., Classroom Building Room 215, "Do Hercules and Samson Bow to the same Deity?" With brief responses by UW faculty members; Dr. Paul Flesher, Dr. Phil Holt, and Dr. Seth Ward

    March 12, 2015

    Latina/o Studies will be bringing in two guest speakers, on Thursday March 12, 2015 as part of a mini-Colloquium series on Chicano Spirituality. Mark your calendars to attend one or both of these events from 12:30-2:30 in the Business Building, Room 208.

    • Dr. Luis Leon, Professor at the University of Denver, will speak on "The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez."
    • Dr. Laura Elisa Perez, Associate Professor at the University of Calilfornia-Berkley, will speak on "Ero-Ideologies: Writings on Spirituality, Art and Decolonization."

    April 28, 2015

    Tues., April 28, 2015, Dr. Raphael Jospe, of Ariel University, will speak at two different events:

          • 11:00, Education Annex 229, "Faith and Reason: The Controversy Over Philosophy in Jewish History"
            • Abstract: What is the source of the tension between religious faith on the one side, and philosophy and science on the other side?  Why, in the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have so many adherents believed there to be an inherent conflict between faith and reason, and why, in the Middle Ages, did this lead to conflict, occasionally violent?  How did various Jewish thinkers attempt to reconcile the two?
        • 5:00, Berry Center Room 138, "The Significance of Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity and Islam"
          • Abstract: The second presentation is a public lecture on Jerusalem, entitled on “The Significance of Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.” We have found the 5 pm time slot maximizes the potential attendance for both university and community participants. The talk is tentatively scheduled in the Classroom Building at UW, about 40-50 minutes with time for questions. This talk is an outgrowth of Dr. Jospe’s interfaith work, most recently in Berlin, and earlier work with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with the Vatican, with Muslims in Jerusalem, and in other interfaith venues.



    Mon., February 17, 2014, Dr. Matthew Grey from Brigham Young University spoke on the excavations of the synagogue at Huqoq and its mosaics.


    Tues., February 4, 2014, Dr. Neeman.


    Thurs., January 30, 2014, Dr. Christine Thomas from the University of California-Santa Barbara presented "FindingPaul in the Landscape of the Ancient City: Urban Space at Ephesos, Real and Imagined"


    Thurs., January 23, 2014, Dr. Marc Shapiro from the University of Scranton presented "Academic Integrity in the Teaching of Religion: Did the Rabbis Lie About Their Sources?"

    9/19/13-9/2013 Goode Symposium

    Sponsored by the Goode Family Excellence Fund in Humanities, Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, and Gladys Crane Film Fund

    Thursday, September 19, Classroom Building, Room 142

        • Dr. William Eamon of New Mexico State University, presented "Medicine as a Hunt: The Pursuit of Secrets in Renaissance Science"
          • Abstract: Basically, I aimed to incorporate some of the themes you suggested, about medicine, language, and so forth. I'm going to talk about the metaphor of science/medicine as a hunt in the Renaissance and its implications for early modern medicine and natural history.
        • Dr. John Slater of University of Colorado-Boulder, presented "Medical Satire & the Language of Alchemy in 17th Century Spain”
          • Abstract: For the past 50 years, historians of science have understood the emergence of alchemical or chemical medicine during the 1680's to signal the dawn of scientific modernity in Spain.  At the same time, literary historians traditionally have identified the death of Pedro Calderón de la Barca in 1681 as marking the end of the Golden Age. It is, in some dubious tellings, as if the embers of artistic and literary greatness had to be extinguished in order to permit the flourishing of something innovative, international, and properly scientific.  Viewing the Spanish Baroque as an impediment to scientific and medical development overlooks the role that important writers—playwrights, preachers, and poets—played in making possible novel therapeutic practices related to chemical medicine.  Drawing on the works of Quevedo and Calderón, among others, this talk will examine how medical satire and dramatic tropes helped facilitate new medical and alchemical practices, as well as create rhetorical spaces for new alchemical discourses
        • Movie "Roujin Z"
          • This film is a savage satire about healthcare for the aged in the 21st century. As the story opens, scientists are alarmed that there are too many old people. A group of scientists and hospital administrators, under the direction of the Ministry of Public Welfare, develop a computerized hospital bed with robotic features. The Z-001 takes complete care of the patient and is driven by its own built-in nuclear power reactor. A compassionate young nurse, determined to help an elderly man strapped to one of these revolutionary healthcare beds, starts a series of unexpected consequences. Thus begins a wild chase through the busy streets of Tokyo as the supercomputer/bed/life-support system begins to have the personality of the old man's ex-wife (who just wants to spend the afternoon at the beach) as the government's secret project unfolds.  Written by major anime figure Katsuhiro Otomo, whose “Akira” (1990) was an animated vision of a nightmare future urban world.

    Friday, September 20, Classroom Building, Room 142

        • Dr. Amy Vidali of University of Colorado-Boulder, presented "Tipping the Pain Scale: Past and Present Narratives of Gastrointestinal Disorder and Distress”
          • Abstract: This talk considers representations of gastrointestinal disorder and distress in women by examining nineteenth century and contemporary medical discourse, with attention to the loss of patient narrative in an age of pain assessment, and the role of advertisements that encourage women to self-diagnose and cure loosely-identified GI problems.


    Tues., March 5, 2013

    Dr. Quincy Newell of UW Religious Studies, presented "Marginal Mormons: Race and Religious Identity in the Noneteenth-Century Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"

        • Abstract: The conventional wisdom is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is and always has been almost entirely white.  However, both African Americans and Native Americans have formed a part of the church since its founding in the nineteenth century.  This talk explores some of the ways in which race and religious experience shaped one another for some of these early non-white Mormons.

    Mon., January 28, 2013

    Dr. June McDaniel of Charleston University, presented "When Many Gods Become One God: Indonesia & the Unity of the World Religions"

        • Field of Study: Scholar of Religion; History of Religion; World Religions; Religion in India and Indonesia
        • Publications: Perceiving the Divine through the Human Body, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011; Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal, New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; Making Virtuous Daughters and Wives:  An Introduction to Women's Brata Rituals in Bengali Folk Religion, Albany: SUNY Press, 2003; The Madness of the Saints: Ecstatic Religion in Bengal. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

    October 7 - 31, 2012

    Manifold Greatness Exhibit. 

     Tues., September 25, 2012

    Dr. Steven Prothero of Boston University


    Tues., February 28, 2012

    Dr. Tyler Roberts of Grinnell College, presented “Evaluating Place of Religion in the Humanities Today”

    Abstract: Based on research from his book, Encountering Religion: Responsibility and Criticism After Secularism, (Columbia University Press, forthcoming), Dr. Roberts discusses where the study of religion stands in the Humanities today, the ground-breaking shifts that have taken place in the discipline of Religious Studies, and what the humanistic study of religion potentially offers to the social sciences.

    Thurs., Nov 3, 2011

    Dr. Sidnie Crawford, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, presented "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible: What the Dead Sea Scrolls Reveal about Scripture's Fluidity and the Old Testament Canon,"

    Abstract: The Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionized our understanding of how the Bible came to be. Although previous generations of scholars were able to draw a sharp distinction between “Biblical” and “non-Biblical” Jewish writings—and attempt to recover the “original text” of scripture, we now know that to be impossible. This presentation will examine the new evidence from the Scrolls for how the text of the Biblical books reached its present form, using examples from the Dead Sea Scrolls. It will also guide us through the process of the canonization of Jewish scripture, explaining how the books that make up the Jewish Bible (the Christian Old Testament) were chosen.


    Thurs., April 7, 2011

    The Fragmentation of Reality: Joseph Smith's Radical Remedy presented by Dr. Phil Barlow of Utah State University

    Tues., March 1, 2011

    Professor Xu Xin of Diane and Guildford Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies at Nanjing University presented two talks

        • China - Israel Relations
        • Religion and Religious Studies in China


    Fri., September 18

    The Clock and the Compass: Steering Toward Zion presented by Dr. Laurie Maffly-Kipp of UNC-Chapel Hill 

    2008 - 2009

    Thurs., February 12

    Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935 - 1943presented by Dr. Colleen McDannell of the University of Utah 

    Fri., September 26

    Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons. Film screening and discussion with producers Darius Gray and Margaret Blair Young

    From Galatia to Ghana: The Racial Dynamic in Mormon History. Lecture by Armand L. Mauss

    Mon, October 13

    Promises and Perils:  American Indian Religions in the Academy. Public Forum featuring Dr. Ines Talamantez and Dr. Donald Fixico a

    The Metaphysical Reality of American Indian History presented by Dr. Donald Fixico

    Female Rites of Passage: Initiating Apache Girls to the World of Spiritual and Cultural Values presented by Dr. Ines Talamantez

    2007 - 2008

    The Meanings of Marriage: Judges, Defendants, and Legal Change in Territorial Utah,

    2006 - 2007

    Jan Shipps, "Locating Mormonism on the American Religious Landscape"
    October 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the UW Education Auditorium.

    Wendy Doniger, "Creation Myths in Hinduism"
    December 4th at 5:00 p.m. in the Agriculture Auditorium

    Richard Bushman, "Joseph Smith's Place in History"
    March 2nd at 7:00 p.m., Fine Arts Concert Hall

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