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“THE BIBLE AS LITERATURES” IS THE TOPIC OF THE 2006 LENTEN LECTURE SERIES AT BARD COLLEGE Weekly series with the Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton runs March 8 through April 5

Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The 2006 Lenten Lecture Series, “The Bible as Literatures,” presented by the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College, will begin on Wednesday, March 8, and continue through Wednesday, April 5. Offered by the Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton, the weekly luncheon/lectures meet in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center at 12:00 noon. The cost for each lecture (including lunch) is $15, $12 for members of the Institute of Advanced Theology. As space is limited, preregistration is requested. “No other single book has exerted the depth and range of influence that the Bible has,” says Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Bard. “Its impact has most prominently been conveyed by the practice of Judaism and Christianity. The Bible tells tell the story of God’s people, shapes their identity through prophecy, and informs their understanding with a rich variety of writings. The Torah (or ‘Law’), the Prophets, and the Writings are the three main divisions of the Hebrew Bible. Christians recognize as the Bible not only the Scriptures of Israel, but also 27 documents that describe or that derive from the persons and events that gave rise to faith in Jesus. Christians designate this second group as ‘the New Testament’ and refer to the sacred Jewish writings as ‘the Old Testament.’ In addition to the writings included in the canons of the Bible, there are a number of writings that some communities, past and present, have regarded as of equal value, or as essential supplements to the biblical sources. Included in some Christian Bibles, for example, are the Wisdom of Solomon and 1 and 2 Maccabees. Some early churches used Gospels other than the four now found in the New Testament.” Chilton concludes, “We shall examine writings widely accepted as authoritative, but also look at a number of the writings that were given official status only by some groups within Judaism and Christianity. An awareness of this penumbra of literatures around official canons helps us appreciate the diversity of belief and practice within Judaism and Christianity, and to see the links between the biblical tradition and the religions of antiquity, as well as that tradition’s links with with Islam.” Bruce Chilton—who is also executive director of the Institute of Advanced Theology and chaplain of the College—is a scholar of early Christianity and Judaism, and the author of the first critical translation of the Aramaic version of Isaiah (The Isaiah Targum, 1987). He has written academic studies that put Jesus in his Jewish context (Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography, 2000; Pure Kingdom, 1996; The Temple of Jesus, 1992; and The Galilean Rabbi and His Bible, 1984). Doubleday recently released his book Mary Magdalene: A Biography, and Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography, is now in paperback. Chilton has taught in Europe at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Münster, and in the United States at Yale University (as the first Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament) and Bard College. Throughout his career, he has been active in the pastoral ministry of the Anglican Church; he is currently rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Barrytown, New York. The Institute of Advanced Theology (IAT) was established to foster critical understanding based on scholarship, which aims to make true religious pluralism possible. Since its inception in 1996, the Institute’s work has focused on how religions influence history, society, and other religions, and are in turn influenced by them. The Institute gratefully acknowledges support from members of the Institute, the Crohn Family Trust, and Tisch Family Foundation, as well as grants from The Levy Economics Institute and Bard College. The Institute presents a three-day conference, “Historical Knowledge in Graeco-Roman, Judaic, and Christian Antiquity: What Kinds of Questions Can We Answer?” from Tuesday, April 25, through Thursday, April 27, in the Weis Cinema of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. Chaired by professors Jacob Neusner, Bruce D. Chilton, and William Scott Green, participants include Alan J. Avery-Peck, College of the Holy Cross; William Scott Green, University of Rochester; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, University of Iowa; Gary G. Porton, University of Illinois; Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University; and Bard professors Bruce Chilton, Caroline Dewald, and Jacob Neusner. Admission is free; a complete schedule will be posted on the website Concluding the spring 2006 IAT programs is a luncheon series with Rabbi Lawrence Troster that explores topics of science, the environment, and religion. The series meets weekly at noon from Wednesday, May 3, through May 17, in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. The cost for each lecture (including lunch) is $15 or $12 for members of the Institute of Advanced Theology. As space is limited, preregistration is requested. For further information or to register for the series, call the Institute office at 845-758-7279, e-mail, or visit the website # # # (2/20/06

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This event was last updated on 04-04-2006