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THE INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED THEOLOGY AT BARD COLLEGE PRESENTS A LUNCHEON LECTURE DISCUSSION WITH AUTHORS BRUCE CHILTON AND JACOB NEUSNER ON NOVEMBER 7 Book signing for Chilton’s Mary Magdalene: A Biography and Altruism in World Religions, edited by Chilton and Neusner, follows discussion

Emily M. Darrow
845-758-7512
darrow@bard.edu
11-07-2005
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Institute of Advanced Theology (IAT) at Bard College offers a luncheon lecture/discussion with authors Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner on Monday, November 7. The luncheon begins at noon, followed by the lecture/discussion at 12:30 p.m., in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. A book signing, presented by the Bard College Bookstore, follows the discussion. Admission for the luncheon is $15 or $12 for members of the Institute; preregistration is requested. Why is so little known about Mary Magdalene? Why, despite her prominence, do the Gospels say so little about her? And why has the Catholic Church for thousands of years sought to marginalize her importance? These are just a few of the questions for which Bruce Chilton provides answers in his authoritative and meticulously researched book, Mary Magdalene: A Biography, to be released by Doubleday on November 1. Chilton examines the truth of Mary’ relationship with Jesus and the central role that she played in his ministry. One traditional belief that he challenges—as there is no historical evidence to support it—is that Mary Magdalene was a penitent prostitute. Challenging the antifeminist history of Christianity that continues to influence modern portrayals of Mary, Chilton offers an accessible, controversial portrait that brings to light one of the most fascinating figures in the Bible. Chilton will discuss his research in more detail during the lecture/discussion. The term “altruism” was coined in 1830 by philosopher Auguste Comte, to provide a general definition for the act of selflessly caring for others. But does this modern conception of sacrificing one’s own interests for the well-being of others apply to the charitable behaviors encouraged by all world religions? Last November at Bard, the Institute sponsored a conference, Altruism in World Religions, to explore this idea. On November 5 Georgetown University Press will release a volume, edited by Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton that contains papers from that conference, in which prominent scholars from an array of religious perspectives probe the definition of altruism to determine whether it is a category that serves to advance the study of religion. During the lecture/discussion, Professors Neusner and Chilton will examine the conclusions drawn from the conference. For further information or to register for the luncheon lecture/discussion and book signing, call the Institute at 845-758-7279, e-mail iat@bard.edu, or visit the website www.bard.edu/iat. # About the Presenters Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Philosophy and Religion, executive director of the Institute of Advanced Theology, and chaplain of the College, is a scholar of early Christianity and Judaism, and 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). Mary Magdalene: A Biography, will be released by Doubleday in November 2005. Chilton’s 2004 book, Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography, was a selection of the Book of the Month Club, History Book Club, American Compass, and Reader’s Subscription. 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. Jacob Neusner, senior fellow of Bard’s Institute of Advanced Theology and Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard, received a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary and a rabbinical degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also holds seven honorary doctorates and numerous other academic honors. He has published more than 975 books and articles. He has taught at Dartmouth College, Brown University, and the University of South Florida, among others. He is a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, and life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University, in England. Neusner was president of the American Academy of Religion, a member of the founding committee of the Association for Jewish Studies, and founder of the European Association of Jewish Studies. He served on the National Council on the Humanities under President Carter and National Council on the Arts under President Reagan. Neusner’s research professorship at Bard College is supported, in part, by a grant from the Tisch Family Foundation of New York City. The Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College 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. For further information, visit www.bard.edu/iat. # # # (10/14/05)

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This event was last updated on 11-08-2005