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Monday, September 24, 2007

Religious Literacy is More Than Reading the Bible


That is the title of Westar's Fall Meeting.

For more than twenty years, Westar has fostered open, honest dialogue between biblical scholars, clergy, and lay people on the crucial issues of Jesus and Christianity. At this four-day event, biblical scholars from around the globe will address the role of women in early Christianity, the influence of Paul of Tarsus, and concepts of the afterlife. All events are open to the general public. (Read More)



They have some interesting scholars who will present including
Karen Jo Torjesen. She is the Dean of Claremont Graduate University School of Religion and the author of When Women were Priests.



Her workshop is entitled, “Sex, Sin and Women: A Social History of Original Sin.” According the press release she will


explore questions of male honor, female shame and the fall into sexuality in early Christianity. She points out that, even before Christianity, a reputation for chastity secured a woman’s honor and established her social worth, whereas male honor was definitely not enhanced by chastity.




Also presenting is Alan Segal.He is Professor of Religion at Columbia University in New York. His workshop is entitled, "The Social Sources of the Afterlife."




In every culture, Segal says, people ask the same questions about their existence, including "what happens after we die”? He will explore the connections between notions of the afterlife, the societies that produced them, and the search for the ultimate meaning of life on earth.






Heikki Raisanen is a retired professor of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Helsinki, Finland.




He is the author of a
number of books including Paul and the Law and Marcion, Muhammad & the Mahatma: Exegetical Perspectives on the Encounter of Cultures & Faiths. He will deliver the keynote address: “A Controversial Jew: Paul & His Conflicting Convictions.”

Räisänen will raise the question of Paul’s role in the development of formative Christianity, asking, what difference did (and does) Paul make?
In addition to the workshops, the Fellows will continue their work on early Christian origins, the book of Acts and the Liturgy and Literacy Seminar will meet.

I am a member of the Liturgy and Literacy Seminar but will be unable to make this meeting. If you have never been to a Westar meeting, you owe yourself a trip to Santa Rosa. Here is a poster.

Here is more information about the scholars and the schedule.


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