Department of Religion, UGA
Professor Theodore J. Lewis accepted the Blum-Iwry Professorship in Near Eastern
Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, effective July 1, 2002.
He is teaching Hebrew Bible and Northwest Semitic philology and religion in the
Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Lewis joined the UGA religion department
in 1987. He also served on the Graduate, Honors, and Linguistics faculties and
as a member of the Arts & Sciences Promotion and Tenure Committee.
The Abbot of Holy Spirit Abbey in Conyers, GA spoke April 2, 2002 at the departments
annual lecture in religious studies. Right Reverend Abbot Dom M. Basil Pennington,
OCSO met with graduate students and faculty and then presented a public evening
lecture on "Contemplative Prayer."
Father Basil joined the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance in 1951
and was consecrated a monk in 1956. He is widely recognized for his spiritual
writings and pioneering work in the Cistercian community. Some of his recent works
include Lectio Divina: Renewing the Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures
(Crossroad) and Living in the Question (Continuum). Father Basil was elected
abbot of Our Lady of Holy Spirit Abbey in August 2000.
Maintaining distance of church and state has often meant the exclusion of the
Bible from public schools. Now an innovative approach by Matthew Hicks respects
the constitutional separation while providing age-appropriate instruction about
Hicks received his Masters in Religious Studies from UGA in 2001. His thesis,
How to Teach About the Bible in Public Schools, was completed under direction
of Dr. Theodore J. Lewis. In his thesis Hicks provided sample lessons plans for
presenting the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible to students in a scholarly manner. The
lessons integrate the humanities, drawing upon history, art, geography, and other
areas. The overall tone of the material is neutral and without presumption as
to a students religious beliefs.
Hicks developed 35 lesson plans on the Hebrew Scriptures for use in public secondary
schools, which the National Bible Foundation plans to publish. In February 2002
the curriculum, entitled "Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures," was
approved by the Tennessee State Department of Education and was subsequently adopted
by the Shelby County School Board in Memphis.
Dr. Jace Weaver joins the religion department faculty August 2002. He's
coming from Yale University, where he taught in the American Studies Program,
Religious Studies Department, and the Law School. Dr. Weaver is a graduate of
Union Theological Seminary and Columbia Law School. At UGA, he is scheduled to
teach Introduction to Religion in Native American Cultures (RELI 2004) in fall
2002 and in spring 2003 as an honors course (RELI 2004H).
MA student Kime Lawson received an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award at
2002 Honors Day ceremonies. Lawson taught Introduction to Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam (RELI 1001) fall and spring semesters. His graduate studies are in Theology
with Dr. Will Power. The award recognizes outstanding efforts in instruction as
the recipients teaching performance ranks in the top ten percent of all
TAs serving the University.
Associate Professor T. B. Slater was re-elected to the steering committee of the
African American Biblical Hermeneutics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature,
the largest learned society for biblical studies in the world. He has accepted
an invitation to write a commentary on 1, 2, & 3 John in Determined To Be
Free, a forthcoming project by a team of African American New Testament scholars.
Dr. Slater recently completed reviewing two introductory textbooks on religious
studies for Wadsworth Publishing Co. He is currently working on an article on
the poor-rich theme in Luke and nearing completion on two monographs, one on the
son of man question and one on Greco-Roman religious thought.
Associate Professor Russell Kirkland, after twelve years as review editor of
the Journal of Chinese Religions, has accepted the position as East Asia Area
Editor for Religious Studies Review, in which he has published regularly since
1988. He was also recently elected to the steering committee of the AAR Chinese
Religions Group. In fall 2001 he presented a paper entitled "Inspecting the
Lens: Reflections on J. J. Clarkes The Tao of the West" at the AAR
annual meeting; another entitled "Varieties of Taoist Practice: Pedagogical
Models for Teaching Taoist Self-Cultivation," at the University
of Colorado; and another entitled "The Taoist Priest (Tao-shih) in Early
China: History and Perceptions," at the Southeast Early China Roundtable,
an organization on whose board of directors he continues to serve. This spring
he presented a plenary address, "Paradigms For Transforming Reality,"
at the international Conference on Tantra and Taoism at Boston University. He
continues to serve on the board of directors of the Society for the Study of Chinese
Religions, as well as on the board of the U. S. Taoist Association. At UGA, he
has been appointed to the Medieval Studies Faculty, and was awarded a Foreign
Travel Grant from the University of Georgia Research Foundation. He also remains
the moderator of the Alpha Gamma Tau chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national
Honor Society for Theology and Religious Studies.
Professor William L. Power has authored "Myth and Pragmatic Semiotics,"
which will appear in the book In Thinking Through Myths: Philosophical
Perspectives forthcoming in spring 2002. Also forthcoming is "Divine
Perfection: A Process Philosophical Theology" in a book on process theology.
Dr. Power was a respondent to a paper at the Society for Philosophy of Religion
in February. In March he presented "Peircean Abduction and Philosophical
Theology" at the American Academy of Religions annual meeting. At AAR
he also served as a panel member of a Symposium on the Philosophy of Frederick
Ferré. In April2002 Dr. Power served as a respondent to Alistair Kees
paper "Nietzsche and Christians with Beautiful Feet" at the University
of South Carolina conference Philosophy of Religion at the Turn of the 21st Century.
Associate Professor Carolyn Medine gave the AAR/SECSOR Presidential Address
at the regional meeting in Atlanta in March 2002. She spoke on Sophocles'
Oedipus at Colonus and the African American Pentecostal-Holiness reworking,
The Gospel at Colonus. She co-presented a paper at the Southern Humanities
Council with John Randolph LeBlanc of the University of Texas at Tyler on transitive
identity and postcolonial writing. Summer 2002 Dr. Medine will teach in two Wabash
Center workshops, one for undergraduate teachers and the other for pre-tenure
African American faculty.