|World-renowned scholars gather for "Bodies in Space and Time" workshop
|The Muilenburg-Koenig History of Religion Seminar brought together 17 scholars for an intense two-day exchange of ideas around the theme “Bodies in Space and Time” on San Francisco Theological Seminary’s beautiful campus.
Scholars came from the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford, Pepperdine, the University of Arizona, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Free University of Berlin, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Pacific School of Religion, and the Graduate Theological Union. The workshop also included presentations by five SFTS faculty and contributions by a select group of seminary students and three PhD students from the Graduate Theological Union, with another fifteen faculty and students attending.
The goal of the workshop was to create conversations over a wide array of fields relevant to the study of the Bible and theology in their broadest historical and cultural contexts, including Greek and Roman archeology, Roman history, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, the New Testament, Hebrew Bible, rabbinics, colonial history, early Christian art and architecture, literary criticism, medieval history, Byzantine art history, Dutch Renaissance art, liturgical studies, queer theory, and theology.
The workshop considered bodies as conditions of collective or individual experience, the manner in which bodies and spaces are constructed in particular historical and cultural situations, and the corporeal and spatial dimensions of religious rites, beliefs, sites, and practices, especially in the contexts of the Ancient Near East and Greek and Roman antiquity, medieval and early modern Europe, Africa and the African Diaspora, and America and Europe today.
Christopher Ocker, SFTS Professor of History, introduced the workshop with observations about the relativity of spatial and corporeal knowledge in the history of European culture.
SFTS Associate Professor of Old Testament Annette Schellenberg spoke on “Spaces, Bodies, and God: On the Priestly Understanding of Holiness,” focusing on priestly purity in the literature of the Old Testament.
SFTS Associate Professor of New Testament Annette Weissenrieder spoke on leprosy healing in the Gospel according to Luke, in “Stories Just under the Skin: Leprosy.”
SFTS Professor of American Religion James Noel explored “The Spatial Dimension of Black Embodiment.”
SFTS Associate Professor of Systematic Theology Gregory Love examined the relationship of God and nature in the theology of Karl Barth, in “Does God Have a Body? Trinity, Spirit, and Nature in Karl Barth’s Doctrine of God.”
Other contributions explored clerical vestments, the baptism of aborted fetuses in colonial Guatemala, Augustine and slavery, the poetic figure of race in William Blake, and much more.
The seminar is funded by a gift from Rev. Dr. Robert Koenig (SFTS Class of 1969) in memory of the distinguished scholar, the late James Muilenburg, Professor of Old Testament at the SFTS.