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The Heart of the Stranger
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On Monday, April 29, join the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) for The Heart of the Stranger, a seminar to examine the role and definition of the term “stranger” in biblical texts. It will be hosted by three SFTS professors: Dr. Annette Weissenrieder, Associate Professor of New Testament; Dr. Annette Schellenberg, Associate Professor of Old Testament; and Rev. Dr. Jana Childers, Professor of Homiletics and Speech Communication.

The place of the “stranger” or “alien” in Judeo-Christian communities has long been contested. Who is in? Who is out? Is there a line at all anymore? Questions about borders, fences, and the Castle Doctrine (Defense of Habitation Law) compound the contemporary discussion.

What does Scripture say about “strangers” and “foreigners”? What attitudes towards them are reflected in Biblical texts? The Old Testament uses the word in widely different contexts, seeming in some places to put forward conflicting views. In the
New Testament, the term has yet more uses, including those related to pagan temple settings and immigration issues. What wisdom do these texts offer the beleaguered twenty-first century church?

This seminar will examine Scripture and Christian experience in an effort to uncover a basis for ministry with “the other”.

Thou shall not oppress a stranger; you know the heart of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)

Dr. Annette Weissenrieder is Associate Professor of New Testament. Her research interests include NT miracle stories and anthropology, and the connections between the New Testament and ancient medicine, iconography and architecture. Her latest book is Contested Space (2011; co-edited with David Balch). The German native has been a visiting scholar at Union Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School.

Dr. Annette Schellenberg is Associate Professor of Old Testament. Her research interests include Old Testament wisdom literature, anthropology, priestly thinking, and the interconnections between the Old Testament and its ancient Near Eastern environment. She completed her PhD on Ecclesiastes and the problem of human cognition at Zurich University. Her latest book is Humankind, The imageof God? (2011; in German).

Rev. Dr. Jana Childers is Professor of Homiletics and Speech Communication and holds a PhD from the GTU and Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. A popular conference speaker, she has also been featured by the Chicago PBS show “Thirty Good Minutes” and on the “Great Preachers” television series. Childers has written, edited and contributed to many books and articles on the art of preaching, including the award-winning Birthing the Sermon:Women Preachers on Creative Process.


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