The Harper Lecture series is offered to the University community across the country and around the world by the University of Chicago Alumni Association. Named for the University's first President, William Rainey Harper, the series carries on his vision of broadly accessible and innovative education.
In a May 2012 column, journalist Mark Oppenheimer argued that, in the American media scene, the comedian Jon Stewart is a religion teacher extraordinaire. Much can be said about this judgment on Stewart (which has predictably raised some strong reactions on both sides), but what is perhaps universally agreed is Oppenheimer's appraisal that it is difficult "to find good writing about religion" and "harder still to find good television about religion." By examining several case studies plucked from recent headlines, Mitchell will explore the question of the proper role of the academic study of religion in relation to contemporary media coverage.
Margaret M. Mitchell, AM'82, PhD'89, is dean of the Divinity School and the Shailer Mathews professor of New Testament and early Christian literature. She is a literary historian of ancient Christianity whose research and teaching span a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings through the end of the fourth century. Author of four books and coeditor (with Frances M. Young) of the 2006 Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1: Origins to Constantine, her current projects include a volume of translations of occasional sermons by John Chrysostom on Pauline passages (for the Writings from the Greco-Roman World series) and a commentary on 2 Corinthians. She has lectured on topics including "How Biblical is the Christian Right?" and "Playing with Fire: The Task of the Divinity School."
$20 general admission; $10 recent graduate (College alumni of the past ten years and graduate alumni of the past five years).
Margaret M. Mitchell AM'82, PhD'89 (Speaker)
Dean and Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature, The University of Chicago - Divinity School
Margaret M. Mitchell is a literary historian of ancient Christianity. Her research and teaching span a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings up through the end of the fourth century. She analyzes how the earliest Christians literally wrote their way into history, developing a literary and religious culture that was deeply embedded in Hellenistic Judaism and the wider Greco-Roman world, while also proclaiming its distinctiveness from each. Special interests include the Pauline letters (both in their inaugural moments and in the history of their effects), the poetics and politics of ancient biblical interpretation, and the intersection of text, image, and artifact in the fashioning of early Christian culture.
Prof. Mitchell is the author of four books: Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation (1991); The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation (2000); The "Belly-Myther" of Endor: Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in the Early Church (with Rowan A. Greer, 2007), and Paul, the Corinthians and the Birth of Christian Hermeneutics (2010). She is also the co-editor, with Frances M. Young, of The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1: Origins to Constantine (2006). Recent articles include "The Poetics and Politics of Christian Baptism in the Abercius Monument" (2011), "The Continuing Problem of Particularity and Universality within the corpus Paulinum: Chrysostom on Romans 16:3" (2011) and "Peter's 'Hypocrisy' and Paul's: Two 'Hypocrites' at the Foundation of Earliest Christianity?" (2012).
Prof. Mitchell's current projects include a volume of translations of occasional sermons by John Chrysostom on Pauline passages (for the Writings From the Greco-Roman World series) and a commentary on 2 Corinthians.