The William Henry Hoover Lectures were established at the Disciples Divinity House in 1945 to encourage a vital discussion of Christian unity. Today the conversation has widened to include interreligious perspectives. The lectures explore the issues with which Christians wrestle as they seek to understand and share life before God in the midst of the whole, interconnected world.
Previous Hoover Lecture series have explored “The Civil Rights Movement as an Ecumenical and Interfaith Movement” and “Humanity Before God: Contemporary Faces of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Ethics,” both of those in conjunction with the Divinity School’s Sharpe Lectures. In 2005 “A Celebration of the Arts” combined lectures and performances to explore religion and the arts.
Hoover Lecturers have included Larry Bouchard, Taylor Branch, Frank Burch Brown, James Cone, John Cobb, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, James Gustafson, Vincent Harding, Ronne Hartfield, Beverly Wildung Harrison, Mark Jarman, Bernard McGinn, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Bernice Johnson Reagan, and William Schweiker.
Culturing Theologies, Theologizing Cultures:
Exploring the Worlds of Religion
April 22–23, 2009
The D. R. Sharpe Lectures, The Divinity School
Co-sponsor: The William Henry Hoover Lectures, Disciples Divinity House
This conference brought together scholars and practitioners to re-examine the role and value of culture in theological reflection and the role and value of theology in cultural reflection. Where and how do new theologies and theories of culture intersect? How do these emergent perspectives aid interpretation of and engagement within the ecumene, the whole encultured world?
Conference organizers were Garry Sparks and Chris Dorsey; both are Ph.D. candidates in Theology and Disciples Divinity House Scholars. They explain, “The conference’s structure reflects the working hypothesis that the study of specific cultures and critical analysis of theological claims cannot be mutually exclusive, especially if historic ‘non-persons’ are to be taken seriously and considered integral to such reflection and analysis.” Attention will be given to issues of motivation, aspects of power and agency, shifts in understandings of “spirituality” and the secular, regard for global trends and media or virtual ecologies, and emphasis on traditionally non-elite and semi-literate populations, all in light of contributions made by emergent local theologies.
University of Michigan anthroplogist Webb Keane, author of Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter, keynoted the conference. Kathryn Tanner, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Theology in the Divinity School, gave the opening lecture. William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Marty Center, gave the closing lecture. University of Virginia professor and DDH Board president Larry Bouchard spoke about art, secularism, and “spirituality.”
Other speakers included University of Chicago anthropologists Jean Comaroff and Robin Shoaps, Morehouse College president and social ethicist Robert Franklin, and Columbia philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne. Two sets of panel presentations explored theological worlds within contemporary Palestine, Southern India, and Senegal, and historic intersections of cultures and ideas including sixteenth-century Spanish scholastic humanism and land theology in the book of Leviticus. Panelists include Mr. Sparks, Mr. Dorsey, and also Disciples Divinity House Scholars Kristel Clayville and Santiago Piñón, Jr.
For additional information, see the Divinity School's Martin Marty Center.See the calendar of events.