Confucianism Then and Now

Event Date: Thursday February 25, 2016
Time: 5:15 p.m. Reception, 5:45 p.m. Lecture
Location: Meadows Museum, Jones Hall

Join SMU Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Johan Elverskog as he continues the 2016 Spring Godbey Lecture Series. Please RSVP at https://godbey2016.eventbrite.com or 214-768-3527. For more information http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events

Religious Studies Professor Mark Chancey provides expertise for Smithsonian Magazine cover story

Smithsonian Magazine

Originally Posted: December 16, 2015

January/February 2016 issue

Unearthing the World of Jesus

By Ariel Sabar

As he paced the dusty shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, Father Juan Solana had a less-than-charitable thought about the archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority: He wanted them to go away.

Everything else had fallen into place for the Christian retreat he planned to build here. . . (But) It was there, beneath a wing of the proposed guesthouse, that their picks clinked against the top of a buried wall.

Dina Avshalom-Gorni, an IAA official who oversaw digs in northern Israel, ordered all hands to this square of the excavation grid. The workers squatted in the mealy soil and dusted carefully with brushes. Soon, a series of rough-cut stone benches emerged around what looked like a sanctuary.

It can’t be, Avshalom-Gorni thought.

The Gospels say that Jesus taught and “proclaimed the good news” in synagogues “throughout all Galilee.” But despite decades of digging in the towns Jesus visited, no early first-century synagogue had ever been found. . .

But as Avshalom-Gorni stood at the edge of the pit, studying the arrangement of benches along the walls, she could no longer deny it: They’d found a synagogue from the time of Jesus, in the hometown of Mary Magdalene. Though big enough for just 200 people, it was, for its time and place, opulent. It had a mosaic floor; frescoes in pleasing geometries of red, yellow and blue; separate chambers for public Torah readings, private study and storage of the scrolls; a bowl outside for the ritual washing of hands. . .

The ultimate find—physical proof of Jesus himself—has also been elusory. “The sorts of evidence other historical figures leave behind are not the sort we’d expect with Jesus,” says Mark Chancey, a religious studies professor at Southern Methodist University and a leading authority on Galilean history. “He wasn’t a political leader, so we don’t have coins, for example, that have his bust or name. He wasn’t a sufficiently high-profile social leader to leave behind inscriptions. In his own lifetime, he was a marginal figure and he was active in marginalized circles.” READ MORE

Joan of Arc docudrama features Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams and Bonnie Wheeler

The Gospel Herald

Originally Posted: November 18, 2015

Joan of Arc, a groundbreaking docudrama featuring the true story of the young heroine-turned-saint who led the French army to victory over the British during the Hundred Years’ War, will premiere this Thanksgiving holiday on BUYtv.

The thrilling new docudrama was written and directed by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Russell Holt and shares the incredible story of how the deep faith of a humble farm girl enabled her to lead her country to victory, making her one of the most revered Christian figures in all of history. ”

Joan of Arc tells the tale of a simple girl whose steadfast commitment to her personal beliefs and religious faith led her to become a martyr, a military leader and the patron Saint of France by the age of 19,” reads the film’s press release. “Her profound dedication to her faith coupled with her ability to establish strong principles at a young age guided her, France and eventually the United States, to greatness.”

Filmed in France, the docudrama is told in Joan’s own words and uses actual 15th century records of her trial for heresy. In addition, Ryan Little, the award-winning director of photography, brings to life historically accurate dramatic re-enactments of events and battles in their actual locations throughout France. ”

While the story of Joan of Arc has been presented on-screen before and most often told through the lens of the battlefield, our film is told in Joan’s own words from a perspective of faith,” said Derek Marquis, managing director of BYUtv. ”

Although we depict elaborate battle scenes and military strategy, we present a unique mixture of her history and faith, interspersing expert commentary, dramatic re-enactments and angelic visitations. By examining in-depth the short, yet focused life of Joan – a young farm girl who was chosen by God to crown a King and save a nation – our program provides viewers a detailed explanation as to why her tale resonates with people of all faiths.”

The docudrama will also feature a number of renowned historians and religious leaders, including Helen R. Castor Ph.D., Bye-Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Author of Joan of Arc: A History, Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams Ph.D., Professor and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Medieval Europe, Southern Methodist University, Daniel Hobbins Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Notre Dame University, Bonnie Wheeler Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Medieval Studies, Southern Methodist University and Director, International Joan of Arc Society, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Gérald R. Caussé, Presiding Bishop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This groundbreaking, family-friendly docudrama will premiere on Nov. 26th on BYUtv at 6pm MT/8pm ET, followed by a 10-minute behind-the-scenes special and will be rebroadcast throughout the 2015 Holiday Season.

Although she died many years ago, Joan of Arc continues to be an inspirational role model today for people of all ages, as her story is one of undying faith, perseverance, honor and courage.

“We know more about Joan of Arc than most medieval historic figures due to the detailed transcripts from her trial,” said Mr. Holt. “Joan of Arc played a fundamental role in shaping world history by leading the French army to victory against the English forces. The French Navy would later play an indispensable role in United States’ Revolutionary War. Without Joan of Arc’s heroic and divine mission, one could argue the nation of France and the Unites States would not exist as they do today.” READ MORE

LISTEN: SMU religion experts Matthew Wilson and Charles Curran on KERA

KERA

Originally Posted: September 21, 2015

Pope Francis Comes To America

This week, Pope Francis visits the U.S. for the first time, making stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. This hour, we’ll talk about what his visit means for American Catholics – and about how their beliefs align with church teachings, with SMU religion experts Matthew Wilson and Charles Curran. LISTEN

Dedman College Alumni Celebrated at Homecoming

Congratulations to Dedman College alumni Bess Enloe ’60, finance educator and the Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters ’02, ’06, ’12. Mrs. Enloe will receive a Distinguished Alumni award while Rev. Waters will receive the University’s Emerging Leader Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of an alumnus or alumna who has graduated in the past 15 years. READ MORE

Listen: Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, on “Impolite Conversation”

Originally Posted: September 1, 2015

Impolite Conversation #3: Religion Curricula and Other Curricula

For September, we’re going back to school by talking to Mark Chancey of SMU and the Texas Freedom Network about teaching religion in public schools and about how religion gets inserted into other subjects. And in OLT, Dan geeks out about a new DC Comics animated film and Tim dreams of faster space travel. LISTEN

Linda K. Wertheimer, author of the new book Faith Ed.: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance, praised Religious Studies Prof. Mark Chancey

KERA, Think

Originally Posted: August 20, 2015

Teaching Without Preaching

Public schools aren’t allowed to encourage students to pursue religion. Yet so much of navigating a diverse world requires an understanding of other people’s beliefs. This hour, we’ll talk about how to prepare students without proselytizing with Linda K. Wertheimer, author of Faith Ed.: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance (Beacon Press). LISTEN

The Source: Texas’ State Board Of Education And Textbooks

Texas Public Radio

Originally Posted: July 2, 2015

Many problems still exist in how Texas adopts its school textbooks say critics. Reforming the process failed to gain traction in the state’s 84th legislative session.
The troubles have been well documented by Texas journalists over the past 10 years and even some documentarians got in on the action.

The process has produced textbooks that some say distort history, conflate and portray religions inaccurately. Schools have not been required to use the State Board of Education (SBOE) approved books for the past few years, but recently the SBOE requested a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, that many view as another grab at controlling local school districts content.

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed newly elected district 6 board member Donna Bahorich as Chair of the board. The Houston Republican has gotten a lot of attention as a result, with many questioning her role administering public school education when her children were homeschooled. LISTEN

Guests:

Donna Bahorich, Chair of Texas’ State Board of Education
Michael Soto, Professor at Trinity University, and former SBOE member for San Antonio
David Brockman, Instructor at Southern Methodist University