The 2022 Annual Meetings in Denver, Colorado, November 19–22, hosted by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR), is the world's largest gathering of scholars interested in the study of religion. ULS faculty who will participate are:
Introduction and Respondent, “Book Review Panel of Reed Carlson, Unfamiliar Selves in the Hebrew Bible: Possession and Other Spirit Phenomenon” (S19-142a)
Paper, “Crumbs for Dogs and Demons: The Syrophoenician Woman and Non-supersessionist Pneumatology,” Christian Theology and the Bible (S22-110)
The pericope of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24–30/Matt 15:21–28) is not a typical starting point for a discussion of Christian pneumatology, but it is one that can be read as exemplary of a governing principle for how the Church relates to Judaism, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. This paper takes as its starting point Willie James Jennings’s insight that most of us in the Church “are Gentile readers who should read our own existence by the lens provided by the Jewish Jesus” (The Christian Imagination, Yale, 2010, p. 252). Specifically, he points to the Syrophoenician woman as providing us with a prime example of this lens because she does not “pretend to be Israel” but nevertheless “recognizes that even those outside of Israel may benefit from the gifts of God for Israel” (p. 262). Extending Jennings’s argument, I claim that it is theologically significant that the Syrophoenician woman requests of Jesus not just any blessing, but specifically an exorcistic intervention on behalf of her demonized daughter. Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned by name in this pericope, speaking from a Christian pneumatological perspective, I understand the Holy Spirit here and elsewhere to be the possessing power who acts on behalf of the Syrophoenician woman and other Gentile followers of Jesus, simultaneously exorcising, animating, and empowering our existence “in Christ” (cf., Giovanni B. Bazzana, Having the Spirit of Christ, 2019, Yale, pp. 106–11). If Jesus “is Israel for the sake of Israel” (Jennings, p. 260), then the Holy Spirit possesses the Church for the sake of the Church. The Syrophoenician woman thus exemplifies a non-supersessionist pneumatology, which recognizes the Holy Spirit as the means by which Gentile believers benefit from the gifts that God promised to Israel and delivered through Christ.
Panelist, “The Genus Maiestaticum: Philosophy, Doctrine, and Constructive Theology,” Lutheran Scholars of Religion (M19-109)
Early modern theologians were interested in making sense of Christology in a changed philosophical context. Their work was both polemical in this age of confessionalization and constructive as they sought to articulate how claims about properties of one nature could be predicated of the other nature in the person of Jesus Christ. This session focuses on the specific philosophical tools deployed by the Lutheran theologians for the purpose of claiming how the third Christological genus (the genus maiestaticum) could be true in the controversy with Reformed theologians, who insisted on the extra Calvinisticum. Issues addressed will be the challenge of a compromised humanity of Jesus, divine agency in Jesus’ humanity, and the generative use of this majestic genus for contemporary constructive theological discussion of the God-world relation.
Paper, “Multi-Stream Loves and a Divine Middle Term Queering Human Relations,” Kierkegaard, Religion, and Culture Unit (A19-316)
I argue in this paper for a Kerkegaardian possibility of envisioning a multi-stream notion of love that resists binary classifications, with a divine middle term in dwelling and queering human relations. Neighbor love is not simply one category of love relations in contradistinction from preferential loves, but a love stream that conveys the transformative power of God’s queer love in all complexities of multi-stream loves and attachments that are part of human life.
Presider, “Constructive Proposals in Queer Theology,” Christian Systematic Theology Unit (A22-129)
Presider, “Disability, Hope, and Justice,” Christian Systematic Theology Unit (A19-221)
Presider, “Teaching Theology & Religion Celebrates 25Years” (A20-108)
Paper, “The Unfailing Rainbow: Valorizing the Abiding Legacy of Stanley J. Samartha,” Society for Hindu-Christian Studies (P20-302)
The revitalization of the promise of the ecumenical movement is an urgent task as the first quarter of the 21st century rushes by. Almost 25 years after the death of the pioneer of inter-religious dialogue, Stanley J. Samartha, this paper will revisit and interrogate select contributions, ranging from his empathetic engagement with Radhakrishnan to his interrogation of Christian uniqueness; from the fruits of the many conferences he organized at the World Council of Churches to his poems; from his problematization of “traditional” Christology to his stoic and faithful acceptance of approaching death; from insightful Bible studies to engaging Advaita and responding to marginalized voices.
Panelist, Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee (A18-102)
Panelist, “Community Engaged Research: Lessons from the Good Life Project,” Religion and Cities Unit and Religion, Genocide, and Holocaust Unit (A20-224)
This roundtable features five scholars from across the US who participated in the Center for the Study of Religion and the City at Morgan State University collaboration, “The Good Life Project,” launched in 2021. Scholars and activists working at the intersections of religion, theology, and forms of justice-centered work, documented how urban communities pursue justice and foster healthy relationships between themselves and their environment–a pursuit that is implicitly and explicitly informed by a history of mass atrocities, such as the extermination of Indigenous Peoples and American Slavery. The discussion will include overlapping concerns of the Project collaborators and scholars of genocide and mass atrocities–such as frameworks of mutual responsibility and care ethics among community members, institutions, non-human life, and land rights. Roundtable participants will also discuss the ethical standards of Community-Based Research processes that promote non-exploitative relationships.
Respondent, “Climate Catastrophe, Eco-Anxiety and Climate Grief: Psychological and Religious Perspectives,” Psychology, Culture, Unit (A19-125)
The terms “climate grief” and “eco-anxiety” have been used to describe various reactions to the impact of climate change, including human loss from climate disasters, loss of species and landscapes, and uncertainty or hopelessness about the future of the planet and humanity’s future on earth. This session will focus on work that addresses these phenomena from the intersection of psychology, culture, and religion.
Posted by Linda Fiore