Bible scholars to speak at LaGrange College
March 12, 2010
Two internationally known Bible scholars will be guest speakers as LaGrange College
kicks off a weeklong series of events to celebrate the inauguration of its 25th
president, Dr. Dan McAlexander.
Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan will appear at 7 p.m. April 12 at Price
Theater as part of the College’s Waights G. Henry Jr. Lecture Series. They will
speak on the topic “To Walk in the Presence of God.”
Borg and Crossan are noted both for their rigorous scholarship and controversial
conclusions. They are co-authors of several books including “The Last Week: A Day
by Day Account of Jesus’s Final Week in Jerusalem,” “The First Christmas: What
the Gospels Really Teach about the Birth of Jesus” and “The First Paul: Reclaiming
the Radical Visionary behind the Church’s Conservative Icon.”
The authors’ appearance at LaGrange College underscores the institution’s commitment
to the Wesleyan, liberal arts tradition of the integrated pursuit spiritual and
intellectual development, said the Rev. Dr. Quincy Brown, vice president for spiritual
life and church relations.
“As a United Methodist Church-related institution of higher education, we feel
it is important to challenge our students’ minds and inspire their souls, thus
encouraging them to thoughtfully examine their beliefs,” he said. “Encountering
such challenging speakers, students learn to engage difficult questions that they
may encounter throughout their lives.”
McAlexander said the college’s purpose is not to provide its students a set of
answers, “but, rather, to teach them how to ask their own questions and how to
search for their own answers. The appearance of Borg and Crossan is intended to
spur a good bit of both.”
Borg is a theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Ore. Recognized
around the world in both academic and church circles, he was chair of religion
and culture in the philosophy department at Oregon State University until his retirement
in 2007. He is the author of 10 books, two of which have become best-sellers –
“Jesus: A New Vision” and “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.”
He has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “Dateline,” PBS’s “Newshour,” ABC’s
“Evening News” and “Prime Time” with Peter Jennings, NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry
Gross, and several National Geographic programs.
Borg holds a doctoral degree from Oxford University, and he has lectured widely
overseas (England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Israel and South
Africa) and in North America, including the Chautauqua and Smithsonian Institutions.
John Dominic CrossanCrossan was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland. He
was educated in Ireland and the United States, received a doctorate of divinity
from Maynooth College, Ireland, in 1959, and did post-doctoral research at the
Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École Biblique
in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967.
He was a member of a 13th-century Roman Catholic religious order, the Servites
(Ordo Servorum Mariae), from 1950 to 1969 and an ordained priest from 1957 to 1969.
He joined DePaul University, Chicago, in 1969 and remained there until 1995. He
is now a Professor Emeritus in its Department of Religious Studies.
Crossan has received awards for scholarly excellence from the American Academy
of Religion in 1989, DePaul University in 1991 and 1995, and an honorary doctorate
from Stetson University, DeLand, Fla., in 2003.
In the last 40 years, he has written 25 books and has lectured to lay and scholarly
audiences across the United States as well as in Ireland and England, Scandinavia
and Finland, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Japan and South Africa.
The Waights G. Henry Jr. Lecture series was established in 1990 by a gift from
Joseph L. Lanier Sr., former chairman of the Board of Trustees of LaGrange College,
in memory of the 20th president of the institution. Previous Henry speakers include
Edwin Newman, Scott Carpenter and Jean-Michel Cousteau. The lecture is free and
open to the public.