Graduate Theological Union

A New Crop of Newhalls

Twenty-one student-faculty pairs, and one quartet, were awarded Newhall Fellowships for 1999–2000. These research or teaching awards are designed to support both students, through grants, and faculty, through the student’s assistance. With themes ranging from biblical scholarship, Taoist spirituality, and social welfare policy to the spiritual aspects of bereavement and religion in cinema, the Newhall projects exemplify the spirit of diversity which is the GTU’s greatest strength.

These fellowships are made possible by Jane Newhall, who retired from the Board of Trustees after 22 years of service in May of this year. GTU doctoral students have benefited for many years from her endowed Newhall Awards. She is now a Trustee Emerita, and continues to participate in Board meetings and affairs.

Newhall awards offer a wonderful opportunity for students to work closely with professors whose interest and approaches parallel their own, on projects that would not be possible otherwise. These awards assist in the development of new GTU courses, as well as the revision of existing courses; advance doctoral students’ work on their dissertations; provide research support for faculty members; allow students to try out ideas and teaching styles in a setting where they can get collegial response; and benefit professors through collaboration with promising students.

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Conversations with Freud
Kirk Bingaman and Lewis Rambo (SFTS)
Designing and co-teaching “Freud and Religion.” The course familiarizes students with Freudian psychology, and enables them to think through its implications for religious faith.

God in the Modern World
Mark Bosco and David Stagaman ( JSTB)
Co-teaching “God and the Modern World,” and collaborating on a research project to investigate the theological vision in the work of Graham Greene. The course looks at the historical development of notions of montheism, theism, and trinitarian thought, primarily through explicitly theological texts.

Early Church History and African Christianity
Ronald D. Burris and J. Rebecca Lyman (CDSP)
Burris is teaching a course on early church history, under the direction of Professor Lyman. The course highlights African Christianity and its leaders, and their influence on Christianity in general, with an eye to informing students of a much neglected part of early church history.

Friendship and the Formation of the Self
Lisa Dahill and Martha Stortz (PLTS)
Research project on “Conversations with Bonhoeffer: Friendship and Formation of the Self.” The project explores how friendship can sustain spiritual and political resistance to evil, as Bonhoeffer found, and help form the “fully human” self. The research will extend Bonhoeffer’s theology of friendship into our era's struggle to find ways of linking spirituality and responsible public life.

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Jewish Women in Palestine
Mary Therese DesCamp and John Endres (JSTB)
Designing and teamteaching "Jewish women in Palestine during Hellenistic Times." The course offers a new opportunity to GTU students to look at extra-Biblical texts through a feminist lens.

Between Rights and Memory
Alain Durocher and William O’Neill (JSTB)
Designing and teaching a new seminar on the history, scope, and limits of human rights theory as it applies to the questions of civic strife and collective memory.

The Construction of Heresy in Late Antiquity
Thomas Ferguson and Rebecca Lyman (CDSP)
Research project on fourth century historiographical issues and manuscript work in the history of Christianity. The goal is to collect and transcribe diverse sources of Lucian’s life in order to construct a paradigm about how authority and orthodoxy were being constructed in the fourth century.

Uses of the Bible in Social Ethics
Bonnie Howe and Carol Robb (SFTS)
Revising and teamteaching "Contemporary Theory in Christian Social Ethics." Howe and Robb are expanding the course to include perspectives on the use of the Bible in contemporary Christian social ethics.

Overcoming the Bible’s “User-unfriendliness"
Robert Kramish and Donn Morgan (CDSP)
Research and teaching assistant for “Teaching the Old Testament: An Introduction." The goals are to introduce students to Old Testament literature and methodology, and to offer them alternative means of achieving a dialogue with an often inaccessible and unfriendly text, in part through the use of new study tools made possible by technology.

The Ethical Impulse in Postmodernism
Stan Lanier and Don Compier (CDSP)
Research assistant. This project begins with the postmodern critique of the human self as a unified entity that is free to make choices. Since postmodernism nonetheless maintains an ethical component, the research will focus on how norms for choices are selected, and how they might be grounded in the vision of thinkers such as Foucault, Deleuze and Lyotard.

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Jesus on the Silver Screen
Ernest (Todd) Lesh and Michael Morris (DSPT)
Teaching and research assistant for "Religion and the Cinema." The course examines the treatment of religion in the Judeo-Christian tradition as portrayed in film, the most popular art form of the 20th century.

Religious Ethics and Public Policy
Randolph Miller and Clare Fischer (SKSM)
Teaching assistant in two courses, “The Moral Commonwealth” and “Work and Vocation." The focus of the fellowship is to explore the appropriate role of religious values relating to transformative social change rather than social conservatism.

Stone as Text
Ruth Ohm and Victor Gold (PLTS)
Teamteaching a new course “Stone as Text: Reading Archaeological Remains.” Ohm brings expertise provided by her archaeological work at the site of ancient Ephesus, and the use of the archaeological resources at the BadË Museum, of which she is the co-curator.

Feminist/Liberation Pedagogy
Jennifer Peace and Cheryl Kirk-Duggan (GTU)
Research assistant on the Curriculum Project at the Center for Women and Religion. This project sponsors courses applying the latest research in teaching methodology to classes with feminist content. Peace will be updating the teaching model based on new understandings, and publicizing the model for use by other institutions.

God, Anthropology, and Christology
Nancy Pineda and Mary Lowe, with Alex Garcia Rivera (JSTB) and Ted Peters (PLTS)
Designing and teamteaching “Comparative Systematics,” a course offering a sustained engagement with representatives from patristic, feminist, and Latin American liberation theologies.

Theology from the Underside of History
Gerard Reid and George Cummings (ABSW)
Teaching assistant for the fall course "Theology from the Underside of History," and research assistant in the spring. The focus is on investigating Afro-Caribbean religions and cultures as sources of constructive contemporary Black theology.

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Cross-Cultural Issues in Bereavement
Chizuko Saito and Benoni Silva-Netto (PSR)
Research assistant on “An Ethnographic Study of Bereavement Among Japanese-American Women.” The goals are to gain insight into the cultural dynamics involved in the process of grief among Japanese-American women, and to develop pastoral care models relevant to their culture.

New Rites
Susan Smith and Louis Weil (CDSP)
Developing and teaching “Pastoral Liturgy: A Seminar in Theology and Practice.” The seminar investigates how liturgy can meet the needs of a changing population, while maintaining traditional theological integrity.

Imagination and God
Eric Stark and Naomi Seidman (GTU)
Designing and teaching "A 'Novel' Approach to the American Religious Imagination," a spring course that explores the connection between imagination in great literature and theological imagination. The course will help students develop their own theological imagination through reading, conversation, and autobiography.

Views of Mind: Cognitive Science and Religious Representation
Randall Studsill and Richard Payne (IBS)
Teaching assistant for “Cognitive Science and Religion," a course designed to introduce students to the ways cognitive science has been applied to religious phenomena. Areas addressed include: the origins of religious representations; the cognitive processes underlying the acquisition, transmission, and modification of religious symbols; and the comparison of cognitive science with Buddhist understandings of cognition.

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Taoist Spiritualities
John Thompson and Judith Berling (GTU)
Designing and co-teaching "Taoist Spiritualities," a course that introduces the various strands of Taoist history, texts, belief and practices, as part of GTU’s effort to offer the community a rich array of courses on non-Christian religions. The focus is on themes such as meditation, Nature, the role of women, and notions of scripture.

Ecumenical Church Reform
Greg Zuschlag and Donald L. Gelpi (JSTB)
Research assistant on an anticipated publication titled "Priestly
People: A Proposal for Ecumenical Church Reform." The publication will offer a historical evaluation of the different theories of Church, prior to the proposal for the institutional reforms that all churches would need to undertake as a prelude to Church reunification.

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