Graduate Theological Union
Scholars for All Subjects
The Newhall awards for 2003-04 embody the range and boldness of scholarly inquiry at the GTU. Issues of social justice, moral agency, aesthetics, and ecofeminism are only a few of the topics tackled by the eighteen student-faculty pairs who received awards this year.
The Newhall awards offer a wonderful opportunity for students to work closely with professors whose interests and approaches parallel their own, on projects that would not be possible otherwise. The fellowships are made possible by Jane Newhall, a Trustee Emerita and longtime friend of the GTU.
Benjamin and the Political
Jorge Aquino and Clare Fischer (SKSM)
As Dr. Fischer’s research assistant, Aquino will focus on clarifying Walter Benjamin’s contributions to the analysis of forms of global domination and anticolonial resistance. Fischer is working on a book on Simone Weil, Emmanuel Levinas, and Benjamin.
Whitney Bauman and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU/PSR)
Developing and co-teaching a course on ecofeminist theology. Bauman, who is program director for the GTU student group TREES, will manage the field projects element of the course, as well as working on a “greening” resource guide for GTU students, faculty and staff.
Kathryn Bellm and Jane Daggett Dillenberger (GTU Professor Emerita)
Research project in theological aesthetics, using contemporary visual arts to analyze the participation of nature in the drama of salvation.
Unitarian Universalist History
Jade D’Aquilarive Benson and Alicia Forsey (SKSM)
Co-teaching a course on Unitarian Universalist history, with a focus on alliance building, and the tradition’s relationship to issues of civil rights, especially for African-Americans and women.
Liturgy and Architecture
Tae-Young Chun and Lizette Larson-Miller (CDSP)
Teaching assistant for a course that will explore the theology of the physical setting of worship. Rev. Chung, who has a Ph.D. in architecture, will offer case studies of Korean and Asian religiosity and architecture.
Dissent and Reform in Protestantism
Elizabeth Drescher and Joseph Driskill (PSR)
Co-teaching “The Militant Church on Earth: Protestant Spiritualities of Dissent and Reform.” The course will focus on the relationship between biblical spirituality and social dissent in early Protestant history, examining issues such as the function of social class in reform movements and the role of women and other marginalized groups.
Church, Power, Justice
Lynne Gerber and Jerome Baggett (JSTB)
The “Church, Power, Justice” course will explore faith-based responses to social justice concerns, by studying both social theory and practices used by faith-based groups to inspire and support social justice work. Before enrolling at the GTU, Gerber worked in several contexts as a social justice organizer and educator.
Ruth Haber and Dina Stein (CJS)
Co-teaching a fall course that will give a grounding in both Biblical grammar and post-Biblical Hebrew, supporting students who seek preparation to read rabbinic and modern Hebrew texts as well as the Hebrew Bible.
Globalization and Ecofeminism
Eileen Harrington and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU/PSR)
Developing and co-teaching a new course on “Globalization, Ecofeminism and the Church’s Response.” Following the fall course on “Ecofeminist Theology” (see above), this spring course will examine the history and potential for the church to address issues of global economics; justice; women and poverty; labor and human rights; and ecological sustainability.
Moral Agency in a Postmodern World
Laurie Jungling and Martha Stortz (PLTS)
Co-leading a fall reading group to study Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Judith Butler, and Martha Nussbaum, among others. The focus will be on moral agency, with a view towards contemporary ethical dilemmas. Then, in a spring course on Christian ethics, doctoral students from the reading group will be invited to present issues and case studies gleaned from their learning regarding the human person.
East Asian Tantric Buddhism
Scott Mitchell and Richard Payne (IBS)
Co-teaching a fall course on the traditions, lineages, and ritual structures of Vajrayana Buddhism. In the course, Dr. Payne’s reader (now in manuscript) on East Asian Tantric Buddhism will be field-tested. During the spring semester, they will use results from the fall semester to complete the reader and ready it for publication.
Theology for the Poor
Beatrice Morris and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU/PSR)
Developing and delivering a course that will work to empower poor urban women, particularly African-Americans, to explore and develop their own theological reflection rooted in their life experience.
Reading the Unread: Church Texts in the Late Luther
Derek Nelson and Ted Peters (PLTS)
Translating from German and Latin the late writings of Martin Luther on the topic of ecclesiology. Nelson hopes to demonstrate some continuity between the early Luther, who had hardly anything good to say about the Christian church as an institution, and his views in later life, when the situation was far less polemical.
Carrie Rehak and Barbara Green (DSPT)
Developing a new course that will integrate contemporary critical study of the book of Jonah, the history of its reception among both believers and academics, and its rendering into art.
The Roots of Religious Tolerance
David Rosenberg-Wohl and Naomi Seidman (CJS)
Co-teaching “From Diatribe to Dialogue: The Roots of Religious Tolerance in Early Modern Europe.” The course will examine the rise of the notion of tolerance in the late fifteenth century, focusing on humanist scholars such as Marsilio Ficino, Judah Abrabanel, and Pico della Mirandola, whose work was based on the belief that God loves every individual equally, regardless of his or her religious faith or practice.
Reading the Jewish Library
Deborah Schoenfeld and Naomi Seidman (CJS)
Jewish texts can block even the Hebrew-literate reader, with their mysterious acronyms, nicknames, codes and commentaries. This course will provide guided reading in basic Jewish texts in the original Hebrew, with attention to the difficulties a beginning student will encounter.
Religion and Place
Denis Thalson and Judith Berling (GTU)
Co-teaching a course on how tragic events have been memorialized in U.S. society, through examining the construction of sacredness at such spots as the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombing sites.