Graduate Theological Union

2004-2005 Newhall Awards

The 2004-2005 Newhall Awards reflect the wide spectrum of rich interdisciplinary projects undertaken at the GTU. Among the topics to be explored this year are Asian theology, ethics and genetics, globalization, and literature and religion.

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.

Psychology of Religion
Steven Bauman, Lewis Rambo (SFTS) and Kelly Bulkeley (GTU & John F. Kennedy University)
Co-teaching a course on method, theory, and research in the psychological study of religion, including presentations by Bay Area scholars. Students will consider the implications of current research in psychology for their own work in theology, religious scholarship, and pastoral care.

Genetics, Theology, and Ethics
Gaymon Bennett and Ted Peters (PLTS)
Co-teaching an exploratory course on the impact of genomics, cloning, and stem cell research on human identity; the ethical boundaries of genomic research; and theological and pastoral responses to these issues.

Queer Theory and Religion
Jason Crawford, Jerome Baggett (JSTB) and Jay Johnson (PSR’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies
Developing and co-teaching a course on “Queer Theory and Religion." This course will examine the function of queer theory as a tool for critical social analysis and its relevance for discussions on ethics, sexuality, and political engagement, particularly from the perspective of diverse faith communities.

Narratives of African-American Women
Kerry Danner-McDonald, Beatrice Morris and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU/PSR)
Developing and co-teaching a course on the intersections of ethics, womanist theology, post-colonialism, and ecofeminism within the narratives of African-American women. Students will examine four novels by Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, considering such themes as memory, narrative, identity, ecology, and sexuality.

Second Semester Greek
Neil Fernyhough and William Countryman (CDSP)
Teaching assistant for a course that will build upon skills in Greek vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and style introduced in first semester Greek. Using the Gospel of John, students will also gain a practical introduction to New Testament exegesis and critical methods.

Contemporary Pilgrimages
Lee Gilmore and Clare Fischer (SKSM)
Drawing from Gilmore’s dissertation project on the Burning Man festival in Nevada, and Dr. Fischer’s research on pilgrimage in Indonesia, this collaborative research project will probe such issues as tourism and globalization; tourism as a system of exchange values; constructions of sacred space; and the use of interdisciplinary theories and methods in the study of those issues.

Vices and Virtues in Ethical Systems
Rebecca Gordon and Martha Ellen Stortz (PLTS)
Developing a curriculum for a future course on “Approaching Virtue Through Vice.” Because so many people seem to find vice more fascinating than virtue, this study will begin with a concrete examination of vice. Questions will be posed from various sources, including western Christianity, Jewish ethical thought, non-western traditions, postmodernity, natural law, liberation theology/feminism, and neurobiology.

Post-biblical Hebrew Texts
Ruth Haber and Joshua Holo (CJS)
This course provides an introduction to the vocabulary, style, and grammatical features of medieval Hebrew commentary. Students will read the work of two influential Jewish Bible commentators, Rashi and Ramban.

Evolution and Theology
Nathan Hallanger and Ted Peters (PLTS)
Offered during GTU’s 2004 Summer Session, their course on “The Evolution-Creation Controversy” focused on the relationships between evolutionary theory, the eugenics movement, and theology. Building upon the course, Peters and Hallanger will continue research on the religious and theological responses to the early eugenics movement.

Globalization, Ecumenism, and Ethics
Eileen Harrington, Clare Fischer (SKSM), Lewis Mudge (SFTS) and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU/PSR)
Co-teaching a two-semester seminar on economic globalization and responses from secular and religious groups throughout the world. Students will examine the history of globalization and its effects on global and local concerns, including issues of health; labor; women and children; the environment; natural resources; and alternatives to globalization.

Staging Judaism
Donny Inbar and Naomi Seidman (CJS)
Developing and co-teaching a course on the various aspects of Jewish religious texts, thought, and practice as they are interpreted in the theater. Students will consider the medieval European enactment of Hebrew Bible stories in Christian and Jewish contexts, and will explore the ways in which theater represents religion and serves as ritual space. Born and raised in Israel, Inbar has worked in Israeli media and theater as director, translator, and playwright.

Contemporary Asian Theology
Abraham Kadaliyil and Kenan Osborne (FST)
Research and teaching assistant for a spring course on contemporary Asian Roman Catholic and Protestant theology. Christian theological positions will be considered within the framework of Asian thought, including Hinduism, Islam, Confucianism, Taoism, tribal religion, Buddhism, and Shamanism.

Elementary Biblical Hebrew
Robert Kramish and LeAnn Snow Flesher (ABSW)
Co-teaching a fall course that will provide the beginning Hebrew student with a foundation in phonology, morphology, and simple syntax, as well basic grammar and vocabulary.

Christianity in the North American West
Hyoung Sin Park and Randi Walker (PSR)
This two semester research project on “Cultural Diversity of Christianity in the North Pacific Basin Area” will compare East Asian Christianity in the modern period, with Christianity in the North American West. Park and Walker will examine the contributions and limitations of North American missionaries, the meaning of immigration, and the historical meanings of North Pacific Christianity.

Social-Political Dimensions of Biblical Spirituality
Julia Prinz and Luise Schottroff (PSR)
Developing and co-teaching a course that will consider new methodology in biblical interpretation and Christian spirituality. Focusing on parables and poetic images in the Gospels, students will analyze the social and political dimensions of scripture and draw connections to their own social locations and ministerial contexts.

Latin American Christology
Jennifer Scheper-Hughes and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU/PSR)
Developing and co-teaching an interdisciplinary course on the meaning of Christ’s suffering on the cross, and on theological and institutional ambivalence toward popular religious devotion to graphic representations of the crucifixion. Scheper-Hughes recently spent time researching popular and archival resources in Mexico for her project.

Classic Jewish Sources
Devorah Schoenfeld and Naomi Seidman (CJS)
A Hebrew language and text-reading course, “Reading the Jewish Library: A Survey of the Classic Jewish Sources” will cover a range of Hebrew texts from biblical to modern. Before coming to the GTU, Schoenfeld taught courses on Talmud, Jewish Law, and the Bible at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Medieval Biblical Interpretation
Devorah Schoenfeld and Christopher Ocker (SFTS)
In this course on “Jewish and Christian Bible Interpretation in the Middle Ages,” texts will be placed in historical context by looking at medieval cultures of reading and the history of Jewish/Christian relations.

Reading Religion
Lisa Webster and Naomi Seidman (CJS)
Co-developing and co-teaching a course on religion and literature, examining its history from T.S. Eliot’s 1935 essay to the present. Students will survey sacred and secular literary genres, and consider ways literary theory can inform the study of religious writing.

Confucian and Taoist Spirituality
Chuan Xu and Judith Berling (GTU)
Co-teaching a spring course that will introduce the goals and methods of spiritual cultivation in Confucianism and Daoism, and how they can enrich our spiritual practice and understanding of multi-cultural ministry and living. The course will include introductions to Chinese culture, Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism.


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