Graduate Theological Union

2005-2006 Newhall Awards

The 2005-2006 Newhall Awards illustrate the groundbreaking research and curriculum that the GTU regularly fosters among its students and faculty. Organizational leadership, theology and natural science, Jewish liturgy, and U.S. Hispanic theology are among the topics to be developed in classrooms and research projects this year.

The awards offer a unique 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.

Globalization and Empire
Ajit Abraham and Philip Wickeri (SFTS)
Research and co-teaching for fall course addressing ecumenism, theological and social analyses of globalization and the church’s social mission. Students will encounter the perspective of the Two-Thirds World in an interdisciplinary framework.

Ecofeminist Theology and Philosophy
Whitney Bauman and Rosemary Radford Ruether (GTU faculty emerita)
Co-teaching a fall course that introduces a new dialogue between Biblical creation and modern scientific cosmology. Students will explore the connection between the domination of nature and the subjugation of women, paying heed to class and race.

Human Dignity and Bioethics
Gaymon Bennett and Karen Lebacqz (PSR/GTU emerita)
Year-long collaborative research project analyzing the topic of human dignity in bioethical discourse. The global debate of stem cell research has brought up the connection between human dignity and human biology. Bennett and Lebacqz will examine theology’s contribution to the contemporary debate and the implications for public policy.

Organizational Leadership in Church and Community
JD Benson, William McKinney (PSR) and D. Mark Wilson (PSR)
Teaching assistant for a fall course exploring the connection between American religious history, clergy communications and organizational development, and religious and social justice organizations. Addresses what clergy need to learn about leadership and sustainable enterprises, particularly those in formation.

Women in the Gospels
Sharon Betsworth and Judy Siker (ABSW)
Co-teaching a spring course examining women’s narratives in the synoptic gospels and offering fresh interpretations from a socio-literary perspective, with a particular emphasis on avoiding anti-Judaism in interpretation.

Christianity in Asia since 1500
Youngkeun Choi and Timothy Tseng (ABSW)
Teaching assistant for a spring seminar exploring the history of Christianity in Asia since 1500. The content will range from mission history to Christianity in India, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Postcolonial Christian History
Elizabeth Drescher and Arthur Holder (GTU)
Co-teaching spring seminar offering cultural-historical perspective. Examines how Christian and American, German and Lutheran, and English and Anglican identities influence each other.

Christian Theology and Natural Science
Robert Daren Erisman and Robert Russell (GTU)
Co-teaching spring course. With the heightened interest in genetics, evolution, and cosmology, as well as the cultural influence of quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity, the time has come for theologians to deepen their knowledge of the sciences.

Queering Liturgy
Sharon Fennema, Andrea Bieler (PSR/GTU), and Jay Johnson (PSR/CDSP)
Co-teaching spring seminar on the presence of queer churchgoers in liturgy and theology. Students will examine the ritual practices of worshipping communities and discuss their theological, anthropological, and historical foundations, drawing practical implications for today.

Reading the Jewish Library
Saul Friedman and Naomi Seidman (GTU)
Co-teaching in the spring. Students will cover post-biblical Hebrew works in this language and text-reading course, focusing on the distinctive literary features of Biblical, Mishnaic, and medieval Hebrew as well as Talmudic texts, midrashic compilations, and legal compendia.

Theorizing the Flesh
Lynne Gerber, Lisa Webster, and Naomi Seidman (GTU)
Co-teaching over two semesters. Students will grapple with the role of the body in relation to a cultural tradition that usually values mind over matter. Guest theologians, liturgists, ethicists, counselors, and sociologists will visit the class and share their perspectives.

Grace and Freedom in Lutheran Theology
James Haag and Ted Peters (PLTS/GTU)
Research on the place of divine grace in creaturely nature and history will lead to a teaching assistantship in the spring. Reviewing the classic debate between Luther and Erasmus on free will, the course will also reference Lutheran theologians worldwide.

Interpreting the Bible
Ruth Haber and Dina Stein (GTU)
Co-teaching in the fall an intermediate Hebrew language course designed to provide a bridge between basic language courses and graduate seminars that require more advanced textual readings.

The Early Mendicant Movements
Theresa Ladrigan-Whelpley and Darleen Pryds (GTU)
Co-teaching a fall course on the origins of the mendicant movements, notably the Franciscan and Dominican orders, within the social and historical context of women in church leadership. Special attention will be given to the activities of laymen and lay women affiliating with these orders over time.

Ethics and Public Policy
Lauren MacKinnon and Thomas Buckley (JSTB)
Co-teaching in the spring. The course allows students to strengthen their own public voice on political issues from a religious perspective. Combining Christian political theory with practical applications in contemporary society, it offers a method for analyzing religious viewpoints on political issues.

Jewish Liturgy
Rachel Leila Miller and Naomi Seidman (GTU)
Teaching spring course that highlights traditional forms of Jewish prayer for daily, Sabbath, and holiday worship, as well as the liturgies of key life-cycle ceremonies. Also examines more recent changes in worship by major Jewish denominations, kabbalistic and Hasidic liturgies, feminist revisions, and experimental rituals.

Asian Christian Women’s Spirituality
Jungeun Sophia Park and Joe Driskill (PSR)
Co-teaching in the fall. Examines Asian Christian women’s spirituality in terms of religious, socio-political, and cultural factors, with a particular emphasis on their daily life experience.

U.S. Hispanic Theology
Julia Prinz and Eduardo Fernandez (JSTB)
Co-teaching spring seminar linking Latin American liberation theology and First World contextualized theology using the lenses of theology, biblical studies, and Christian spirituality. Course will bridge the academic and the pastoral, serving as a daily ministry resource.

Biblical Women and the Novel
Sarah Steele and Naomi Seidman (GTU)
Teaching in the fall. The course will study six novels based on female biblical figures, compare them to the biblical passages that inspired them, and discuss their theological and cultural implications.

Church, Power, Justice
Allison Tanner and Jerome Baggett (JSTB)
Co-teaching a spring course exploring theories of power, applying them to the study of religion. Drawing on the practical wisdom and insight of religious leaders who will make guest appearances throughout the semester, students will examine issues through gender, race, and class frameworks.

Christianity in Asia before 1500
Marina True and Philip Wickeri (SFTS)
Co-teaching spring seminar on the history of the Church of the East. Topics discussed will include Christianity and cultural exchange, the early history of Syrian Christianity in India, and Christianity in Tang and Yuan China.

Body Spirituality
Emily Wu and Judith Berling (GTU)
Co-teaching “Body Spirituality: Chinese Spirituality and Healing” in the spring. Students will steep themselves in Chinese practices that understand spirituality bodily—a worldview that defines Chinese religious systems such as Confucianism, Daoism, and Chinese folk religious cults.

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