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Embracing the Strange(r): How the GTU Prepares Us for Today's World

Remarks by graduate Courtney Bruntz, Ph.D., Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion

GTU Commencement, May 8, 2014 

Strange...

Gotta say: I'm feeling a little bit strange right now. It’s great to finally be done, but yet it’s strange.

Strange...That which is strange is unusual, curious, odd, peculiar, funny, or something that just makes us go 'huh.'

GTU Celebrates 2014 Commencement

On May 8, fifty-four graduates were honored at the Graduate Theological Union’s 2014 commencement ceremony, held at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary's Chapel of the Cross in Berkeley, California. Thirty-seven graduates received the Master of Arts degree, three the Master of Arts with a concentration in Biblical Languages, and fourteen the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Each of these students completed their programs in Fall 2013 or Spring 2014. 

Women & Religion at GTU

by Flora A. Keshgegian

Recently, the GTU’s Women’s Studies in Religion program held a special event celebrating more than four decades of excellence and achievement. In honor of Women’s History Month, WSR hosted a discussion featuring professors Margaret McManus (ABSW), Kathryn Poethig  (GTU ’97), Boyung Lee (PSR), and moderator Flora Keshgegian (GTU). Offering recollections from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, the panelists stitched together a lively “herstory” and shared hopes for the future of women’s studies at the GTU.

 

Alum of the Year: Uriah Kim

by Doug Davidson

When Uriah Kim first visited the Graduate Theological Union as a prospective doctoral student in the spring of 1998, he sensed immediately that it was a special place, pulsing with the vitality of serious intellectual and spiritual discovery. “I remember meeting with GTU students and alumni on Holy Hill, and I could immediately sense the energy. The GTU is a place that stimulates your mind, your spirit—everything.”

Why We Need To Be Interreligious

by Arthur Holder

At its February 2014 meeting, the GTU Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution that affirms the interreligious nature of the Graduate Theological Union and opens the way for other religious traditions to join the Protestant, Catholic, Unitarian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim communities already represented here. The statement highlighted the representation of the world’s diverse religious traditions as essential to the GTU’s nature and integral to its mission. It went on to encourage the GTU President to work to “expand and foster representation of the world’s great religious traditions” by seeking out new candidates for consideration as program units, affiliates, and centers for inclusion in the GTU.

 

Alumna Burrus accepts appointment at Syracuse University

Virginia BurrusVirginia Burrus (GTU Ph.D. ’91, History) is leaving Drew University for a named chair at Syracuse. The announcement is at http://religion.syr.edu/About/NewsAccolades.html and it says:

Eugene Eung-Chun Park (SFTS) to Mentor Scholars in Hong Kong

Eugene Eung-Chun ParkDr. Eugene Eung-Chun Park, Dana and Dave Dornsife Professor of New Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary, will be heading to Hong Kong this month for his third year as a mentor to young scholars through the Institute for Advanced Study in Asian Cultures and Theologies (IASACT). He will spend 6 weeks helping scholars refine and publish articles on a variety of topics in humanities and social sciences in the Asian Context.

GTU Presence at AAR/SBL 2012

As has been the case for a number of years, GTU alumni, faculty, and students will make a strong showing during the 2012 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). GTU connected persons will serve as 30 presenters, 7 panelists, 2 respondents, and 1 presider during SBL and 55 presenters, 6 panelists, 5 respondents, and 18 presiders during AAR. AAR and SBL are the central professional organizations for those engaged in religion and scholarship of the Bible.

Muslims and the Excluded Middle

At a September 17 event, GTU President James Donahue and CIS Director Munir Jiwa spoke against the violence perpetuated in Libya and Egypt, actions which spawned protests around the world, following the circulation of a 14-minute movie trailer maligning the Prophet Muhammad. They addressed a full-house alongside of Hatem Bazian, UC Berkeley and Zaytuna College; Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College; and Hamza Yusuf Hanson, Zaytuna College. Hanson is also a doctoral student at the GTU. The panel was moderated by journalist Sandy Tolan.

Researching Religion and End-of-Life Decision Making

GTU received a $5,000 grant to conduct a research survey of religious thought related to end-of-life healthcare and, specifically, theological perspectives on withholding nutrients for terminally ill patients. The donor worked in retirement communities and faced these decisions on a daily basis. Lisa Fullam, Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University directed the project and will make it available to the public in the Spring. Look for more information in the next issue of Currents.

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