Lipscomb University

Christian Scholars' Conference

Plenary Speakers, Lectures and Special Sessions

2019 Plenary Speakers

Tracy K. Smith

We are pleased to announce that Tracy K. Smith will deliver the Willis Plenary Address at the 2018 CSC. Smith has recently been named 2017-2018 U.S. Poet Laureate, having earned in 2011 a Pulitzer for Life on Mars. She is currently a professor of Humanities and Director of the Creative Writing program at Princeton University. We are honored to have her speak and invite you to explore her work before the conference.

Tracy K. Smith will deliver the Willis Plenary Address on Thursday, June 7 at 10:45 a.m. in the Collins Alumni Auditorium. Her lecture is titled: "Metaphor, History, Myth & Belief"



Tobias Wolff

We are pleased to announce Tobias Wolff as the presenter of the Pack Plenary for the 2018 CSC. The acclaimed author has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Academy Award in Literature. He is Professor of English, Emeritus, at Stanford and in 2015 he received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama. 

Tobias Wolff will present the Pack Plenary on Friday, June 8, at 11 a.m. in Collins Alumni Auditorium. His lecture is titled: "The View from the Bottom of the Well".




Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

We are happy to announce Dr. Molefi Kete Asante as the 2018 Fred D. Gray Plenary lecturer in Human and Civil Rights. Dr. Asante is Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Temple University. He has written hundreds of essays and scores of books. Much of Dr. Asante’s work is on African culture and philosophy and African American education. We look forward to engaging with Dr. Asante, who believes it is not enough to know; one must act to humanize the world.

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante will deliver the Fred D. Gray Plenary on Wednesday, June 6, at 4:30 p.m. in Collins Alumni Auditorium. His lecture is titled: "The Divine Moment in the Discovery of Maat: Social and Cultural Justice as Marks of Spirituality"



Dr. Cilliers Breytenbach

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Cilliers Breytenbach will deliver the fifth annual Abraham J. Malherbe Plenary Lecture at the 2018 CSC. Breytenbach is professor for the literature, history and religion of Early Christianity at the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin. His most recent publications include Early Christianity in Lycaonia: From Paul to Amphilochius of Iconium (Leiden 2017) and "Narrating the Death of Jesus in Mark: Utterances of the Main Character, Jesus", ZNW 105/2 (2014) 153-168.

Dr. Cilliers Breytenbach will deliver the Abraham J. Malherbe Plenary Lecture on Thursday, June 7, at 4 p.m. in Stowe Hall. His lecture is titled: "Christianity and Philosophy in Athens"






2018 Lectures

Robin Darling Young

We are pleased to announce that Robin Darling Young will be delivering the Everett Ferguson Lecture in Early Christian Studies at the 2018 CSC. Professor Darling Young is Associate Professor of Church History in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America. Her presentation is titled: “‘That I May Enter the Temple and Astonish the Jews!’: Early Christians and the Holy of Holies”. The abstract is as follows:

The Temple of Jerusalem, despite its destruction in 70 CE, continued to fascinate the early Christian community through its presence in texts of the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint, as well as in Second Temple texts rejected in Judaism but recopied by Christian scribes. Drawing from Philo and Clement, Origen of Alexandria and his followers understood the lasting yet invisible Temple as an instance of the highest contemplation. But with the imperial rebuilding of Jerusalem as a Christian pilgrimage center, and Julian's reputed plans to rebuild the Temple as a rebuke to Christians, the Temple took on a new and more controversial significance. This lecture explores the variety of early Christian construals of the Temple in the fourth century as the place of encounter between God and Israel—both the new and the old.

Robin Darling Young will deliver the Everett Ferguson Lecture on Thursday, June 7, at 2 p.m.



Carol Meyers

We are pleased to announce Carol Meyers as the fourth annual J.J.M. Roberts' Lecturer in Old Testament Studies. Meyers is the Mary Grace Wilson Professor Emerita of Religion at Duke University. She has lectured and published widely in several fields: biblical studies, archeology, and gender in the biblical world. A prolific scholar, she has authored a plethora of articles, reports, reviews, and books. Her reference book, Women in Scripture, is the most comprehensive study of biblical women.

As a field archeologist, Meyers has been a staff member of numerous archeological projects in Israel. She has also been a frequent consultant for media productions relating to archeology and the Bible, including DreamWorks' "Prince of Egypt". She is a trustee of the Albright Institute of Archeological Research, a member of the Board of Directors of the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, and recently served as President of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Carol Meyers will present the J.J.M. Roberts' Lecture on Wednesday, June 6, at 1:15 p.m.

James Walters

James Walters will deliver the third annual Landon Saunders Lecture on the Human Being: The Nexus of the World and Faith, “The ‘World’ as Context: Paul’s Moral Reasoning in 1 Cor. 5:1-11:1.”

Walters, Associate Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Boston University School of Theology, has a career interest in bringing material evidence to bear on the study of Paul’s letters and mission. Walters’ Ethnic Issues in Paul’s Letter to the Romans: Changing Self-Definitions in Earliest Roman Christianity was one of the first studies of Paul to challenge treatments of Jewish ethnic identity that assumed Greeks and Romans readily differentiated Jews from non-Jews in the Diaspora on the basis of physical features.  His more recent research focuses on the urban social context of Pauline communities around the Aegean basin (Greece and western Turkey) with publications interpreting archaeological materials from Ephesus and Corinth.  

James Walters will present the Landon Saunders Lecture on Friday, June 8, at 9:00 a.m.