Andrea Dara Cooper is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought and Culture. Her current book project explores representations of family in the writings of major Jewish thinkers, and recent courses that she has taught include: “Introduction to Jewish Studies” (RELI 123), “The Sacrifice of Abraham” (RELI 426H: Honors Course), and “Human Animals in Religion and Ethics” (RELI 079: First-Year Seminar).
At the last AJS (Association for Jewish Studies) conference in Boston, Prof. Cooper participated in a session on “Teaching Beyond the Canon: New Approaches to Jewish Studies,” and summarized the pedagogical insights coming out of the session for the AJS website.
Earlier this year, Prof. Cooper was part of a panel at Elon University responding to Geoffrey Claussen’s new book, Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar. Prof. Cooper’s remarks highlighted the implications of the book when viewed through the lenses of gender and the human/animal opposition. (The video below begins with Prof. Cooper’s response at the 21:36 mark.)
For an extensive two-part debate (hosted by the “Unbelievable?” radio program) with Richard Bauckham on the relationship of the New Testament Gospels to eyewitness testimony, see the following links: [part 1][part 2]
The following is a 28-minute interview (with the American Freethought podcast) in which Prof. Ehrman discusses some of the main points of the book (the actual interview begins at the 2:44 mark; see also YouTube):
The latest book from Carl Ernst, William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor in Religious Studies, is Refractions of Islam in India: Situating Sufism and Yoga (Sage Publications/Yoda Press, 2016), a collection of some two dozen essays published over Professor Ernst’s decades-long career. From Sage Publications:
“The essays explore Sufism as it developed in the Indian subcontinent, including translations of previously unavailable texts, and revealing unexpected insights into the lives, practices, and teachings of Indian Muslims over nearly a thousand years. They also trace remarkable moments in the history of Muslim engagement with Indian religious and cultural practices. This includes not only Muslim participation in Indian art and literature, but also the extraordinary role that Sufis have played in the practice of yoga. Employing new approaches to religious studies that avoid essentialism and ideological concepts of religion, and shorn of unnecessary jargon, these compelling essays will be easily accessible to a larger audience.”
Lauren Leve, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, has just published a new book, The Buddhist Art of Living in Nepal: Ethical Practice and Religious Reform (Routledge, 2016), as part of the Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism series. From the Routledge website:
“Theravada has experienced a powerful and far-reaching revival, especially among the Newar Buddhist laity, many of whom are reorganizing their lives according to its precepts, practices and ideals. This book documents these far-reaching social and personal transformations and links them to widespread political, economic and cultural shifts associated with late modernity, and especially neoliberal globalization.”
Jessica Boon: New Edition of Juana de la Cruz’s Visionary Sermons
Earlier this year, while on research leave, Jessica Boon published a new co-edited collection of the visionary sermons of the Spanish mystic Mother Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534). In addition to co-editing the entire volume, Professor Boon contributed an introduction and a set of explanatory notes to the sermon translations. From the Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies website:
“Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534) is a unique figure in the history of the Catholic Church, thanks to her public visionary experiences during which she lost consciousness, while a deep voice, identifying itself as Christ, issued from her, narrating the feasts and pageants taking place in heaven. Juana’s so called ‘sermons,’ collected in a manuscript called Libro del Conorte, form a fascinating window into Castilian religiosity in the early sixteenth century. There is much to reap from these sermons concerning Spanish Renaissance culture, theology, mysticism, gender roles, and interreligious interactions.”
Barbara Ambros, Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, recently gave an interview with the Marginalia Review of Books regarding her latest monograph, Women in Japanese Religions (New York University Press, 2015). In this substantive 20-minute interview, she discusses the wide scope of the book, the problem of essentialism in approaching the topic, and the history of women in Japanese religious traditions from the medieval to the modern period. To listen to the interview, click here.
“In order to give recognition to new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion, the American Academy of Religion offers Awards for Excellence. These awards honor works of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity, and importance; books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.”
Joseph Lam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, recently gave an interview with the New Books Network regarding his book, Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible: Metaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept (Oxford University Press, 2016). In the interview he addresses a wide range of topics, including his academic background, the relationship between language and culture, and the definition of metaphor. To listen to the interview, click here.
Professor David Lambert, who teaches in the area of Hebrew Bible and its history of interpretation, was recently interviewed for the OnScript podcast regarding his new book, How Repentance Became Biblical: Judaism, Christianity, and the Interpretation of Scripture (Oxford University Press, 2016). Professor Lambert talked about how his book made him as a scholar, how the book came to be, and the scholarly alternatives to the ‘colonizing mode of interpretation’. Click here to hear the podcast.
Woman-Led Prayer: A Conversation with Juliane Hammer
Professor Fareen Parvez and Mariam Awaisi conducted an interview with Juliane Hammer, Associate Professor and Kenan Rifai Scholar of Islamic Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Professor Hammer specializes in the study of American Muslims, contemporary Muslim thought, women and gender in Islam, and Sufism. She reflects here on the topic of woman-led ritual prayers in Islam and the debate surrounding them. Click here to read the interview.