Religion in

Seventh Annual Aronov Lecture

On Thursday, October 23, 2008, Prof. Bruce Lincoln, an internationally renown Historian of Religion from the University of Chicago, delivered the Department of Religious Studies' seventh annual Aronov Lecture.

As part of his visit, Prof. Lincoln was hosted at a lunchtime discussion with students and faculty and, that evening, delivered a public lecture in Amelia Gorgas Library. His visit to campus was co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and University Libraries.

     View a video of Prof. Lincoln's
         complete public lecture.

A good many students in the Department had already become familiar with Lincoln's work prior to his visit. Prof. Lincoln's Religion in Culture Lunch Discussion was held in Woods Hall, and students came to the table having read (or, in some cases, re-read) "Theses on Method" and "Theses on Religion and Violence" (PDF; available with Bama ID/Password).

Prof. McCutcheon (left) took the liberty of introducing Prof. Lincoln at the discussion. Prior to the lunch, Prof. Lincoln attended Prof. McCutcheon's REL 373 class where they discussed the historical and representational problems presented by the ancient Buddhist figure of the Monkey King.

Prof. Lincoln, pictured here listening to a student's question, was asked to tell a few tales about what motivated him to first publish his Theses on Method on the outside of his office door at the University of Chicago and offered a few stories on the unique character of the Divinity School where he now works. (Rollover: Word has it that Rhodes Berry came with a few questions of his own...)

Tim Davis (foreground) and Chris Hurt (background) were among several of the alumni of the Department who attended the lunch (see rollover for Chris Hurt's newly developed book modeling skills acquired since graduation).

That evening's lecture, entitled "In Praise of Things Chaotic: Politics in Creation Mythology" drew from a wealth of research on the roles of "chaos" in numerous creation stories including Greek, Persian and Scandinavian accounts.

In presenting his curiousities which promped his research for that evening's lecture, Lincoln offered, "I want to understand what [chaos] means in each case and what sorts of things get labeled ‘chaotic.’”

“Also, who does the labeling and [who] benefits by defining themselves as the solution to the problem posed by that chaos,” he added.

Featured in the lecture were a few of Prof. Lincoln's famous diagrams (one is depicted in the photograph to the right) also found in many of his books.

Prof. Ramey
, also pictured in the photograph to the right, was the organizer for this event. As the tradition goes, he presented Prof. Lincoln with a framed flyer for that evening's lecture.

Many students, faculty, and even alumni (pictured: Kim and Tim Davis) were present at the lecture.

The Crimson White featured two articles on Lincoln's Aronov Lecture, one prior to his lecture, and one published afterwards.

Thanks to REL student Jaci Gresham, who took the photos
of these events and created this webpage, and thanks also to Ms. Betty Dickey
and Ms. Donna Martin, for once again helping to plan this event.