Campus News

Danforth Lecture to Examine Creation of Community in Book of Ruth

Dr. Ellen F. Davis, who is the Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School, will present the address “RUTH: Crossing Borders for the Sake of Life” as the 2017-18 Danforth Lecture at Hope College on Monday, March 5, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The talk will explore how the biblical book of Ruth is about surviving loss and overcoming fear through the creation of community in unexpected ways.  As noted in the presentation’s abstract, “It shows how a few ordinary people extend care to those outside their natural circle of concern.  Thus life-giving community emerges where previously death, sorrow and loneliness seemed to preclude any meaningful future.”

Davis is the author of 10 books and many articles.  Her research interests focus on how biblical interpretation bears on the life of faith communities and their response to urgent public issues, particularly the environmental crisis and interfaith relations.

Her book “Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship and Ministry” (Westminster John Knox, 2014), explores the prophetic role and word across both Testaments of the Christian Bible. “Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible” (Cambridge University Press, 2009), integrates biblical studies with a critique of industrial agriculture and food production. Her most recent book is “Preaching the Luminous Word” (Eerdmans, 2016), a collection of sermons and essays.

A lay Episcopalian, she is active as a theological consultant within the Anglican Community and since 2004 has worked with the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan to develop theological education, community health and sustainable agriculture.

The Danforth Lecture is sponsored by the Hope College Department of Religion with support from an endowment established by the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri. The program was established by the foundation “to deepen and enlarge the religious dimension of the campus family through speakers who can reflect on the broad, interdenominational and yet positive sense of the Judeo-Christian perspectives of life and existence.”

Some of the many distinguished scholars who have visited the campus through the program in the past include  Dr. Lewis B. Smedes of Fuller Theological Seminary; Dr. Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School; Dr. Phyllis Trible of Union Theological Seminary; Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale Divinity School; Dr. Diana Eck of Harvard University; Dr. Allen Verhey of the Divinity School at Duke University; Dr. James VanderKam of the University of Notre Dame; Dr. Luke Johnson of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology; Dr. Oliver O’Donovan of the University of Edinburgh; Dr. John Stratton Hawley of Barnard College; and Dr. Timothy George of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.