Spring 2019 Events

Spring 2019


"The Missing Link: Siṁha Bhikṣu and Zongmi's Revisioning of Chan History." with Peter Gregory, Professor Emeritus, Smith College

Thursday, February 28, 2019
6:45pm | Smith Buonanno 206

Peter N. Gregory taught at Smith College from 1999 until 2014. After receiving his doctorate in East Asian languages and civilizations from Harvard University in 1981, he taught in the Program for the Study of Religion at the University of Illinois for 15 years. He has also served as the president and executive director of the Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human Values since 1984, and in that capacity he has directed two publication series with the University of Hawaii Press: "Studies in East Asian Buddhism" and "Classics in East Asian Buddhism."

Gregory's research has focused on medieval Chinese Buddhism, especially the Chan and Huayan traditions during the Tang and Song dynasties, on which he has written or edited seven books, including Tsung-mi and the Sinification of Buddhism (1991). He is currently completing a translation of a ninth-century Chinese Buddhist text on the historical and doctrinal origins of the Chan tradition.

After coming to Smith, Gregory's research and teaching became increasingly concerned with Buddhism in America, on which he produced a film, The Gate of Sweet Nectar: Feeding Hungry Spirits in an American Zen Community (2004), and co-edited a book, Women Practicing Buddhism: American Experiences (Wisdom Publications, 2007).

The 2019 K. Brooke Anderson Lecture: "Call it Grace: Breath, Justice, Love" with Rev. Doctor Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
5:30pm | LIST 110

A highly respected scholar and public intellectual, the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 182-year-old institution, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy. She is a Past President of the American Academy of Religion, which annually hosts the world’s largest gathering of scholars of religion. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and Chair of the University’s Program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The author of several books including Trauma and Grace, Jones, a popular public speaker, is sought by media to comment on major issues impacting society because of her deep grounding in theology, politics, women’s studies, economics, race studies, history, and ethics.

"Gospel Thrillers: The Bible and Conspiracy in U.S. Popular Culture." a lecture with Andrew S. Jacobs, Mary W. and J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Humanities & Professor of Religious Studies, Scripps College

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
5:30pm | Friedman Hall 208

Since the 1960s, dozens of novels have appeared in the U.S. with a common plot: a newly discovered first-century gospel threatens to challenge everything we thought we knew about Jesus and Christian origins and a determined hero faces off against dangerous enemies (often Vatican assassins or Nazis or both) to discover the truth.  What can these novels tell us about the particular fears and desires surrounding the authority and vulnerability of the Bible in the U.S.?



The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium 
Syriac Worlds: Interactions, Exchanges, Contributions
June 16-19, 2019 | Brown University, Providence, RI

The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium will convene at Brown University on June 16-19, 2019.  Held every four years since 1991, the North American Syriac Symposium brings together scholars and students for exchange and discussion on a wide variety of topics related to the language, literature, and cultural history of Syriac Christianity, extending chronologically from the first centuries CE to the present day and geographically from Syriac Christianity's homeland in the Middle East to South India, China, and the worldwide diaspora.  For more information, click here: https://www.brown.edu/academics/religious-studies/events-0/syriac-symposium