Category: Uncategorized

Archaeology Brown Bag Lecture: “The Magic of Craft: Workshops and the Materialization of Christianity in Late Antique Egypt” by David Frankfurter

February 5th, 2015 in Uncategorized

12:00-1:00 pm on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Gabel Museum of Archaeology, STO 253


David Frankfurter in BU Today

January 23rd, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Devil Makes Them Do It

CAS prof on why Catholic exorcisms are spiking

By Rich Barlow

Pope Francis's recognition of an exorcists' group is part of a renewed Catholic interest in demonic possession. Photo Courtesy of Flickr Contributor Britpendleton

Pope Francis’s recognition of an exorcists’ group is part of a renewed Catholic interest in demonic possession. Photo Courtesy of Flickr Contributor Britpendleton

“A modern pope gets old school on the Devil.” Those words headlined a Washington Post story last spring probing Pope Francis’ belief that Satan is active in the world. As much as he’s been hailed as a modernizing force in the church, Francis, the paper reported, “has not only dwelled far more on Satan in sermons and speeches than his recent predecessors have, but also sought to rekindle the Devil’s image as a supernatural entity with the forces of evil at his beck and call.” Read more….

Next Week February 12: Department of Religion 19th Annual Lecture

January 9th, 2015 in Uncategorized

Religious Liberty and the Culture Wars

lacockPresented by:
Douglas Laycock
Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law
Peter W. Low Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia

Thursday, February 12, 2015
12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Room 103
Sumner M. Redstone Building
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215

Co-sponsored by the Department of Religion and the School of Law

To register for this event, please click here.

Abstract: Religious liberty has become much more controversial in recent years. A principal reason is deep disagreements over sexual morality. On abortion, contraception, gay rights, and same-sex marriage, conservative religious leaders condemn as grave evils what many other Americans view as fundamental human rights. Somewhat hidden in the battles over permitting abortion and recognizing same-sex marriage lie religious liberty issues about exempting conscientious objectors from facilitating abortions or same-sex marriages. Banning contraception is no longer a live issue; there, religious liberty is the principal issue. These issues arise in academia as well as in the larger society.

These culture-war issues are turning many Americans toward a very narrow understanding of religious liberty, and generating arguments that threaten religious liberty more generally. Persistent Catholic opposition to the French Revolution permanently turned France to a very narrow view of religious liberty; persistent religious opposition to the Sexual Revolution may be having similar consequences here.

We can and should protect the liberty of both sides in the culture wars. Conservative churches would do well to concede the liberty of the other side, including on same-sex marriage, and concentrate on defending their own liberty as conscientious objectors; and similarly, supporters of rights to abortion, contraception, gay rights, and same-sex marriage would do well to concentrate on securing their own rights and to concede that conscientious objectors should rarely be required to support or facilitate practices they view as evil. But inducing either side to accept such live-and-let-live solutions seems to be a hopeless task.

Jonathan Klawans talks about the Christmas-ification of Hanukkah in BU Today.

December 16th, 2014 in Uncategorized

A Ho-Ho-Ho Hanukkah?
The Christmas-ification of a Jewish holiday

By Rich Barlow

The Hanukkah Mensch on a Bench was inspired by a Christmas-themed gift. Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones

The Hanukkah Mensch on a Bench was inspired by a Christmas-themed gift. Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones

Would Jonathan Klawans keep Mensch on a Bench on his shelf? “If somebody sent it to us, probably,” he says genially. The College of Arts & Sciences professor of religion can even envision buying the Hanukkah themed doll-cum-book—a twist on the Christmas Elf on a Shelfas a holiday gift for his kids. Read more.

Frank Korom receives a BU Arts Initiative Grant to bring Hindu deities to campus.

December 9th, 2014 in Uncategorized

The goddess Sarasvati, patroness of education and the arts, is here portrayed with her "vehicle," the swan, while playing a vina with two of her hands. She also holds recitation beads in her second left hand and a sacred scripture in her second right hand.

The goddess Sarasvati, patroness of education and the arts, is here portrayed with her “vehicle,” the swan, while playing a vina with two of her hands. She also holds recitation beads in her second left hand and a sacred scripture in her second right hand.

The study of visual piety and material religion has become a topic of immense concern in recent years. To enable his students in his course on Hinduism in the spring of 2015 to appreciate the popular iconography of the Hindu pantheon, Korom will travel to India over the winter break to assemble a variety of chromolithographs to be used in the classroom and displayed strategically around campus. Korom says that the Sanskrit term darshan (auspicious sight)) cannot be appreciated fully without subjectively experiencing the uniqueness of each deity’s visual manifestation. To this end, he wishes to bring the deities to Boston University, so that they can be seen and appreciated not only by students but the general public as well.

Stephen Katz receives Honorary Degree from the University of Warwick.

November 14th, 2014 in Uncategorized

(L-R) Prof. Sean Hand, Prof. Stephen Katz, and Vice Chancellor Cox

Prof. Steven Katz received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Warick in July. Prof. Sean Hand introduced Prof. Katz. Vice Chancellor Cox made the presentation on behalf of the University.

Kecia Ali interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered.

October 20th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Many Views Of Muhammad, As A Man And As A Prophet

The Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was one of the most influential men in human history — but there’s little we can say about his life with historical certainty. The details of his life have been debated and manipulated ever since he walked the earth in the seventh century.

Boston University professor Kecia Ali’s new book, The Lives of Muhammad, examines those divergent narratives. In it, she explores the different ways the prophet’s life story has been told and retold, by both Muslims and non-Muslims, from the earliest days of Islam to the present. ……more

Listen to interview

Interfaith Engagement Series Lecture by Adam Seligman

September 24th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Thursday, October 2, 2014
BU School of Theology
745 Commonwealth Avenue, Room B-24

CEDAR: Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion

Join us for a lecture and conversation with Dr. Seligman who will help us understand just what engaging with difference may mean as an alternative to the many efforts of “finding common ground” or a “shared humanity” that define so many intercommnunal and interreligious initiatives. We will discuss the role of discomfort in learning and the importance of experience as opposed to book knowledge in the maturing of our moral consciousness.

Adam Seligman’s “Religious Education and the Challenge of Pluralism” has just been published.

September 17th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Religious EducationThe essays in this volume offer a groundbreaking comparative analysis of religious education, and state policies towards religious education in seven different countries and in the European Union as a whole. They pose a crucial question: can religious education contribute to a shared public sphere and foster solidarity across different ethnic and religious communities?

In many traditional societies and even in what are largely secular European societies, our place in creation, the meaning of good and evil, and the definition of the good life, virtue, and moral action, are all primarily addressed in religious terms. It is in fact hard to come to grips with these issues without recourse to religious language, traditions, and frames of reference. Yet, religious languages and identities divide as much as unite, and provide a site of contestation and strife as much as a sense of peace and belonging Not surprisingly, different countries approach religious education in dramatically different ways. Religious Education and the Challenge of Pluralism addresses a pervasive problem: how can religious education provide a framework of meaning, replete with its language of inclusion and community, without at the same time drawing borders and so excluding certain individuals and communities from its terms of collective membership and belonging?

The authors offer in-depth analysis of such pluralistic countries as Bulgaria, Israel, Malaysia, and Turkey, as well as Cyprus – a country split along lines of ethno-religious difference. They also examine the connection between religious education and the terms of citizenship in the EU, France, and the USA, illuminating the challenges of educating our citizenry in an age of religious resurgence and global politics.

Religious Education and the Challenge of Pluralism
Edited by Adam Seligman
October 1, 2014
Oxford University Press
Buy it now from!

Kecia Ali’s The Lives of Muhammad (Harvard) has just been published.

September 11th, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Lives of MuhammadAli headshot 2013A “Top 10 in Religion” pick from Publisher’s Weekly, the book explores the changing ways Muhammad’s life has been told over the centuries. It argues that despite the common perception that Muslims cling to archaic ideas about their prophet, in fact many ideas about Muhammad that contemporary Muslims hold developed over the last two centuries in tandem and in tension with Western Christian writers’ views of him, drawing on new ideas about marriage, sexuality, and human achievement.

Buy it now from Harvard University Press!