Convocation aims to correct stereotyped misperceptions in religious and cultural issues

April 6, 2018

Renowned biblical scholar, author, and Vanderbilt professor Dr. Amy-Jill Levine will present Carleton’s weekly convocation on Friday, April 13. A self-described “Yankee Jewish feminist teaching in a primarily Protestant divinity school,” Levine's presentation, “Pearls and Prodigals: Jesus’ Parables in His Context and Ours,” is designed to correct stereotyped misperceptions in religious and cultural issues. Levine believes that by reading the parables of Jesus — brief narratives designed to indict and to inspire, and to do so often in humorous ways — as Jewish stories, she both recovers their original provocation and punch and so helps us to understand better their challenge for today.

Carleton convocations are held from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. on Friday mornings in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. They are also recorded and archived for online viewing.

Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science; she is also Affiliated Professor, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge, UK. She has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Association for Jewish Studies. Levine notes that, while she is a member of an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Nashville, she considers herself quite unorthodox.

The author of numerous books and publications, she is celebrated for combining historical-critical rigor, literary-critical sensitivity, and a frequent dash of humor with a commitment to eliminating anti-Jewish, sexist, and homophobic theologies. Levine seeks to correct stereotyped misperceptions, encourage openness to differing perspectives, and foster better relations through understanding both the shared roots and different branches of Judaism and Christianity.

Her published works include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus; The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (co-authored with Douglas Knight); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (co-authored with Warren Carter), and the thirteen-volume edited Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writing. Her most recent volume is Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. She has also just written, with noted children’s book author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Who Counts? 100 Sheep, Ten Coins, and Two Sons (a volume on the parables of Luke 15, designed for children). Dr. Levine is also the co-editor, with Marc Z. Brettler, of the Jewish Annotated New Testament (Oxford University Press), now in a second edition.

Levine holds a BA from Smith College and MA and PhD from Duke University, along with honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College. 

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.