In the fall of 2017, a generous donor gave money for University Baptist to create an academic lecture series. We decided to name the series after the beloved former pastor Dick Myers. Now, the inaugural Richard E. Myers Lecture Series is only a few weeks away. And, recently, I learned that some people do not know what an academic ‘lecture series’ is.
An academic ‘lecture series’ is an event at which a scholar presents some new research. In this case, Prof. Paul Fiddes and his wife Marion will travel from Oxford, United Kingdom to Charlottesville and spend March 18-23 here. He will deliver three lectures about his research on Shakespeare and religion. The title of his series is “The Play’s the Thing: Shakespeare & Religion.”
The lectures will begin at 5:00 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, March 20-22. The lectures have the following titles:
March 20: A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Seeing with the Eyes of Love
March 21: King Lear & Taking Death Seriously
March 22: The Tempest & the Risks of Forgiveness
After a brief introduction, Prof. Fiddes will speak for approximately 50-60 minutes. Then, he will field questions for about 30 minutes. We will enjoy conversation during a reception with hors-d'oeuvres after the lecture. This will be an opportunity to talk more informally about what we just heard.
After Prof. Fiddes returns to Oxford, he will likely incorporate our questions into his project. Then, University of Virginia Press will publish the series of lectures as a book. This is a unique opportunity to hear a world-class theologian present his latest research.
So, who is our first lecturer? Prof. Fiddes holds the title of Professor of Systematic Theology in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is Director of Research at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, where he was Principal from 1989 to 2007. He researches modern systematic theology; theology and literature; the impact of late-modern continental philosophy on literary theory and theology; and theology of culture. He is the author or editor of more than 25 books and the author of more than 115 articles and book chapters. His most recent book is Seeing the World and Knowing God. Hebrew Wisdom and Christian Doctrine in a Late-Modern Context (Oxford University Press, 2013).
In 2017, Prof. Fiddes wrote his first work of fiction A Unicorn Dies: A Novel of Mystery and Ideas. University Baptist is honored to host a launch of this book on Wednesday, March 21, at 11:00 AM. Prof. Fiddes and I will each deliver short addresses.
We are blessed to have the chance to gather with such a great thinker and hear where his research is going. Invite your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and anyone else who might be interested in Shakespeare and religion. If you would like a poster, please contact the church office. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me.