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Upcoming Events

Each semester, the Theology Department will host two Theology Thursday presentations. These events are open to the public and are intended to highlight the work of our department faculty members. Below you can find the topics and schedules for the Fall 2018 semester.

Fall 2018 Theology Thursday Presentations

"How Does a Parable Mean?”

September 20, 7:15 p.m., Franz Hall 120

The first three gospels depict Jesus teaching mainly through parables. But just what parable are, how they teach, and why none of Jesus followers seem to understand them are questions that frustrate any simple attempt to define "parable" as "a story with a moral." Dr. Will Deming will answer these questions and explore how the Gospel writers' description if Jesus as parable-teller was meant to be understood.

Will Deming has a B.A. in Religion from the College of William and Mary, and an M.A. in Divinity and a Ph.D. in Bible from the University of Chicago. During his first three years at Chicago, he studied Hinduism, Buddhism, and the History of Religions. From 1983 to 1986 he studied at the Georg-August Universität in Göttingen, the Heidelberger Paedagogium, and Jerusalem University. Professor Deming’s scholarly interests include early Christian literature, Second Temple Judaism, Hellenistic philosophy, and the Comparison of Religions. His area of specialization is Paul’s letters.


“The Body of Christ’s Barbarian Limb: John Chrysostom’s Theology of Ethnic Diversity”

November 1, 7:15 p.m., Franz Hall 120

In the late Roman world, a remarkable influx of Gothic immigrants into the empire ignited a theological debate over what it meant to be a Christian. The Goths were, in the eyes of many Romans, uncivilized barbarians and this prejudice was even pervasive among Christian leaders. How should these new foreigners be treated? Would conversion to Christianity enable them to assimilate into Roman society? Could they even become Christians at all? In this Theology Thursday presentation, we will explore how John Chrysostom, as bishop of Constantinople, challenged this ethnic prejudice and provocatively argued for a more inclusive faith.

Jon Stanfill has taught at the University of Portland since 2016. He specializes in the history of Christianity in late antiquity (250-750 CE) and, more specifically, the life and works of Saint John Chrysostom, a fifth-century bishop of Constantinople. He is currently working on his first book which examines the interplay between ethnicity, alterity, and religious identity in Chrysostom's efforts to promote the Christianization of the Goths. Jon received his BA in Pastoral Ministries from Northwest University (2003), an MA in Church History from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (2007), and a PhD in Theology (History of Christianity) from Fordham University (2015).