March 13, 2007

Religion scholar David Chidester

LEWISBURG, Pa. — David Chidester will give the talk, "American Religion: Violence and Redemption," Thursday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free to the public, is sponsored by Bucknell's religion department and the Charles M. and Elizabeth S. Bond Memorial Lecture fund.

Chidester is professor of religious studies and director of the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa at the University of Cape Town. He also has served as special adviser to the Minister of Education and Visiting Fellow with the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa.

He is the author or editor of more than 20 books in North American studies, South African studies, and comparative religion, including Salvation and Suicide: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown; Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa; Christianity: A Global History; Nelson Mandela: In His Own Words; and Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture. He received the American Academy of Religion's Award for Excellence in Religious Studies in 1990 and 1997 and the Alan J. Pifer Award for social research in 2005.

Of Chidester's Christianity, A Global History, Publishers Weekly wrote, "It takes a brave author to write this kind of history, where every chapter, in some cases every sentence, requires passing through territory that has been analyzed, debated, deconstructed and reassembled for 2,000 years. Yet Chidester is up to the task, providing a readable, objective sweep of Christian history that reflects an admirable knowledge of the details without ever losing sight of the larger currents. Specialists will find omissions and oversimplifications, but Chidester has braved their scorn, and the reader seeking a broad understanding of Christianity's evolution will be grateful."

The Charles M. and Elizabeth S. Bond Memorial Lecture was established in 1967 in tribute to Bucknell University religion department faculty member Charles M. Bond and his wife, Elizabeth Stults Bond. The lectureship is to be filled by "a person who has made significant contributions in the general area of religious interpretation, thought, and action."

Past Bond lectures have been delivered by Robert Bellah (1969), Rosemary Radford Ruether (1974), Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J. (1982), Cornel West (1986), James Cone (1988), Thomas Berry (1989), Charles Long (1992), and Judith Plaskow (1995).

Posted March 13, 2007

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