Amy-Jill Levine inspires Jewish/Christian/Feminist dialogue
Amy-Jill Levine describes herself as a “Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Protestant divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt” and has been described by others as “the rock star of Jewish-Christian dialogue.”
Levine, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, will present a public lecture 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, room 104. The lecture entitled, “Why Jesus’ Connection to Judaism Still Matters,” is sponsored by the department of religious studies under the auspices of the Lyman Coleman Fund, and supported by the Office of Religious Life and Hillel.
According to John Colatch, director of religious life, Levine is one of today’s leading voices in New Testament Scholarship.
“I think she brings a special focus to the work coming from a Jewish religious background,” says Colatch. “She delves into research on the historical Jesus, and makes it accessible to scholars and laypeople alike.”
Her lecture will focus on the importance of examining Jesus through the lens of his faith as a practicing Jew.
“Such a focus builds a great foundation for interfaith dialogue, and that will be a special emphasis of the Office of Religious Life in the coming academic year,” Colatch says.
“AJ Levine speaks with great insight, humor, and approachability,” he continues. “From a personal perspective, I have heard her lecture on numerous occasions, and her audiences respond with great enthusiasm and appreciation. We are indeed fortunate to be able to bring her to Lafayette.”
Levine is noted for her mixing of rigorous historical criticism, sensitive literary criticism, and humor with her dedication to abolishing anti-Semitic, sexist, and homophobic theologies. She has authored eight books, the latest of which are The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (HarperSanFrancisco, 2006); the edited collection, The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton University Press, 2006); and the fourteen-volume series, Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings (Continuum).
She has also published and edited over 120 scholarly articles; delivered numerous academic lectures; recorded “Introduction to the Old Testament,” “Great Figures of the Old Testament,” and “Great Figures of the New Testament” for the Teaching Company; and made multiple talk show appearances on television and radio.
Levine has held positions in the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association and the Association for Jewish Studies and has been awarded grants from numerous institutions and associations, including the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Levine holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, an honorary Doctor of Ministry from the University of Richmond, and a B.A. in English and religion from Smith College where she graduated Magna cum Laude.