Within in a two-year span, Eric Ziolkowski, Dana Professor of Religious Studies, will have traveled to 11 cities on three continents delivering lectures on topics ranging from Biblical reception to 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, the subject of his latest book, which has garnered critical acclaim. His popularity as an invited lecturer is testament to his multifaceted scholarship.
Having lectured in Beijing and Suzhou last August, in May he heads to Hong Kong for the International Conference on Søren Kierkegaard and Chinese Culture at the Centre for Sino-Christian Studies, followed two months later by a roundtable lecture on “Scriptural Reasoning and Comparative Literature” at the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) Congress at the University of Paris-Sorbonne.
“Being invited to lecture internationally is a great way for a faculty member to engage in global studies,” Ziolkowski says, “not just in theory but action.”
Meeting scholars from other countries and contributing to the international conversation also plays out in the classroom, Ziolkowski says. He incorporates many of these experiences into the curriculum, providing a deeper context into the ever-evolving research of religious studies.
In addition, an expanded version of a lecture he gave in Chicago last November is appearing this spring in the Toronto Journal of Theology and the 6th volume of The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception has just appeared.
“The Bible is an essential document in my field of study,” he says. “This allows for constant engagement in studying the various impacts the Bible has in culture. It’s like an intellectual gymnasium involving other works.”
As one of the six main editors overseeing the 30-volume encyclopedia project, Ziolkowski enjoys working in a group.
“The way I work by nature on most projects is intensely solo and private,” he says. “For me it’s a nice way of doing something with the team.”
The encyclopedia includes articles by hundreds of authors from around the world and documents the Bible’s reception not only in the Christian church and the Jewish Diaspora but also in literature, art, music, and film, as well as Islam and other religious traditions and movements. The project moves into new terrain by seeking to document the fact that biblical texts have been received, interpreted, and exerted their influence in countless religious, theological, and aesthetic settings.
Ziolkowski has been working on the project for 10 years. The entire 30-volume set is expected to be completed in 2018 and accompanied by an online version.