On March 12, Dr. Steed Davidson, professor of Old Testament at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, will deliver the 2009 Hein-Fry Lectures, "Luther and the Plain Sense of the Word: Towards a New Literalism" at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
"Plain sense" reading of the Bible has, in the minds of some people, led to the practice of proof-texting and literalism. In his lectures, Dr. Davidson will look at Luther's understanding of reading the Bible with a "plain sense" approach, which made it available to readers outside of the monastic setting. He will suggest contemporary reading practices that "cultivate popular readers of the Bible on one hand and informed reading practices on the other."
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing, LSTC professor of New Testament, will respond to the lectures.
The lecture will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Common Room (350) of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, followed by Dr. Rossing's response at 2:45 p.m. A reception will be held at 3:15 p.m.
The annual Hein-Fry Lecture Series offers free lectures to the public at each of the ELCA seminaries on pressing theological issues facing the church. The goals of the lectures are to foster original scholarship; encourage broad dialogue throughout the church on a theological topic; and to give seminary faculty, students, clergy, church leaders and other interested persons access to leading theologians.
Dr. Davidson looks for ways to help students interact with texts in their historical and cultural contexts and to make connections between the biblical texts and the present day. He joined the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary faculty in 2007. He has served as pastor of United Methodist congregations in New York and the Caribbean and as assistant professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Dr. Davidson holds degrees from the University of the West Indies, Boston University, and Union Theological Seminary.
Barbara Rossing is well-known as the author of The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (Basic Books, 2004). She lectures, preaches, and makes presentations worldwide, focusing on the apocalypse and ecology. Dr. Rossing serves on the executive committee of the Lutheran World Federation and chairs LWF's theology and studies committee. She joined the LSTC faculty in 1994. Rossing has been pastor of a congregation in Minnesota and at Holden Village Retreat Center in Chelan, Washington. She served as director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church and as chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School. Rossing holds degrees from Carleton College, Yale Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.