Loy H. Witherspoon Lectures

Loy H Witherspoon and James TaborThe faculty of the Department of Religious Studies established the Witherspoon Lectures in 1984 to honor their colleague Loy H. Witherspoon, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religious Studies, for his twenty years of distinguished service at UNC Charlotte. It is the oldest and most prestigious endowed lecture series at UNC Charlotte. Dr. Witherspoon had continued to teach each semester as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Religious Studies. Hundreds of his friends and colleagues contributed to the fund that made this the first named, endowed lecture series at UNC Charlotte. Lectures have been published each year through a gift from Dr. William Pfischner.

Past lectures

1984-85

“Religion and Religions: The Problem of Living in a Multireligious World” by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University.

1985-86

“The Question of the Book: Religion as Texture” by David L. Miller, Syracuse University

1986-87

“Evolving Jewish Views of Jesus” by Michael J. Cook, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

1987-88

“In the Combat Zone Over American Values:  The Vision of One America versus the Vision of Many Americas" by Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago

1988-89

“The Banality of Evil:  The Darkness at the Center” by William H. Poteat, Duke University

1989-90

“Sexual Masquerades in the Hebrew Bible:  Rachel and Tamar” by Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago

1990-91

“Religiopolis: Beyond the Secular city” by Harvey G. Cox, Harvard University

1991-92

“Ecofeminism and Christian Theology:  Symbolic and Social Connections between the Domination of Women and of Nature” by Rosemary Radford Ruether, Garrett-Evangelical theological Seminary

1992-93

“Martin & Malcolm & America:  A Dream or a Nightmare” by James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary, New York City

1993-94

“Satan in the New Testament Gospels” by Elaine Pagels, Princeton University

1994-95

“Schindler’s List” by Thomas Keneally, University of California at Irvine

1995-96

“Re-Viewing Religious Knowledge” by Vine Deloria, Jr, University of Colorado at Boulder

1996-97

“Translating Womanism into Pedagogical Praxis” by Katie G. Cannon, Temple University

1997-98

Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls: What do we Know After Fifty  Years?” by James H. Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary

1998-99

“Jerusalem: The Contested Inheritance” by Francis E. Peters, New York University

1999-00

“Searching for Shangri-La” by Donald S. Lopez, University of Michigan

2000-01

“Caring for Creation: Religious Faith and the Challenge of Building a Sustainable World,” by Max Oelschlaeger, Northern Arizona University

2001-02

“Can the State be Virtuous? Muslim Political Philosophy, Old and New”, by John Williams, College of William and Mary

2002-03

“What Does It Mean to Say I Saw?: On the Varieties of Visionary Experiences” by Barbara Newman, Northwestern University   

2003-04

“Christians and the So-called State (We Are In) A Meditation on Loyalty after September 11, 2001” by Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University Divinity School

2004-05

 “Wooing Rebekah: How Issac Got a Wife” by Jack Sasson, Vanderbilt University

2005-06

 “Misquoting Jesus: Do We Have the Original New Testament?” by Bart Ehrman, UNC Chapel Hill

2006-07

 “No Free Pass: An Apocalyptic Call for Prophetic Witness in the Book of Revelation” by Brian Blount, Union Theological Seminary

2007-08

“Jesus in Jerusalem: New Archaeological Discoveries” by Shimon Gibson, W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research

2008-09

“Things Said/Things Done: The Relations of Myth and Ritual” by Jonathan Z. Smith, University of Chicago

2009-10

“What's the Matter with Marriage? Some Early Christian Answers" by Dr. Elizabeth A. Clark, Duke University

2010-11

“Secret Books and Secret Traditions of Ancient Judaism” by Michael E. Stone, Professor Emeritus of Judaic Studies, Hebrew University


2011-12

"Morality Without Religion: Empathy, Fairness, and Prosocial Primates" by Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph.D., Yerkes Center, Emory University

2012-13

"The Ancient New Age: How Gnostic Spirituality Revolutionized Religion in Antiquity" by April DeConick, Rice University

2013-14

"Secrets of the Confessional: Children, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Making of 20th Century U.S. Catholicism" by Robert A. Orsi, Northwestern University

2014-15

"The Impossibility of Religious Freedom" by Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Indiana University at Bloomington

2015-16

"Biological Gods: Science (Fiction) and Some Emergent Mythologies by Jeffrey Kripal, Rice University