Mercer University’s Roberts Department of Christianity had the honor of naming Dr. Carol A. Newsom as the 2014 Harry Vaughan Smith Visiting Distinguished Professor of Christianity. Newsom is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament and director of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. She is also the author of seven books, many articles, book chapters, translations, encyclopedia articles and reviews. She has received prestigious grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce Foundation. Newsom is a senior fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, and she currently sits on several editorial boards. She also served as a president of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Newsom earned her B.A. from Birmingham-Southern College in 1971, Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1975 and Ph.D from Harvard University in 1982. She has received honorary degrees from Birmingham-Southern and the University of Copenhagen, the latter for her work transcribing, translating and providing commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls and her study of Old Testament theology. Newsom’s current research focuses on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Wisdom tradition, the book of Daniel, and apocalyptic literature.
For the 2014 Harry Vaughan Smith Lectures, Newsom will be presenting a series of lectures in Newton Chapel under the title “A Thousand Years of Feminist Biblical Interpretation.” “As incredible as it sounds, evidence exists for what can legitimately be called feminist biblical interpretation stretching back at least a thousand years,” Newsom said. “This series of lectures explores three critical times in which women used feminist biblical interpretation to claim a place for themselves.” The first lecture is called “The Quest for Dignity and Autonomy: Medieval and Renaissance Women Interpreters,” and this will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 10:50 a.m. The second lecture is “The Bible and the Right to Preach: Women and the Word in Protestant Christianity,” and this will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. The third and final lecture is called “Radical Outsiders and Ambivalent Insiders: Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s ‘Woman’s Bible,’” and this will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. These lectures are free and open to the public.
“At a time when many people still wonder what the roles of women and men should be in today’s church and society, Dr. Newsom provides a window into the past and the creative roles women have played to express their commitment to the Christian Church and its witness in the world,” said Dr. Janell Johnson, associate professor of Christianity at Mercer. “She, herself, has taken up the challenge of creative leadership in the field of biblical scholarship, contributing to and co-editing the ‘Women’s Bible Commentary,’ and publishing a monograph on Job that considers new biblical methodology. Dr. Newsom is a gifted teacher and lecturer who exemplifies the good scholarship that we seek and value among those we choose for the Harry Vaughan Smith lecture series.”