Charles W. Hedrick, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, has recently published a book on the parables of Jesus. The title is Parabolic Figures or Narrative Fictions. Seminal Essays on the Stories of Jesus (Cascade, 2016).
Hedrick contends that parables do not teach moral and religious lessons; they are not, in whole or part, theological figures for the church. Rather parables are realistic narrative fictions that like all effective fiction literature are designed to draw readers into their story worlds where they make discoveries about themselves by finding their ideas challenged and subverted—or affirmed.
The parables have endings but not final resolutions, because the endings raise new complications for careful readers, which require further resolution. The narrative contexts and interpretations supplied by the evangelists constitute an attempt by the early church to bring the secular narratives of Jesus under the control of the church’s later religious perspectives. Each narrative represents a fragment of Jesus’ secular vision of reality.
Finding himself outside the mainstream of parables scholarship, both ecclesiastical and critical, Hedrick explored a literary approach to the parables in a series of essays that, among other things, set out the basic rationale for a literary approach to the parables of Jesus. These early essays form the central section of the book, published in edited form along with previously unpublished critiques of a strictly literary approach to the parables and his response.
Dr. Hedrick will be at Barnes and Noble Springfield, Missouri on October 22 for the public to meet the author and book signing.
Congratulations to Religious Studies Instructor Mark Boyer for earning second place in the 2016 Catholic Press Awards for his book, The Liturgical Environment: What the Documents Say (Liturgical Press, 3rd edition)! Mr. Boyer, who teaches courses on the Bible and film, Lord of the Rings and the Bible, Sacred Journeys, among others, has written over 35 books.
Mr. Boyer’s The Liturgical Environment: What the Documents Say is a useful compendium of the church’s law and guidelines on the liturgical environment. Rooted in the norm of active participation as the guiding principle for all liturgical celebration, each chapter considers the ecclesial documents that pertain to the particular objects under discussion, the theology found in the documents, and the praxis that flows from the theology. The Liturgical Environment has proven to be an essential resource for all those involved in planning, building, renovating, decorating, and worshiping in a sacred environment.
All interested scholars and professionals of Jewish Studies, including advanced graduate students, are cordially invited to submit proposals for papers, presentations, and workshops for the Midwest Jewish Studies Association (MJSA) 28th Annual Conference, hosted by the Missouri State University Religious Studies Department, to take place Sunday-Monday, September 11-12, 2016 at Missouri State University.
The deadline for submission of proposals for individual papers or complete sessions is May 6, 2016.
Prefer to work with children or youth? We have two internship opportunities for you! The Ambassadors for Children internship (application deadline is May 2, 2016), is open for either summer or fall; an internship at Brentwood Christian Church(application deadline TBD), is available in the fall semester only.
WineWorld: An Evening of Watching, Tasting, and Learning will take place on Thursday, 21 April 2016, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Missouri State University’s Meyer Library 107! Join Dr. Vadim Putzu, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, as he introduces, screens, and discusses the award-winning movie about the globalization of wine, Mondovino (Jonathan Nossiter, 2004).
Afterwards, Dr. Putzu and Mr. Aaron Rosenboom, of Brown Derby International, will host an Old World- vs. New World-style wine tasting, including some of the wines featured in the movie.
MSU students, faculty, staff, and their families are invited to attend this event. Tickets are $15 per person (21+ only), and may be purchased at the MSU Religious Studies Department in Strong Hall 251, M-F, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Seats are limited and IDs will be checked at the door.
There are still seats available for the Study Away program in England with Dr. Leslie Baynes!
May 20-27, 2016, travel with Dr. Baynes and fellow Anglophiles to Oxford, England, the visit the home of Joy Davidman and C.S. (Jack) Lewis, friend of J.R. R. Tolkien and the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and many, many more books, articles, and radio shows.
Explore the writings and world of Lewis and Davidman, his late-in-life wife, focusing on the eternal themes of love and loss from literary, theological, and historical perspectives. Visit Jack and Joy’s Oxford home, the Kilns, tour the university where Lewis taught, see his memorial in Westminster Abbey, and visit Churchill’s War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum in London.
Happy Thanksgiving! We are truly thankful for our students, faculty, and staff here at Missouri State University. May everyone have a wonderful break, plenty of family, friends, and food, and maybe enjoy some fun reading!
Our Religious Studies office will be closed all week, Monday-Friday, 23-27 November, and look forward to seeing everyone on Monday, 30 November.
Need upper-level undergraduate courses to fill out your spring 2016 schedule? Here are two options:
Religion 312-001, The Hebrew Prophets; and Religion 332-301, Modern Religious Thought.
REL 312 counts for the area “Biblical Studies,” and is a survey of the prophetic literature of ancient Israel in its social and historical contexts.
REL 332 is in the area “Religion and Culture,” and examines the ways modernity impacted the philosophy of religion in Europe and North America in the twentieth century. Major movements studied may include: Existentialism (Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Tillich); Process Thought (Whitehead); Feminism (Ruether, Daly); Deconstruction (Derrida, Caputo); and African American thought (King, Cone).
Contact either professor for more information! John Strong (Hebrew Prophets), and Kathy Pulley (Modern Religious Thought).
It’s like being a kid in a candy shop – so many great choices for the spring 2016 semester, so little time to take all the ones you want!
Here are two more of our courses offered in the spring 2016 semester: Religion 330-001, Judaism; and Religion 530-001 / 635-001, Religion, Media, and Popular Culture.
REL 330 counts for the area “Religions of Europe and the Middle East,” and is a survey of the history and religion of the Jewish peoples, including the Holocaust, the State of Israel, and modern Jewish movements.
REL 530 (undergraduate level) and 635 (graduate level) are in the area “Religion and Culture,” and explore a range of religions within American culture.