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'Scandalous Women and Religious Traditions' focus of 2009 Phyllis Trible Lecture Series

February 10, 2009

The seventh annual Phyllis Trible Lecture Series at Wake Forest University will examine the role of women in world religions on March 3 and 4 in Brendle Recital Hall at the Scales Fine Arts Center.  This annual event brings together a wide-ranging audience from the Wake Forest community, clergy and individuals from across the nation interested in feminist theology.

“The general purpose of the series is to strengthen the feminist presence on the campus, especially as rooted in religious communities,” says Phyllis Trible, University Professor at the Wake Forest School of Divinity and Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature Emerita at Union Theological Seminary in New York.  “This year we’re looking at the history of women in religious traditions, focusing primarily on Christianity, but reaching out to the ancient world, the Middle Ages, the modern and contemporary world.  We hope that it will deepen peoples understanding of the role of women in the world’s religions.”

The series is free for Wake Forest faculty, staff and students.  Students from other schools may attend for free by showing their student identification.  For more information, including a complete schedule of events and directions, visit

The lecture series honors Phyllis Trible, an internationally known biblical scholar and member of the founding faculty of the Wake Forest School of Divinity.  Trible has published groundbreaking feminist works, including “God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality” and “Texts of Terror:  Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narrative.”  She provided expert commentary for Bill Moyers' public television series, “Genesis:  A Living Conversation.”

Among the speakers is Jane Crosthwaite, professor of religion at Mount Holyoke College, who proposed this year’s theme.  Crosthwaite graduated from Wake Forest in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, and previously taught in the philosophy department and at the School of Divinity.  She and Yvonne Chireau, associate professor of religion at Swarthmore College, will present a session titled “Spirits and Visions:  The Scandals of Religious Women.”

Additional sessions include “The Scandal of the Sacred:  Early Christian Ascetic Women” presented by Elizabeth Clark, the John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion at Duke University; “With Running Mouth and Hands on Hips:  Sapphire and the Moral Imagination” presented by Emilie Townes, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology at Yale Divinity School; and “A Scandalous Woman, Who Can Find?” presented by Phyllis Trible and Wilma Bailey, professor of Hebrew and Aramaic scripture at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.  The series wraps up with a panel discussion including all the speakers, moderated by Phyllis Trible.

Editors note:  Phyllis Trible is available for advance and in-person interviews.  Interviews with other scholars may also be arranged.  Call (336) 758-5237 to schedule an interview.

Press Contacts:

Audrey Fannin
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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