The Bible in the Public Square

September 9-10, 2012, Duke University

The Bible in the Public Square will be a unique 2-day conference with experts speaking to the role of the Bible in everything from Public Schools and American Politics, to the Middle East and popular culture.

Twitter handle: #BibleinPublicSquare​ 

web bannerfinalExperts say Bible has Enduring Role in American Life

Read all about our recent conference: The Bible in the Public Square, in which experts from around North America came together to discuss the roll of the Bible in American life.
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Scholars Examine Bible's Role in American Politics

Organizers Eric and Carol Meyers discuss the Bible in the Public Square conference - why they selected the date that they did, and what the conference hopes to achieve.
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jacques2 1 Jacques Berlinerblau asks "Why So Little Religious Politicking in This Presidential Election?"

Bible in the Public Square opening speaker, Jacques Berlinerblau (Georgetown University), discusses the lack of what he terms "Faith and Values campaigning" in the current presidential election campaign.
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99718272 300x200 John Fea: On the Road With Christian America

Professor John Fea (Messiah College), who will present a paper entitled: "Does America Have a Biblical Heritage?" at the 2012 Bible in the Public Square Conference, discusses what many Americans think about the founding of the United States.
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melissa rogersMelissa Rogers: Obama and the Two Types of Marriage

Conference presenter Melissa Rogers, Director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs, Wake Forest University Divinity School, discusses Obama's distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage, and the tenor of the debate surrounding the issue of same-sex marriages.
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The Bible in the Public Square

Conference Schedule

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Welcome (7:30-7:45 pm)
  • Eric Meyers, (Duke University)
  • Laurie Patton, Dean of Arts and Sciences, (Duke University)
Session 1 (7:45-9:00 pm): The Bible and Presidential Politics
  • Chair: Eric Meyers (Duke University)
  • Jacques Berlinerblau (Georgetown University): "The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Session 2 (9:00 am-12:15 pm): The Bible and Popular Culture
  • Chair: Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University)
  • Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa): “Then as Now: Old Testament Epics and American Identity”
  • David W. Stowe (Michigan State University): "Babylon Revisited: Psalm 137 as America's First Protest Song"
Break
Session 2, continued
  • David Morgan (Duke University): "The Bible as Image in American Visual Culture"
  • Rubén R. Dupertuis (Trinity University): “Translating the Bible into Pictures: Comic-Book Bibles and the Politics of Interpretation”
Lunch (12:30-1:30 pm)
Session 3 (1:40-3:00 pm) The Bible and America’s Founding Era
  • Chair: Carol Meyers (Duke University)
  • John Fea (Messiah College): "Does America Have a Biblical Heritage?"
  • Shalom Goldman (Duke University): “God’s American Israel: Hebrew, the Bible and the American Imagination”
Break (3:00-3:30 pm)           
Session 4 (3:30-5:00 pm) The Bible and Middle East Policy
  • Chair: Eric Meyers (Duke University)
  • Yaakov Ariel (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): “Biblical Imagery and Political Action: the Roots of Christian Support for Zionism and Israel”
  • Mordecai Inbari (University of North Carolina, Pembroke): “Zionism, Bible, and the Messianic Crisis of the West Bank Settlements”
Reception (5:00-5:45 pm)
Session 5 (7:30-9:30 pm) The Bible and Public Schools
  • Chair: Shalom Goldman (Duke University)
  • Charles Haynes (First Amendment Center): “Battling over the Bible in Public Schools: Is Common Ground Possible?”
  • Melissa Rogers (Wake Forest Center for Religion & Public Affairs): “‘Rightly Dividing the First Amendment?  An Evaluation of Recent Decisions regarding the Bible and Public Schools”
  • Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University): "The Good Book as Textbook in Historical Perspective"

Speakers

The Bible in the Public Square Conference will draw on the knowledge of religion experts from all over North America, from a variety of backgrounds.  Charles Haynes will join us from the First Amendment Center, and Melissa Rogers who was appointed by President Barak Obama to lead his inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  Speakers will present on a wide variety of topics in which they explore the role of the Bible in Public Schools, American politics, the Middle East, and even popular culture.

Speaker & Moderator Bios

Yaakov Ariel

Yaakov Ariel is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Chicago, where he completed a doctoral degree on Christian messianic groups and their relation to Jews and Zionism. His research focuses on Protestant Christianity and its attitudes towards the Jewish people; on Christian-Jewish relations in the modern era; and on the Jewish reaction to modernity.  Ariel has published numerous articles and two books on these subjects. His latest book, Evangelizing the Chosen People, was awarded the Albert C. Outler prize by the American Society of Church History.  Ariel is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jacques Berlinerblau

Jacques Berlinerblau is an associate professor and director of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He holds separate doctorates in biblical studies and theoretical sociology. In 2005 he released his third book The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously and followed up with a sister volume in 2008 Thumpin’ It: The Use and Abuse of the Bible in Today’s Presidential Politics. During the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections Berlinerblau was an oft-cited commentator on the subject of Faith-based politicking, appearing on CNN, CBS, PBS, Al-Jazeera along with National Public Radio and countless talk shows about religion. Berlinerblau hosts his own video show on the subject called “Faith Complex” and his guests have included everyone from congresspersons to heads of state, from professors to poets. The episodes stream on the HuffingtonPost, The Jewish Week and The Chronicle of Higher Education where Berlinerblau also writes for the popular Brainstorm blog. His next book, How to be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom is to be released in September of 2012.

Mark A. Chancey

Mark A. Chancey is Professor of Religious Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.   Chancey attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Religion and a M.A. in Religion, and Duke University, where he earned a Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Judaism.   He is the author of three books, The Myth of a Gentile Galilee (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and, with co-author Eric M. Meyers, Alexander to Constantine:  (Yale University Press, forthcoming). His research interests range from the historical Jesus, archaeology and the Bible, and the political and social history of Roman-period Palestine to church-state issues and religion and contemporary public education. In recent years he has devoted considerable attention to the constitutional, political and academic issues raised by religion courses in public education. His two reports on Bible courses for the Austin-based watchdog group Texas Freedom Network led to the drastic revision of a nationally used Bible curriculum produced by a Greensboro-based religious organization and helped draw attention to the ways in which Bible courses are often used for the unconstitutional promotion of certain religious views over others in public school classrooms. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Religion & Education, serves as the co-chair of the Society of Biblical Literature Working Group on the Bible and Public Education, and was part of the American Academy of Religion's Task Force on Religion in the Schools.

Rubén R. Dupertuis

Rubén R. Dupertuis is an Associate Professor in the Religion Department at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. He has written on Greek education in the early Roman Empire as well as on the use of Greek philosophical traditions in the Acts of the Apostles. He is co-editor, with Todd Penner, of a forthcoming volume entitled, Reading Acts in the Second Century. His forthcoming essay on comic-book Bibles is part of a larger interest in the role of the Bible and American popular culture.

John Fea

John Fea is associate professor of American history and chair of the history department at Messiah College in Grantham, Penn.  He is the author of *The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) and the co-editor of *Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation* (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).  His book, *Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction* (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2011) is one of three finalists for the 2012 George Washington Book Prize.  Fea writes and speaks for both popular and scholarly audiences and his blogs daily at "The Way of Improvement Leads Home."

Shalom Goldman

Shalom Goldman is a Professor of Religion at Duke University.  He has taught at The New School for Social Research, Brown, Dartmouth, Case Western Reserve, Ohio State, Tel Aviv, and Emory Universities. His teaching and research interests include Biblical themes in Jewish and non-Jewish literature, and the study of Hebrew and the “Hebraic” in Christian and Muslim cultures. His publications include The Wiles of Women/The Wiles of Men: Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife in Ancient Near Eastern, Jewish, and Islamic Folklore (SUNY Press, 1995), the edited volume Hebrew and the Bible in America: The First Two Centuries (University Press of New England, 1993), God’s Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination (UNC Press, 2004), and his most recent book, Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews and the Idea of the Promised Land (UNC Press, 2010).  Prof. Goldman’s current project is an examination of Jewish and Christian religious conversions in the 20th century.

Charles C. Haynes

Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Over the past two decades, he has been principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religion in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious and educational organizations. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion in Public Schools. Haynes holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Emory University.

Motti Inbari

Motti Inbari is an assistant professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. His books are: Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount (SUNY 2009) and Messianic Religious Zionism Confronts Israeli Territorial Compromises (Cambridge 2012).

Carol Meyers

Carol Meyers is the Mary Grace Wilson Professor of Religion at Duke University. She has lectured and published widely in several fields: biblical studies, archaeology, and gender in the biblical world. Her reference work, Women in Scripture, is the most comprehensive study ever made of biblical women. Her forthcoming book, Rediscovering Eve (2012), is a landmark study of women in ancient Israel. Meyers has been a staff member or co-Director of numerous archaeological field projects. She has also been a frequent consultant for media productions, including DreamWorks's "Prince of Egypt" and Nova's "The Bible's Buried Secrets."  She is currently president-elect of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Eric M. Meyers

Eric M. Meyers is the Bernice & Morton Lerner Professor of Religion, and the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University.  He specializes in the social setting of late biblical prophecy in the Persian period, Second Temple Judaism, the archaeology of the Land of Israel, and the synagogue in early Judaism. Dr. Meyers is currently at work on the final publication of the Sepphoris Excavations and a book on Second Temple Judaism with Mark Chancey of SMU.

David Morgan

David Morgan is Professor of Religion and Director of the Graduate Program of Religion at Duke University. He is author of several books, including most recently The Embodied Eye: Religious Visual Culture and the Social Life of Feeling (2012). Morgan also co-edits the journal Material Religion and a book series at Routledge entitled "Religion, Media, and Culture."

Adele Reinhartz

Adele Reinhartz is Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa (Canada). Her main areas of research are early Jewish-Christian relations, and the Bible and Film. She is the author of numerous articles and several books, including Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John (Continuum, 2001), Scripture on the Silver Screen (Westminster John Knox, 2003), Jesus of Hollywood (Oxford, 2007), and Caiaphas the High Priest (University of South Carolina Press, 2011).  Adele was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2005.

Melissa Rogers

Melissa Rogers serves as director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School and as a nonresident senior fellow in the Governance Studies program of The Brookings Institution.  Rogers previously served as the executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and as general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  In 2008 Baylor University Press published a casebook co-authored by Rogers, Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court.  She has written widely about the religion clauses of the First Amendment.  In 2009 President Barack Obama appointed Rogers to serve as chair of his inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  In 2011 she was named to a subgroup of the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, one of several working groups that is part Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.  Rogers has testified on religious freedom issues before subcommittees of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees.  In 2010, the First Freedom Center gave Rogers its Virginia First Freedom Award, and in 2004 National Journal recognized her as one of the church-state experts "politicians will call on when they get serious about addressing an important public policy issue." Rogers earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Baylor University.

David W. Stowe

David W. Stowe has written widely on music and religion in American culture, including No Sympathy for the Devil: Christian Pop Music and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism (2011); How Sweet the Sound: Music in the Spiritual Lives of Americans (2004), which won a Deems Taylor award from ASCAP; and Swing Changes: Big Band Jazz in New Deal America (1994), which was published in Japanese in 1999.  He is professor of English and Religious Studies at Michigan State University, where he served as director of the Program in American Studies.  Stowe taught for three years at the Graduate School of American Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto, where he also served as associate dean.  He will be a research fellow at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music during the 2012 – 2013 academic year.

Video: Bible in Presidential Politics

Jacques Berlinerblau: (Georgetown University): "The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism"

 

Video: The Bible and Popular Culture, Part 1

  • Chair:  Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University)
  • Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa): “Then as Now: Old Testament Epics and American Identity”
  • David W. Stowe (Michigan State University): "Babylon Revisited: Psalm 137 as America's First Protest Song"

Video: The Bible and Popular Culture, Part 2

  • David Morgan (Duke University): "The Bible as Image in American Visual Culture"
  • Rubén R. Dupertuis (Trinity University): “Translating the Bible into Pictures: Comic-Book Bibles and the Politics of Interpretation”

Video: The Bible and America's Founding Era

  • Chair:  Carol Meyers (Duke University)
  • John Fea (Messiah College): "Does America Have a Biblical Heritage?"
  • Shalom Goldman (Duke University): “God’s American Israel: Hebrew, the Bible and the American Imagination”

 

Video: The Bible and Middle East Policy

  • Chair:  Eric Meyers (Duke University)
  • Yaakov Ariel (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): “Biblical Imagery and Political Action: the Roots of Christian Support for Zionism and Israel”
  • Mordecai Inbari (University of North Carolina, Pembroke): “Zionism, Bible, and the Messianic Crisis of the West Bank Settlements

 

Video: The Bible and Public Schools

  • Chair: Shalom Goldman (Duke University)
  • Charles Haynes (First Amendment Center): “Battling over the Bible in Public Schools: Is Common Ground Possible?”
  • Melissa Rogers (Wake Forest Center for Religion & Public Affairs): “‘Rightly Dividing the First Amendment?  An Evaluation of Recent Decisions regarding the Bible and Public Schools”
  • Mark Chancey (Southern Methodist University): "The Good Book as Textbook in Historical Perspective"