Scholars Examine Bible's Role in American Politics, Sept. 9-10

Scholars Examine Bible's Role in American Politics, Sept. 9-10

Durham, NC - Duke University's Center for Jewish Studies and Department of Religion will host a conference Sept. 9-10 on how the Bible is used -- and misused -- in political campaigns, school curricula, foreign policy and popular culture. 

The two-day event, Bible in the Public Square, is free and open to the public, but online registration is requested. 

Eric Meyers, director of Duke's Center for Jewish Studies, said the conference was intentionally scheduled to coincide with the presidential election campaign. 

"The Bible is invoked in all kinds of political debates -- from public school education to the definition of marriage to American foreign policy in the Middle East -- and not always very carefully," said Meyers, the Bernice and Morton Lerner professor of religion. "The purpose of this conference is to help people be more critical in the way they assess commentary claiming a biblical pedigree." 

The conference organizers are making an effort to attract public school teachers to the event. 

"I hope that it will make teachers more enlightened about dealing with religion and the Bible in the classroom," said Carol Meyers, Mary Grace Wilson professor of religion at Duke and president-elect of the Society of Biblical Literature. 

Presentation topics include "Battling over the Bible in Public Schools," "Does America Have a Biblical Heritage?" and "The Bible in the Presidential Elections of 2012, 2008, 2004 and the Collapse of American Secularism." 

Talks on Sunday, Sept. 9, will be held in Room 0016 in the Divinity School's Westbrook Building on West Campus. Sessions on Monday, Sept. 10, will be in the Von Canon rooms in the Bryan Center, also on West Campus. Parking is available in the Bryan Center Garage.