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Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre: Dreaming in Time and Space

March 5th, 2013

Humanities News

You are invited to a Kraft-Hiatt Lecture

Dreaming in Time and Space: 1 Thessalonians and Paul’s Apocalyptic Imagination

By Professor Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre

Thursday, March 7, 2013, 1 to 1:50 pm, Lown 301 (Presented in NEJS 130a:  The New Testament: A Historical Introduction with Professor Bernadette Brooten)

In an early first-century letter, the Apostle Paul describes the future return of Jesus Christ in fantastic images of a celestial King riding the clouds of Heaven and believers flying into the air to meet him. Historians place this imagery within Paul’s apocalyptic worldview, which drew on ancient Jewish ideas about God’s future return in judgment. This lecture introduces students to this apocalyptic worldview, and proposes thinking about such imagery in terms of space and material culture, not only in terms of time and texts. Using a critical and material understanding of space brings out the ways that Paul’s vision of the future orients ancient and contemporary readers to their own here and now.

Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre is the Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey.

Her teaching and scholarship centers on the beginnings and growth of the Jesus movement and the Christ communities in the context of the Roman Empire, as well as on the politics and ethics of the interpretation of scriptures. Her current research focuses on using critical space, material culture, and utopian studies to think about how ancient religious texts reflect and organize their worlds. She is the author of Jesus Among Her Children: Q, Eschatology, and the Construction of Christian Origins (2005) and Mary Magdalene Understood with Jane Schaberg (2006).

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