For our final summer reading post in this blog series, we spoke with Dr. Bo Adams, Director of the Pitts Theology Library and Candler’s Margaret A. Pitts Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theological Bibliography! Bo holds a doctorate in New Testament studies from Emory, but also has a background in computer science, an interest you can see in his second suggestion.
But before we get to the technology, Bo’s first suggestion is the critically acclaimed memoir of neurosurgeon Paul Kalanthi, entitled When Breath Becomes Air. At the age of 35, Dr. Kalanthi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, which promoted him to record his thoughts on life and death as he battled the disease. Tragically, Dr. Kalanthi died in March 2015, but his wife made sure this beautiful memoir was published. You won’t want to miss this moving examination of life and what makes life worth living.
Bo’s second suggestion is, in his words, “a very astute defense of ‘distant reading’ as a legitimate enterprise in the digital age.” Indeed, Bo highly recommends a short article, entitled, Sacred Reading: From Augustine to Digital Humanists, written by Chad Wellmon, a professor of German at the University of Virginia. According to Bo, this piece “traces the development of close reading in the west, spending time reflecting on the understanding of reading as a technical and/or transformative act in figures like Plato, Augustine, Hugh, and Petrarch.” While it may not be the best poolside reading, this article offers us the opportunity to think about why and how we read, which, as Bo says, isn’t a bad idea as we head into the new semester in a few short weeks!
Thank you for joining us throughout the summer—please don’t hesitate to stop by the reference desk or get in touch if you’d like any other reading suggestions!
For our penultimate blog in this summer reading series, we spoke with Dr. Joel LeMon, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Associate Director of Emory’s the Graduate Division of Religion! Dr. LeMon is well known for his mentorship of doctoral students in Hebrew Bible and for his passionate teaching of Candler’s required Old Testament introductory course. He is also known for his sartorial choices (every day is a bow-tie day!).
Dr. LeMon’s recommendation follows in the footsteps of last week’s recommenders and takes the form of a podcast! On Script is a monthly podcast that addresses a wide array of current topics in biblical studies, featuring interviews with prominent scholars in the fields of Old and New Testament.
The podcast is hosted by four biblical studies scholars, including Matthew Lynch, a graduate of Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion and currently Dean of Studies at Westminster Theological Centre. You might particularly be interested in a recent interview the podcast team conducted with Candler’s own Carol Newsom, on the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bible and ecology, and even glass beads!
Dr. LeMon is too modest to recommend one of his own texts, but we would be remiss if we did not draw your attention to his 2015 edited volume Image, Text, Exegesis: Iconographic Interpretation and the Hebrew Bible. Much of Dr. LeMon’s work (here and elsewhere) argues for the value of using Ancient Near Eastern iconography as an aid to interpreting biblical texts, a methodology that continues to inform new generations of graduate students at Emory and Candler!
This week we spoke to Deanna Ferree Womack, Assistant Professor of History of Religions and Multifaith Relations at Candler. Dr. Womack teaches courses on Christian-Muslim dialogue and has a book that will appear soon entitled “Protestants, Gender, and the Arab Renaissance in Late Ottoman Syria”!
Dr. Womack’s summer reading recommendation is a brand new memoir by Daisy Khan, called Born with Wings: The Spiritual Journey of a Modern Muslim Woman. Khan is the founder and executive director of a the Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality (WISE), a New York based non-profit that coordinates and connects Muslim women leaders around the globe. Khan was born in Kashmir, and that experience informed her work as an activist in New York, inspiring her to advocate and educate!
This work is particularly inspirational to Dr. Womack and her own educational efforts in the field of interreligious dialogue, both in her teaching and as Director of the Leadership and Multifaith Program (LAMP), a collaboration between Candler and Georgia Tech. This program offers symposia on a variety of topics for students at both institutions, and provides a space for considering global leadership, religious diversity, and multifaith understanding.
This week, we spoke to two staff members at Pitts who work behind the scenes to ensure that you can find the books you need: both in our online catalogue and on the shelves! You may know that our first recommender, Armin Siedlecki, Head of Cataloguing, is an expert in reformation material—he’s curated the past several reformation-themed exhibitions and is responsible for cataloging countless rare book materials over his many years at Pitts.
Armin has just finished listening a series of lectures by Ken Albala, a professor of history at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, who teaches courses on the Renaissance and Reformation, Food History, and the History of Medicine. This particular lecture series is on the cultural history of food, and Armin says it “was absolutely fascinating”! The series is part of the Great Courses program, but is also available for free as a podcast. Armin highly recommends this enlightening and tasty listening experience!
You’ve probably seen our second recommender at the circulation desk or moving rapidly around the building! Jenny Vitti, Reserves and Stacks Specialist, is responsible for making sure all your required class readings are where they should be and for making our stacks pristine.
This summer, Jenny is taking Emory Scholarly Communications Librarian Melanie Kowalski’s pilot course on Copyright Support for library staff. The group is reading two chapters from Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property by Susan M. Bielstein. Jenny says Bielstien’s work “is fun and witty and engaging,” so she’s reading the entire book (which is quite slim)! Jenny says “it’s a great book to read for anyone who intends to use other people’s art in their own scholarly work.”
Jenny’s summer “to read” list also includes Death in the Choir by Lorraine V. Murray. Lorraine worked at Pitts Theology Library for years and is nowpart of our volunteer program. The book is the first of three murder mysteries – set in a Catholic church! – in the Francesca Bibbo series by Lorraine.
This week we spoke to one of Candler’s newest faculty members: Assistant Professor of American Religious History, Dr. Helen Jin Kim! Dr. Kim specializes in the history and global impact of American evangelicalism as well as Transpacific and world Christianity. Her summer reading suggestions reflect her research interests and indicate the incredible relevance of that research in current religious and political discussions!
Up first, Dr. Kim suggests Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics written by R. Marie Griffith, director of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. Griffith looks to early 20th century American Christian arguments on morality and sexuality as the origin of the contemporary debates (like those around birth control and gender roles).
Also on Dr. Kim’s shelf is David Hollinger’s Protestants Abroad: How Missionaries Tried to Change the World but Changed America. Hollinger, an emeritus faculty member at UC Berkley, explores the 20th c. American Protestant mission field and the impact that those generations of missionaries had on their own country’s changing landscape.
Last, but certainly not least given the past week’s news cycle, Dr. Kim highly recommends Janelle S. Wong’s brand new release: Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change. As a faculty member at the University of Maryland, Wong has studied race, immigration, and political mobilization—this new work looks at immigrant political participation, particularly the role of Asian American and Latinx evangelical Christians in the conservative Christion movement.