Renowned religious thinker to deliver Hendricks Chapel 75th anniversary celebration keynote
Renowned religious thinker to deliver Hendricks Chapel 75th anniversary celebration keynoteApril 06, 2005Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Karen Armstrong, one of the world’s most recognized and provocative thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world, will deliver the keynote address in the 75th anniversary celebration of Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel.
She will speak on “The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m., in Hendricks Chapel. The event, which is also part of the yearlong celebration in honor of the inauguration of Chancellor Nancy Cantor, is open to the public. Pay parking is available in the Irving garage.
“Karen Armstrong is one of the essential thinkers of our time, and she addresses head-on the tendencies of the many belief systems of humanity to be exclusive,” says the Rev. Thomas Wolfe, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “At the same time, she opens to us the existing resources within each of the traditions that has the potential to remove barriers of mistrust without compromising any group’s particular identity.”
Armstrong, the 2005 Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in The College of Arts and Sciences, will also give two more public lectures during her weeklong visit to campus. She will speak on “Paul and the God of the Philosophers,” April 15 at 4 p.m., in the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center’s Regency Ballroom, as part of The College of Arts and Sciences’ St. Paul Among the Philosophers Conference. Paid parking is available in the Marion and Waverly visitor lots. Seating for this event is limited.
She will also speak on “The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness,” an inaugural event, on April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Watson Auditorium, 316 Waverly Ave. Paid parking is available in the Marion and Comstock lots.
During her visit to Syracuse, Armstrong will also participate in seminars with students in the Department of Religion, the Renee Crown University Honors Program and the Religion and Society Program.
“Ms. Armstrong’s visit comes at a time when the discussions of religion and religious fundamentalism are essential,” says Kandice Salomone, associate dean for administration in The College of Arts and Sciences. “The College expects that the key intellectual issues raised during her visit will lead to active, ongoing discussions about religious freedom and the role of religion and spirituality on campus, in our communities and in our lives.”
It was in Jerusalem, while working on a television series on Saint Paul, that Armstrong came face-to-face with how three of the world’s religions-Christianity, Islam and Judaism-often clashed, sometimes violently, even though all are rooted in the belief that every human being is sacred. She has examined these religions, the notion of God and the origins and growth of fundamentalism and its opposition to the modern world in more than a dozen books, including “A History of God” (Ballantine, 1993); “Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths” (Knopf, 1996); “Islam: A Short History” (Modern Library, 2000) and “The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam” (Knopf, 2000). Armstrong’s two biographies, “Buddha” (Viking Penguin, 2001) and “Muhammad” (Harper Collins, 1992) have also received widespread critical acclaim.
Armstrong’s latest book, “The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness” (Knopf, 2004), a memoir, details her lifelong spiritual quest. She spent several years in a convent in England, and left in 1969 after her personal search for God ended in failure.
Armstrong is currently an instructor at Leo Baeck College-Centre for Jewish Education in London and was the recipient of the 1999 Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award.