Gabriel Vahanian, world-renowned theologian, professor emeritus, to speak at Syracuse University Oct. 24
Gabriel Vahanian, world-renowned theologian, professor emeritus, to speak at Syracuse University Oct. 24October 19, 2007Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
The Department of Religion at Syracuse University will hold a special ceremony honoring Gabriel Vahanian, world-renowned theologian and author of the landmark book “The Death of God” (george braziller, 1961) on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 2-4 p.m. in the Kilian Room (Room 500) of the Hall of Languages. The event includes a keynote address by the SU professor emeritus titled “Fundamentalism, Secularism, and Relativism: On the Conflict of East and West,” as well as a celebration of the Gabriel Vahanian Endowed Support Fund. The event is free and open to the public; parking is available in the University’s visitor pay lots. For more information, call (315) 443-3863.
“This is truly a historic event for the religion department because it offers an opportunity to look back some 30 years ago into the 1970s, when Vahanian and his colleagues at Syracuse played a pivotal role in establishing a subfield — radical theology — in religious studies, as well as conceptualizing, more broadly, the academic study of religions,” says Tazim R. Kassam, chair of SU’s religion department.
Also scheduled to speak at the ceremony are David L. Miller, Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion Emeritus at SU; James Wiggins, Eliphalet Remington Professor of Religion Emeritus at SU; and Michael S. Kogan ’63, G’77, chair of the philosophy and religion department at Montclair State University. Kassam and SU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Cathryn Newton will deliver opening remarks.
Vahanian has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a theology professor in the United States and Europe. Best known for his pioneering work in the “Death of God” movement, the French native is noted for his scholarship in the areas of literature and theology, and culture and religion. “The Death of God: The Culture of Our Post-Christian Era,” in which Vahanian laments the cultural objectification of God, has been hailed as a landmark of theological criticism.
Currently, Vahanian is professor emeritus at the Universite Marc Bloch in Strasbourg, France, and at SU, where his personal papers from 1945-71 are archived. At SU, he founded and directed the graduate program in religion and served as the Eliphalet Remington Professor of Religion from 1967-73 and the Jeanette Kittredge Watson Professor of Religion from 1973-84.
Other highlights of his career include founding the board of directors of the prestigious American Academy of Religion and, in 1982, serving as a consulting member of the U.S. President’s Commission on the Study of Ethical Problems in Biomedical Medicine and Behavioral Research. He has written numerous books and articles, which have been translated into European languages and Korean, and has received numerous honors and awards.
The Gabriel Vahanian Endowed Graduate Support Fund is underwritten by the Brand Foundation of New York Inc. The purpose of the permanently endowed fund is to provide financial support to graduate students enrolled in SU’s Department of Religion.
For more information about SU’s Department of Religion and The College of Arts and Sciences, visit http://TheCollege.syr.edu.