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Woolman Lecture Series Presents Ralph Wood


The Malone University John Woolman Christian Scholar Lecture Series continues with Ralph Wood, Ph.D., University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University, with sessions scheduled March 29-30. All programs are free and open to the public. The schedule follows.

Ralph C. Wood, professor of theology and literature at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Texas A&M University-Commerce, as well as M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. From 1971-97 he taught on the faculty of Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he was the John Allen Easley Professor of Religion. At Baylor, he teaches in both the Great Texts program and the Department of Religion. He serves as an editor-at-large for the Christian Century and as a member of the editorial board of the Flannery O’Connor Review.

His major book, first published in 1988 and still in print from the University of Notre Dame Press, is entitled The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists (Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, John Updike, and Peter De Vries).   He is also the author of Contending for the Faith: The Church’s Engagement with Culture (Baylor, 2003); The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-earth (Westminster John Knox, 2004); and Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Eerdmans, 2004).

Tuesday, March 29
10:30 a.m. Chapel Service, J.R.R. Tolkien on a Long Obedience in the Right Direction
Johnson Center for Worship and the Fine Arts, Sanctuary
7:30 p.m.: Lecture One, Christian Joy in an Era of Horror: The Case of G. K. Chesterton
Chesterton was a huge and merry Christian writer whose humor is as large as his girth. This lecture will explore his vision of Christian joy as no mere whistling through the abyss, but as a deep if often dark guide to living faithfully amidst the most deadly era in all of human history.
Johnson Center for Worship and the Fine Arts,Room 106

Wednesday, March 30

7:30 p.m.: Lecture Two, Branding with the Cross: Flannery O'Connor on the Comedy of Christian Formation

This lecture will address O'Connor’s understanding of spiritual formation by addressing the ways in which her Protestant and Catholic characters are shaped either ill or well by those who have tutored them in Christian faith and practice.

Johnson Center for Worship and the Fine Arts,Room 106

The Lecture Series is named for John Woolman (1720-1772), a Quaker from New Jersey who provided much of the theological, intellectual, and ethical foundation for the earliest antislavery activities in America. Drawing from traditional Christian, Quaker, evangelical, quietist, and rationalist sources, Woolman published works that encouraged others to rethink the Friends’ role in addressing a range of topics including slavery, working conditions, spiritual discipline, pacifism, the use of wealth, the use of time, and relationships with Native Americans. His antislavery writings and speaking campaigns throughout the colonies helped prompt the Friends to become the first body of Americans to actively denounce slavery and require all its members to free any person that they held in slavery. Providing some of the earliest inspiration for the major ethical shift in thinking about slavery, Woolman’s writings and actions influenced leaders in the early antislavery and abolitionist movements in America and Great Britain. Woolman Hall, a residence hall on Malone’s campus, is named in his honor.