Dr. Daniel Pioske and Dr. Tim Whelan to speak during the Great Minds Lecture series.

“Why is the Bible a Text: Memory, Orality, and the Birth of Prose Literature” – Dr. Daniel Pioske

Blurb: “One of the great mysteries of the Hebrew Bible is how its stories about the past came to be. This question is made more difficult at the outset by the fact that the ancient biblical writers who composed these texts took no credit for them, thus leaving these writings with no discernible author in view. But the biblical narratives are also puzzling because they were formed in an ancient society in which few could afford written documents and even fewer could read them. The intent of this lecture, accordingly, is to ask the question—why is the Bible a text?—and to respond to it by examining the possible early audiences of these writings, what factors led to their composition, and how prose writing emerged from an earlier, oral storytelling tradition in ancient Israel.”

Remnant Trust items—call numbers 1180 and 1263 (Torah Scroll and Cunieform Tablet)

“Jonathan Edwards, Andrew Fuller, and the Recasting of Calvinism in Fuller’s The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation (1785).”  The lecture will take place in the Russell Union, room 2047. – Dr. Timothy Whelan 

Blurb: Whelan’s lecture will focus on how Fuller’s theological treatise transformed ideas about Calvinism’s emphasis upon divine sovereignty and individual faith into an “evangelical Calvinism” that generated worldwide missionary movements.

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815), Baptist minister at Kettering and founding Secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society, shaped the future of Baptists worldwide through his treatise, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation (1785). Fuller rejected the High Calvinist position that an “open” call to repentance undermined God’s prerogative of election and predestination as set forth in John Calvin’s Institutes (1527). Fuller argued that the scriptural doctrine of divine sovereignty did not preclude an “obligation,” or “duty,” on the part of the “unregenerate” to exercise faith. Fuller, like the American divine Jonathan Edwards, attempted to mediate between two uncompromising opposites: High Calvinism’s fatalistic, passive faith and a more active, Arminian faith grounded in free will. This mediation would become known as “Fullerism,” “duty faith,” and eventually “evangelical Calvinism,” a position that propelled Baptists in England (1792) and America (1814) to form global Missionary Societies that remain as testaments to Fuller’s treatise and the influence of Jonathan Edwards.

Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Fuller’s The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, and Edwards’s A Careful and Strict Enquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions of that Freedom of Will and A Treatise concerning Religious Affections will be on display during the lecture.

These documents will be on display through May 5 at the Zach S. Henderson Library’s Remnant Trust Exhibit.

Whelan is a professor of English and joined CLASS in 1989. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1989 and is the author of more than a dozen books, including his monograph Other British Voices: Women, Poetry, and Religion, 1766-1840 (Palgrave, 2015) and his edition, with Michael McMullen, of The Diary of Andrew Fuller (Berlin, 2016), Vol. 1 in the Collected Works of Andrew Fuller, ed. Michael Haykin.

For more information on the 2017 Great Minds Lecture and to view a full schedule of the lectures please visit

Explore the world of words and ideas while preparing for a variety of creative and dynamic careers.   

The disciplines of literature and philosophy – the traditional core of the humanities – ask the big questions: What does it mean to be human? How do we make meaning in this world? What is the relationship of individuals to society?

Today these questions are complicated by topics such as class, race, ethnicity, and gender – all of which are addressed by the Department. From Shakespeare to Postcolonial Studies to Existentialism to Epistemology, the Department of Literature and Philosophy has something for everyone.

If you are committed to another major, the Department offers minors in English, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Irish Studies – all of which complement any major.

Studying literature or philosophy provides excellent preparation for professional employment in any area where the close examination of written texts and the ability to communicate well are important. The Department takes pride in working with students to connect their immediate studies with their long-term goals. The Department’s goal is to promote critical thinking, effective communication, and intellectual engagement with the key ideas in our fields.

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