Shaul Magid

Student Symposium, Speaker Top Off Colloquium's 10th Year

March 18, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The Illinois Wesleyan University Religion Department will celebrate the conclusion of its 10th Religion Colloquium with a lecture by an internationally known Judaism scholar and a celebration of student research.

Now in its 10th official year, the Religion Colloquium will conclude for the school year with a presentation by a prominent scholar of religion. Professor Shaul Magid of Indiana University will deliver an address titled "Reclaiming Jesus or Defending Judaism? Coming to Terms (once again) with a Jewish Jesus" at 5 p.m. Monday, March 30, in Beckman Auditorium in The Ames Library (1 Ames East, Bloomington). The event is free and the public is invited.

During his visit, Professor Magid will meet with students in religion classes, and be on hand to hear the Student Research Symposium at 4 p.m. in Beckman, immediately preceding his own lecture. Four seniors are scheduled to make presentations at the Symposium, which are based on studies they generated in their Senior Seminar class in the fall. "The Symposium is part of our department's contribution to help highlight the level of scholarly research our students produce," said Professor of Religion Carole Myscofski, former chair of the Illinois Wesleyan Religion Department and coordinator of this year's Senior Seminar.

The Colloquium has its beginning in 1998, when Myscofski invited world- renowned scholar Jonathan Z. Smith from the University of Chicago to campus, "in what we hope will become a colloquium," she wrote Smith at the time. With Smith's visit a successful tradition was born. The 1998-1999 school year kicked off the first official Student and Faculty Colloquium on Religious Studies, which now bears the name the Religion Colloquium.

Magid Book

"We have a mix of panels and presentations, including looking to other campus departments," said Myscofski. This year's speakers included Illinois Wesleyan Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion Robert Brown and Visiting Instructor of English Molly Robey, as well as doctor, alumnus and Associate Director of Medical Education at Massachusetts General Hospital's Benson Institute for Mind Body Medicine Darshan Mehta.

According to Brian Hatcher, the McFee Professor of Religion and Humanities and the Chair of the Religion Department at Illinois Wesleyan, each year the Colloquium concludes with a speaker of national importance. "Having well-known speakers not only gives our students the chance to hear from excellent scholars, but offers those scholars a chance to learn more about our University and our students, whom we hope will be the academic leaders of tomorrow," said Hatcher.

This year's speaker is the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University. Magid's teaching focuses on Kabbala, Hasidism, medieval and modern Jewish philosophy, gender and religion, Israel and Palestine relations, and American Jewish thought and culture. "The field of Jewish studies encompasses so many different sub-genres, and Dr. Magid has the rather amazing ability to speak across so many of them," said Assistant Professor of Religion Robert Erlewine, who organized bringing Magid to campus. "He has an international presence, and is able to speak not only to scholars specializing in very different elements of Jewish studies, but to scholars and theologians in the Islamic and Christian traditions as well."

A 1994 graduate of Brandeis University, Magid is the author of Hasidism on the Margin: Reconciliation, Antinomianism, and Messianism in Izbica and Radzin Hasidism (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003).

Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3181