GTU Insight: February 2016
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February 2016 

In this Issue...

Dr. James Noel
GTU Remembers Dr. James Noel (1948-2016)

The Graduate Theological Union celebrates the life of Rev. Dr. James Anthony Noel, the H. Eugene Farlough, Jr. Chair of African American Christianity, Professor of American Religion at San Francisco Theological Seminary, who died Sunday evening, January 31, after a valiant fight with cancer. Dr. Noel was a GTU alum (PhD, '99), a member of its core doctoral faculty, and director of the GTU's Black Church/Africana Studies Certificate Program. He also served as pastor of New Liberation Presbyterian Church in San Francisco.

SFTS president Jim McDonald remembers Professor Noel as "a larger-than-life presence...whether in the classroom, pulpit, faculty meeting, office, or in one-on-one conversations. His achievements, contributions, and accomplishments are manifold. He was a towering figure in many different communities, networks, conversations, always bringing the prophetic word and challenging us to address the basic issues of justice related to race and poverty.”

Services for James Noel will be Wednesday, February 10, at 11 am, at New Liberation Presbyterian Church, 1100 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, followed by a reception at SFTS's Lower Alexander Hall.
Read more
View SFTS's video tribute to Dr. James Noel
CJS Welcomes New Director 
The GTU's Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) is pleased to welcome Dr. Deena Aranoff as the Center’s new director. Dr. Aranoff, whose teaching specialties include rabbinic literature and medieval Jewish culture and history, received her doctorate from Columbia University, and has worked with CJS and taught on the GTU faculty since 2006. Aranoff believes “something magical” happens at CJS—“a kind of intellectual alchemy in which classical Jewish sources meet contemporary perspectives, producing new articulations of ancient themes.” For more info, read greetings from Deena Aranoff (plus a list of Spring CJS events), or review the full news story on the GTU website.  

Munir Jiwa Talks Islamic Art
Dr. Munir Jiwa, director of the GTU’s Center for Islamic Studies, was the featured guest on the most recent episode of Kaleidoscope Islam, an on-demand radio show and podcast sponsored by the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University. Drawing on his training as an anthropologist and several decades of studying Islamic art, Dr. Jiwa reflects on the relationship between contemporary Muslim artists and Islamic identity. Listen to the radio show, then read more about Jiwa's work in "From Mosques to Museums" from the latest issue of the GTU’s Currents magazine.
Speaking of podcasts, Tripp Fuller is coming to the GTU Tonight, Thursday, February 4, at 8:00 pm to record a live episode of his popular "Homebrewed Christianity" podcast. If you missed out on tickets to this sold-out event--which features a "theological quiz show" as well as a panel of GTU guests reflecting on the future of theological education--you can watch a live stream here.

Exploring Science for Seminaries

About twenty GTU faculty members and doctoral students gathered at the end of January to participate in a one-week "Science for Seminaries" intensive course at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. The course sought to equip religious educators to integrate key scientific discoveries into Christian theology, and to challenge reductionistic, materialistic, and atheistic interpretations of science that permeate our culture. The course was coordinated by Dr. Lisa Fullam of JST, with Dr. Robert John Russell of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences as the principal leader and lecturer. Other lecturers included Peter Hess, Ted Peters (also of CTNS), and Joshua Moritz. This course was made possible as part of a larger grant awarded to JST by Science for Seminaries, a project of AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.

Discover Yoga as Spiritual Practice at CDS
GTU's Center for Dharma Studies in collaboration with the Church of Yoga invites you to experience yoga as a spiritual practice. Join us each Saturday, beginning February 6, to discover the theological, philosophical, and cultural background of Yoga and what this ancient tradition can teach us about how to experience life more completely. Explore the spiritual practices of devotional singing (kirtan), chanting ancient verses and mantras, and learning about Bhakti Yoga as it is presented in the Bhagavad Gita and other sacred Indian literature. Weekly services begin this Saturday, February 6, at 11:00 am, and are followed by a vegan meal. Center for Dharma Studies, 2452 Virginia Street, Berkeley. Learn more>> 

Upcoming Events

Click on event title for more info or to download event flyer. See more events

CARE Brown Bag Lunch
Art & Religion student Yohana Junker on Georgia O'Keefe.
Friday, February 5, 12:00 noon
Doug Adams Gallery, 1798 Scenic Ave, Berkeley

Institutionalizing Islamophobia: Critiquing CVE Approaches
A two-day conference cosponsored by the Center for Islamic Studies
February 5-6
Boalt Law School, UC Berkeley, 215 Boalt Hall, Berkeley

Rabbah bar Nachmani's Saga
A CJS event featuring Rabbi Daniel Landes
Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 12:30 pm
Hedco Room, 2465 Le Conte Ave, Berkeley

Exhibition featuring works by Sandra C. Fernández
February 9 - May 27, 2016
Doug Adams Gallery, 1798 Scenic Ave, Berkeley

Sacred Dance: Hula and Okinawan (Performance and Discussion)
A CARE event feature Michael Pili Pang and Yukie Shiroma
Tuesday, February 16, 1:30 pm
Doug Adams Gallery, 1798, Scenic Ave.

"Ain't I a Woman"
SFTS hosts Core Ensemble for this musical theater event celebrating the lives of African American women.
Thursday, February 18, 7:00 pm
SFTS Montgomery Chapel, 5 Richmond Rd, San Anselmo 

24th Annual Reading of the Sacred Texts
CDS director Rita Sherma speaks on "The Technology of Transformation: Sacred Texts and the Divine Feminine"
Thursday, February 25, 7:00 pm
Dinner Board Room, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley 
More Events

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