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Jan. 17 , 2006
Contact: Jasonne Grabher O'Brien, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-7823.

Hall Center, Edwards Campus announce 'Abraham's Children' lecture series

LAWRENCE — The shared heritage of Judaism, Christianity and Islam will be explored in a powerful three-part lecture series, Abraham’s Children, presented this month and in March by the Hall Center for the Humanities on the University of Kansas’ Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

The speakers will highlight the distinct yet shared heritage of all three religions, each of which claim Abraham as an ancestor. Each will touch in some way on concepts of inheritance and identity in the tradition under discussion.

The free and public lectures will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Regnier Hall auditorium, 12600 Quivira Road. The lecture dates and speakers are:

Jan. 31: Jonathan Boyarin, the Robert M. Beren distinguished professor of modern Jewish studies at KU, speaks on “Seasons and Lifetimes.” Boyarin, whose publications include Palestine and Jewish History: Criticism at the Borders of Ethnography (1996) and Thinking in Jewish (1996), will explore the relationship between the human life cycle and the recurrent cycle of nature focusing on the way our identification with ancestors helps to balance individuality with an awareness of mortality.

March 7: Mark Nanos, lecturer in religious studies at KU and the Soebbing Visiting Scholar at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., speaks on “Us and Them: The Promise and Limits of Abrahamic Descent.” Nanos, winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish/Christian Relations for The Mystery of Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul's Letter (1996), will trace how each of the three traditions emphasize various ideals from the story of Abraham, including how each appropriates the Divine’s promise to make his descendants a “great nation.”

March 21: Reza Aslan, scholar of comparative religion and author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam (2005), will speak about “The Sons of Ismael.” Aslan will address how Muhammad and the first Muslims considered themselves to be the true inheritors of Abraham’s message of monotheism and tried to connect to him through the story of Ismael, Abraham’s first-born son.

The lecture will also explore Muhammad’s understanding of his prophetic role as being intimately linked to the Biblical prophets who came before him and his attempt to create a larger community of faith that included Jews and Christians — an ideal that Aslan refers to as monotheistic pluralism.

“We are fortunate at this university community to have access to the quality of scholars offered by the Hall Center for the Humanities,” said Bob Clark, vice chancellor of the Edwards Campus.

For more information, contact the Hall Center at (785) 864-4798, hallcenter@ku.edu or the KU Edwards Campus at (913) 897-8400, edwardscampus.ku.edu.

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