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Grawemeyer Religion Award Lecture Set for April 10

Mar 12, 2018

JoAnne Marie Terrell to discuss James Cone's award-winning book.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, the Rev. Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell, Associate Professor of Theology, Ethics and the Arts at Chicago Theological Seminary, will present the 2018 Grawemeyer Religion Award lecture at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The lecture will be held at Caldwell Chapel on Louisville Seminary’s campus (1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205) and will begin at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Cross and the Lynching TreeTerrell’s lecture will focus on the 2018 Grawemeyer Religion Award-winning book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, which was written by renowned theologian James H. Cone. In The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Orbis Books, 2011), Cone passionately conjoins the provocative images of the first-century cross and the twentieth-century lynching tree.

“The crucifixion was clearly a first-century lynching,” said Cone. “Both are symbols of the death of the innocent, mob hysteria, humiliation, and terror. They both also reveal a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning and demonstrate that God can transform ugliness into beauty, into God’s liberating presence.”

The Grawemeyer lectures are traditionally delivered by the award winners themselves. However, due to personal circumstances, Cone is not able to deliver the lecture this year. Later this month, Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins will present Cone with his Grawemeyer Award in person at Union Theological Seminary, where Cone serves as the Bill and Judith Moyers Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology.

According to Tyler Mayfield, Faculty Director of the Grawemeyer Award in Religion and A.B. Rhodes Associate Professor of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary, the decision to have JoAnne Marie Terrell present this year’s lecture was based on her knowledge of Cone’s work as well as her expertise in the field of black theology.

JoAnne Marie TerrellAn ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Terrell is a former doctoral student of Cone. She is also the author of Power in the Blood?: The Cross in the African American Experience (Wipf and Stock 2005). In her book, Terrell poses the questions, “Can the gospel message of the Atonement have a liberative message for black Christians? Is there, indeed, ‘power in the blood of Jesus’?”

“We welcome Dr. Terrell to Louisville Seminary as we celebrate the powerful and challenging ideas of Dr. James Cone’s most recent book,” said Mayfield. “An evening of celebration and learning awaits!”

Terrell’s current research interests are interreligious in scope, and focus on soteriological principles in Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity, the genre of spiritual autobiography, and the power of the visual and performing arts to effect personal, social, and cosmic transformation.

“The world’s unfolding narrative reveals too many burdensome predicaments that wreak personal, familial, social, and cosmic destruction, strain belief, challenge religious communities and demand prophetic witness,” said Terrell. “As a black, womanist, spiritually eclectic theologian, my response has been to delve into the sustaining theological traditions, look to the arts, privilege creativity in the classroom and utilize drama as public pedagogy.”

The University of Louisville presents Grawemeyer Award annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology and education, and presents a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. See www.grawemeyer.org for more information.
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