UChicago Divinity Global Christianties—Perspectives, Methods & Challenges Conference Opening Remarks

Well, good morning. My name is Richard
Rosengarten and I teach Religion, Literature,
and Visual Culture here. I send greetings on behalf
of dean David Nirenberg who isn’t able to join us
today, but is really pleased by your presence here
and excited by what we’re going to engage in. Welcome to Global
Christianities: Perspectives, Methods,
and Challenges. The second in a series
of five conferences to be held over these five
years at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. To think forward about the
phenomenon of Christianity as one of the fastest growing
religions in the world, and to aim to foster and
promote a thoughtful kind of conversation about
that phenomenon, about its complexity,
about its internationality. And about the ways
it ought to help us to rethink how we consider
the role of Christianity in global society today. Towards that end, we have a
program that includes scholars in theology, history,
classics, history of religions, and the like, to
help us think forward and to index for us, in
general, the various vortices through which one can think
about this phenomenon. I have two happy tasks. One is to thank Tandead
Rustandy, who is with us today. And who is the person who
is supporting these meetings and has become a great
friend and benefactor of the Divinity School. Welcome Mr. Rustandy,
and thank you. [APPLAUSE] And secondly, to
thank cherished colleagues at the Divinity School who
have taken a major role in the planning of these
events and whom, some of whom, at least you’ll meet
throughout the day. Professor Kevin Hector,
Professor Angie Heo, Professor Dwight Hopkins,
and Professor Karin Krause. I also want to say
a word of thanks to Sara Bigger,
who is by the door, and in an appropriate
stance, since I think of her a century
for all these activities. So without further ado, let
me introduce Professor Kevin Hector and let the fun
begin and again, welcome. KEVIN HECTOR: Good morning. My name is Kevin Hector, I
teach Theology and Philosophy of Religions here. It is no exaggeration to
say, that when the Global Christianities
committee got together to talk about who
in the world we would be most excited
to get together. And we dreamed big dreams. We couldn’t have
imagined that we would be able to put
together a slate of speakers that we have this morning. This will only resonate
with some of you. But it reminded me of if I
invited all of the Avengers to my kid’s birthday party. And they all came. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] It’s an honor for me. It’s truly an honor. I’m humbled to get to introduce
the speakers for this morning’s session. I will introduce them in turn,
they will each give a talk, and then we will have discussion
of both talks together. So I would encourage you to
write down your questions.

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