Biblical scholar kicks off speaker series

BROOKINGS – Five-time New York Times best-selling author Bart Ehrman will open the South Dakota State University Speakers Series and launch the South Dakota Festival of Books by sharing “The Greatest Stories Rarely Told: Biblical Scholars and the Discrepancies of Scripture” at 7 p.m. Monday in Larson Memorial Auditorium at the SDSU Performing Arts Center.

Ehrman has written or edited 30 books, including five New York Times bestsellers: “How Jesus Became God,” “Misquoting Jesus,” “God’s Problem,” “Jesus Interrupted” and “Forged.” 

His latest book is titled, “The Triumph of Christianity, How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World.” 

Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity.

Dean Jason Zimmerman of the SDSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences encourages members of both the Brookings and university community to attend Ehrman’s lecture.  

“One of the essential functions of higher education is to nurture citizens who can engage with bold ideas that may lie outside their comfort zone,” Zimmerman said. “Our goal in hosting Dr. Ehrman is not necessarily to change any individual’s personal religious perspective. Rather, it is to encourage people to take ownership of their own beliefs by wrestling with competing points of view. I expect that Dr Ehrman’s presentation will be thought-provoking and intellectually enriching.”

While the lecture is open to the public and students and faculty will be encouraged to attend, Ehrman’s time in Brookings will also include additional scholarly engagement on campus. James Murphy, SDSU associate professor of religion, will host Ehrman in three academic classes. 

“The ability of SDSU and our department to host a scholar of Dr. Ehrman’s accomplishment is not only beneficial to our students, my colleagues in our department are very enthusiastic in having time to spend with him in more informal engagement and I anticipate there will be spirited discussions of an academic nature,” Murphy said.

Tickets are not needed, and the 7 p.m. lecture will conclude with a moderated question-and-answer period. Following the lecture, Ehrman will sign his books, which will be available for purchase at the event and in advance of the lecture at the SDSU Bookstore. 

Ehrman’s engagement at SDSU and presence with the South Dakota Festival of Books is made possible through Woodbine Productions, a project of the SDSU Foundation. 

Woodbine Productions is in its 11th year wherein an anonymous benefactor provides support for cultural programming designed to elevate and enrich the campus and Brookings community through exceptional performances and presentations.

Courtesy photo


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