Faith and Learning Lectures

Open Religious Dialogue
Each year, the College Committee on Faith and Learning sponsors a number of religious dialogue events, supporting the college’s belief in academic freedom, pluralism and diversity.

The James Ross McCain 
Faith and Learning Lecture
The committee’s signature event is the annual James Ross McCain Faith and Learning Lecture, which brings a nationally recognized scholar to campus. This keynote address focuses on current conversations about questions of faith and values in American culture, providing timely and relevant points of reference for on-campus religious dialogue. The public is welcome to attend these lectures. This lecture is named for James Ross McCain, Agnes Scott's second president (1923-1951).

For the 2011-2012 Faith and Learning event, the college will host Amy-Jill Levine. Dr. Levine, Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, will give a lecture on "How Jews and Christians Read Scripture Differently".   

Previous Lectures
  • 2011: Anna Carter Florence
    Peter Marshall Associate Professor of Preaching
    Columbia Theological Seminary
    Lecture: "Changing Your Mind in the Belly of the Whale"
  • 2010: Tibetan Monks
    Creation: Sand mandala "Tibetan deity Green Tara"
  • 2009: Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor
    Butman Professor of Religion
    Piedmont College
    Lecture: "Downtime: The Sacred Art of Stopping"
  • 2008: Professor Rodger Y. Nishioka
    Associate Professor of Christian Education
    Columbia Theological Seminary
    Lecture: “The Gospel in a Culture of Privilege: Jesus and the Spirituality of Entitlement”
  • 2007: The Rev. Canon Dr. Samuel Wells
    Dean of the Chapel at Duke University
    Lecture: "Speaking the Truth in a Culture Committed to Diversity"
  • 2006: The Rev. Prof. Peter J. Gomes
    Member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and of the Faculty of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, Minister in Harvard's Memorial Church, and Harvard's Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
    Lecture: "Sense and Nonsense in American Religious Discourse"
  • 2005: Dr. John Esposito
    Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, as well as Founder/Director of Georgetown's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding
    Lecture: "The Enlightened Path to Muslim-Christian Understanding"
  • 2004: Kathleen Norris 
    Author of The Cloister Walk and other poetry, fiction and nonfiction works.
    Lecture: "Into the Hands of the Living God: Spirituality for the Real World"
  • 2003: The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan
    Director of the Center for Women and Religion in California
    Lecture: "Transforming the Nasty Lie: From Sexism to Incarnated Graced Sexualities"
  • 2002: Diana L. Eck 
    Author of Encountering God
    Lecture: "Globalization and the New Religious America"
  • 2001: Dr. Walter Brueggemann 
    Author of Deep Memory, Exuberant Hope: Contested Truth in a Post-Christian World
    Lecture: "Creature as Consumer and as Citizen"
  • 2000: Dr. John Polkinghorne 
    Author of The Way the World Is, One World, Science and Creation and Science and Providence
    Lecture: "Science and Religion in the 21st Century"
  • 1999: Melissa Faye Greene 
    Author of The Temple Bombing and Praying for Sheetrock
    Lecture: "In the Crossfire: White Supremacists, Black Freedom Fighters and Southern Jews at Mid-Century"
  • 1998: Elaine Pagels
    Princeton University
    Lecture: "The Gospel of Thomas: Another View of Jesus?"