CORVALLIS, Ore. - Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu may be the headliner of the "God at 2000" conference Feb. 11-12 at Oregon State University, but the other lecturers have some pretty heady credentials of their own.
The seven lecturers who will make presentations at the OSU conference include internationally known scholars, best-selling authors, religious leaders, educators and media commentators. They are:
- Karen Armstrong: One of the foremost commentators on religious affairs in the English-speaking world, Armstrong was a Roman Catholic nun and an educator before becoming a television commentator in Great Britain. She is the author of 10 books, including "Visions of God," "The Gospel According to Woman" and the international best-selling "A History of God: The 4,000 Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam." She teaches at a school that trains rabbis, and is an honorary member of the Association of Muslim Social Sciences.
- Marcus Borg: The Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, Borg is a well-known lecturer and author of 10 books, including the best-selling "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time" and the award-winning "The God We Never Knew." His books have been translated into six languages. Borg is a fellow of The Jesus Seminar and has chaired the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature. He has been described by The New York Times as "a leading figure among the new generation of Jesus scholars."
- Joan Chittister: A Benedictine sister and the author of 19 books, Chittister is internationally known as a theologian, social psychologist and lecturer. She is executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality, and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Recipient of nine honorary doctorates and numerous writing awards, she is the author of "Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God" and "There is a Season."
- Diana Eck: A professor of comparative religions and Indian studies at Harvard University and the Harvard Divinity School, Eck is an award-winning author and well-known scholar of religion in India and religious pluralism. Since 1991, she has been the director of The Pluralism Project, an effort to study the growing presence in the U.S. of the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Zoroastrian communities. President Clinton awarded her the National Humanities Medal for her leadership on the project.
- Lawrence Kushner: A rabbi, lecturer and the author of 10 books, Kushner is a highly regarded scholar of Jewish mysticism. Known as a storyteller and a leader of spiritual renewal within Judaism, he has been the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Mass., for 27 years. He led his congregants to publish their own prayer book, "Purify Our Hearts," the first gender-neutral liturgy in the Jewish tradition. He is a faculty member of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, and a regular commentator of NPR's "All Things Considered."
- Seyyed Hossein Nasr: A professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Nasr is considered one of the foremost scholars of Islam in the world. Author of more than 20 books and 250 articles, he has won the Templeton Award for the best course in America in religion and science, and delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures. He taught at Tehran University in Iran, and has taught at Temple, Princeton and Harvard. Nasr and his work are the subject of an entire volume of "The Library of Living Philosophers."
- Desmond Tutu: One of the world's best-known and most-honored people, Tutu is the 1985 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. As a priest, dean and archbishop of the Anglican church in South Africa, he was a leading figure in the struggle against apartheid. When apartheid ended, he was selected by South African President Nelson Mandela to chair South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes committed during the apartheid era. In 1996, Mandela presented him with the Order for Meritorious Service, South Africa's highest civilian award. In 1998, French President Jacques Chirac presented him with the Legion of Honor, France's highest award.
More information on the "God at 2000" Conference at OSU is available by calling 541-737-6195, or visiting the conference web site.