Annual Weltin Lecture: "The Wild Edges of Character: Creation in the Gospel of Luke," with Michal Beth Dinkler

Michal Beth Dinkler, Associate Professor of the New Testament at Yale Divinity School, joins the Religious Studies Program for the Annual Weltin Lecture on April 4, 2023
  • 4:30pm-6:00pm (light reception to follow)

  • April 4, 2023

  • Goldberg Formal Lounge in the Danforth University Center

  • Michal Beth Dinkler, Associate Professor of the New Testament at Yale Divinity School

  • The Annual Weltin Lecture will be hosted in-person and via Zoom as a hybrid presentation.

“The Wild Edges of Character: Creation in the Gospel of Luke.” 

Typically, scholars treat references to the environment in the Gospel of Luke in one of two ways: nature is read as the inanimate background, or setting, in which animate human characters play out the plot, or the environment is seen as symbolically representing deeper spiritual truths. Drawing on literary ecocriticism, I argue that Creation itself functions as a vibrant and diverse living character in the Gospel of Luke. Reading Creation as an active narrative agent not only aligns with certain ancient views of nature as autonomous and alive; it also challenges prevailing contemporary assumptions about literary characterization and individual selfhood, thereby offering alternative ways of being in relationship with the Lukan narrative and with the earth itself.

Please RSVP at the link below or, register for Zoom here.

Professor Dinkler’s research lies at the intersection of New Testament and Ancient Christianity (NT/AC) and contemporary literary theory, providing a generative vantage point from which to advance scholarly discourse in multiple arenas. Treating a range of literature both within and external to the NT canon, her work consistently argues that literary theory can reshape the complex hermeneutical discussions that animate NT/AC studies and its adjacent disciplines. Professor Dinkler’s first book, Silent Statements: Narrative Representations of Speech and Silence in the Gospel of Luke (2013), demonstrates how close attention to speech and silence illuminates the plot, characterization, themes, and narrative rhetoric of Luke’s Gospel. Her second book, Literary Theory and New Testament Scholarship (2019), stands as the only comprehensive account of the half-century during which NT scholars have interfaced with literary theory; guiding students and scholars of the New Testament through the maze of contemporary literary theory, the volume argues for the interpretive benefits of an updated literary approach to the New Testament. In addition to chapters in edited volumes, Professor Dinkler’s work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, and New Testament Studies, among others. She co-chairs the Gospel of Luke Section and serves on the Steering Committee for the Book of Acts Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, and serves on the editorial boards of Catholic Biblical Quarterly and The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. Professor Dinkler is an elected member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a Research Fellow at Universität Regensburg, and a Research Associate at the University of Pretoria. She is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Legacy of E.G. Weltin

E. G. Weltin retired from full time teaching after a long distinguished career as professor of Greek and Roman history and Director of the Program in Religious Studies at Washington University. Upon retirement a lectureship in early Christian history was established in his honor by gifts from his students. Over the past 25 years, the Weltin lectures have brought distinguished scholars of early Christianity to campus for what has become one of the most anticipated events in the Religious Studies academic year. To learn more about the impact of the Weltin Lecture visit: A professor’s lasting impact.