25 February–Kelli Gardner

Monday, February 25th
4:30-6:00 pm
Swift 201

The Theology Workshop and the Hebrew Bible Workshop warmly invite you to a joint session that continues this quarter’s “Embodiment, Sexuality, and Religion” series. Kelli Gardner, PhD Student in Hebrew Bible, will present her work: “‘Drink Water from Your Own Cistern’: Images of Female Sexuality and Autonomy in Proverbs and the Song of Songs.” Kristel Clayville, PhD Candidate in Ethics, will respond and kick off the interdisciplinary discussion.

Proverbs 1-9, 31, and the Song of Songs reflect an analogous understanding of proper female behavior and authority, and establish similar regulations and controls over female sexuality.  However, due to their divergent agendas and perspectives, these are presented differently.  Proverbs uses the image of the Strange Woman to demonstrate the evils of promiscuous women, while presenting one’s own wife as a satisfying and fertile lover.  By borrowing tropes depicting female sexuality from the Song of Songs, Proverbs is able to present the dual nature of the Strange Woman – seductive but dangerous – while reminding participants its audience of the utter satisfaction one can have in one’s own wife.  Thus, Proverbs artfully reinforces the social conventions regarding female sexuality by advising its male audience to drink only from one’s own cistern!

No preparation is expected of participants. Delicious refreshments will be served, all thematically linked to the sensual cornucopia of Hebrew sacred literature…

Persons with disabilities who would like assistance, please contact Aaron in advance at athollander@uchicago.edu.

14 February–Pedagogy and Embodiment

The Theology Workshop welcomes Prof. Kristine Culp, Associate Professor of Theology and Dean of the Disciples Divinity House, Prof. Jeffrey Stackert, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, and Rev. Cynthia Lindner, Director of Ministry Studies and Clinical Faculty for Preaching and Pastoral Care, to reflect on their own experiences and best practices for creating classroom cultures and environments that intentionally honor the body as a constitutive part of human being, knowing, and learning.

All are invited to join our panelists in wrestling with such questions as: How can teachers use their own embodied presence in the classroom–and the embodied presences of their students–to deepen and inflect learning?  What kinds of pedagogical practices work to unveil and dismantle oppressions in the classroom that silence or privilege certain embodied experiences?  How can existing structures with which bodies may be at odds–physical space, institutional culture–be shifted, challenged, or named in order to create an academic space where bodies are not something to be overcome or sidelined, but to be held in integrity with all dimensions of the life of scholarly inquiry?

Thursday, February 14
4:30 – 6:00 pm
Swift 106
This workshop is programmed through the Divinity School’s Craft of Teaching initiative, and counts towards the fulfillment of Craft of Teaching certification requirements.
No preparation is expected of participants. Persons with a disability who would like assistance, please contact Aaron  in advance at athollander@uchicago.edu.

9 February–Theology Movie Night: Babette’s Feast

Ready for a relaxing break from work that you can still chalk up to academic edification? Never fear: the Theology Workshop & Club warmly invite you to a social gathering and movie night, with a film that contributes to this quarter’s investigation of “Embodiment, Sexuality, and Religion,” with plenty of delicious food and drink to accompany it.

“Babette’s Feast” & DSA Social (guests welcome!)
Saturday, February 9
6:00 PM
Brent House (5540 S. Woodlawn)

Come for the food, brews, & classic film; stay if you choose for some casual conversation on the religious significance of Eating, Drinking, Embodiment, & Whatnot in the company of your fellows who are regularly involved in all four.

Babette’s Feast:

The elderly and pious Christian sisters Martine and Philippa live in a small village on the remote western coast of 19th-century Denmark. Their father was a pastor who founded his own Christian sect. With their father now dead, and the sect drawing no new converts, the aging sisters preside over their dwindling congregation of white-haired believers. But all will change when Babette Hersant, a refugee from counter-revolutionary bloodshed in Paris, appears at their door. The sisters take Babette in, and she serves as their maid and cook for the next fourteen years. Her only link to her former life is a lottery ticket that a friend in Paris renews for her every year. One day, she wins the lottery of 10,000 francs. Instead of using the money to return to Paris and her lost lifestyle, she decides to spend it preparing a magnificent dinner for the sisters and their small congregation. More than just a feast, the meal is an outpouring of Babette’s appreciation, an act of self-sacrifice; Babette tells no one that she is spending her entire winnings on the meal.

As the various never-before-seen ingredients arrive, and preparations commence, the sisters begin to worry that the meal will become a great sin of sensual luxury, if not some form of devilry. In a hasty conference, the sisters and the congregation agree to eat the meal, but to forego speaking of any pleasure in it, and to make no mention of the food during the entire dinner. Although at first they refuse to comment on the earthly pleasures of their meal, Babette’s gifts begin to break down their distrust. Old wrongs are forgotten, lost loves are rekindled, and human carnality and spirituality are themselves reconciled at the table.