14 March–Wendy Doniger

Please join the Theology Workshop for the capstone event of our Winter quarter theme, “Embodiment, Sexuality, and Religions,” as we welcome Professor Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School; also in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Committee on Social Thought, and the College.

Thursday, March 14th * 4:30 – 6:00 pm * Swift 106

“God’s Body, or, the Lingam Made Flesh”

A dispute about the symbolism of the lingam (or linga), a cylindrical votary object that represents the Hindu god Shiva, has been going on for many centuries in India:  is its meaning inexorably tied to a particular part of the physical body of the god, or is it abstract, purely spiritual? This presentation will trace the history of this dispute.  Present-day Hindu sensibilities about the lingam will be illuminated by a consideration of the historical role of two non-Hindu cultures in India–Muslim and British.  Underlying this particular debate is the more general problem of the ambiguity of the symbolism, particularly the religious symbolism, of the body and of forms that represent the body.

Aaron Hollander, PhD Student in Theology, will respond.

This event is free and open to the public. No preparation is expected of participants. Persons with a disability who would request assistance, please contact Mary Emily in advance at maryemilyduba@uchicago.edu.