Monday 19th February 2018,
The Transcript

Visiting scholar brings artifacts, new perspective

Christine M. Thomas, Ph.D. Photo courtesy of the University of California, Santa Barbara website.

Christine M. Thomas, Ph.D. Photo courtesy of the University of California, Santa Barbara website.

About once a semester, an established Phi Beta Kappa scholar engages with Ohio Wesleyan students and faculty on wide ranging topics and issues.

On Monday, Feb. 2, Christine M. Thomas gave a lecture titled “Ordinary Bodies and Divine Intervention: Illness and Healing in the Hinterlands of the Roman Empire.”

Thomas, from The University of California, Santa Barbara, based her talk on “artifacts from Turkey, circa 200 CE, which were found in 1998.” The objects were discovered by Thomas, who graduated with a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1995.

Each artifact presented had a story, all linked to the ancient human beings who created and used them. “It’s important to consider the lives of the people during this time period and in these countries while observing the artifacts” said Thomas.

According to the Phi Beta Kappa web page, the organization, the “oldest of the learned societies in the United States, was founded in 1776. It is recognized world-wide as the most prestigious liberal-arts honor society.” The OWU Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1907.

The speakers from the program typically stay in Delaware for two days. “During this time, the individual will interact with students in the classroom as well as giving the lecture” said David Eastman, assistant professor of religion. “Christine stressed the importance of religious studies to the students,” he continued.

Joe Musser, president of the local Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, said, “bringing in Phi Beta Kappa scholars is very beneficial to students. They develop a new prospective on   unique topics and can make important connections for postgraduation.”

In the fall, Phi Beta Kappa brought Wendy Brown to campus for a lecture seminar, where she discussed feminist issues. Future speakers have yet to be announced.

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