Don Saliers, William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology
and Worship, will deliver the seventh annual Distinguished Faculty
Lecture, Thursday, March 21, at 4 p.m. in the Dobbs Centers
Saliers lecture, Where Beauty and Terror Lie: The Poetics
of Everyday Life, will address what he calls humanity
at full stretch. Looking at the work of poets, theologians
and philosophers from centuries ago up to the present time, Saliers
will attempt to shed some light on a world in which light cannot
exist without dark, and evil invariably accompanies good.
Im interested in how we as human beings cope with the
contrasts that life throws at us, Saliers said. Im
particularly mindful of how we make sense of a world that is wondrously
beautiful yet so full of terrifying things.
Saliers said he plans to reference not only the work of modern
theologians like Hans Urs von Balthazar, but early 20th century
thinkers like Simone Weil and 19th century intellectuals like the
Irish poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.
The work of these three people, along with that of others like
them, Saliers said, laid the groundwork for the idea that life is
filled with contrasts.
Thinkers and poets have always pointed us in the direction
of fully embracing the whole range [of emotions], Saliers
Saliers has taught in the Candler School of Theology since 1975.
He earned his bachelors degree from Ohio Wesleyan University
and graduated with a bachelors of divinity degree and a Ph.D.
from Yale. He also studied at Cambridge University under a Fulbright
Scholarship. Saliers is author or co-author of more than a dozen
books and scores of articles. In 1999, he received a University
His most recent books are The Conversation Matters: Why United
Methodists Should Talk With One Another, cowritten with Henry
Knight in 1999, and 1998s Human Disability and the Service
of God: Reassessing Religious Practice, co-written with Nancy
Eiesland, assistant professor of the sociology of religion.
Saliers is director of Emorys Master of Sacred Music degree
program and chair of the theological studies department in the Graduate
Division of Religion. His areas of expertise are Christian theology
and human ritual with a strong emphasis on liturgical studies and
sacred music. Much of Saliers work deals with the formation
of the human heart, he said.
I look at language and human emotions, he said. And
a lot of that will show up in the lecture.
Distinguished Faculty lecturers are selected by the Faculty Council
from a submitted list of nominees. The councils distinguished
faculty lectureship committee, made up of five previous speakers
and chaired by the School of Medicines William Branch, gathers
nominations from faculty members, evaluates them and makes a recommendation
to the full council, which then chooses the speaker.
Im absolutely humbled by this, Saliers said of
his selection as Distinguished Faculty lecturer. This University
has a lot of smart cookies and very brilliant minds. To be named
is an honor and not one I take lightly. I hope I can bring some
of the features of my discipline and apply them to the whole of
Last years Distinguished Faculty lecturer was John Witte,
Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics, who led An Apt
and Cheerful Conversation on Marriage.
The Distinguished Faculty Lecture is free and open to the public.