News Release: Events, Religion and Ethics, Student Life

Aug. 26,  2011

Author James Carroll to Speak on 'Jesus Against Himself'

News Article ImageAuthor and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll

Award-winning author and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll will give four free public lectures at Emory University this fall on the theme “Jesus Against Himself: From Itinerant Galilean to Christ of God and Back Again.” Carroll will be speaking in his capacity as the 2011 McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and their Impact on Culture at Emory’s Candler School of Theology.

The author of popular works such as “Constantine’s Sword,” “Practicing Catholic” and the newly released “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” Carroll will explore the fundamentals of Christian belief in Jesus in relation to history and criticism.

The day after each lecture, Carroll will appear in a luncheon conversation to discuss the prior evening’s lecture topic in a smaller group setting. Luncheon events are sponsored by Candler’s Center for Lifelong Learning.

Registration requested for Carroll lectures

All lectures begin at 7 p.m. in Glenn Memorial Auditorium, 1652 N. Decatur Rd. on the Emory campus. Admission is free but registration is requested.

To register for the lectures:

Registration required for Carroll conversations

All luncheon conversations are from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Miller-Ward Alumni House, 815 Houston Mill Rd. Cost is $30 for each luncheon or $100 for all four. Registration is required and seating is limited. Driving directions to the Miller-Ward Alumni House (PDF).

To register:

  • Go to
  • Scroll down past the white background and click "Register Now" on the right
  • Scroll down again to enter your email address to start the registration process.

About the McDonald Chair

The Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair in the Study of Jesus and Culture was established at Emory in 1998 by the McDonald Agape Foundation, chaired by Alonzo L. McDonald, a longtime trustee of Emory. The McDonald Agape Foundation "supports lectures and other public presentations that deal creatively and imaginatively with the person and teachings of Jesus as they shape and form culture." The foundation has established McDonald chairs at Emory and at Harvard University.

Past holders of the McDonald chair at Emory include historian Jaroslav Pelikan; Judge John T. Noonan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; composer Alice Parker; art historian Herbert Kessler; and author, historian and documentary filmmaker Randall Balmer, among others.

Event Details

“Jesus: Jew or Gentile?”

Carroll discusses what the permanent “Jewishness” of Jesus meant during his lifetime, and how a recovered appreciation of its importance overturns subsequent Christian assumptions—both of doctrine and prejudice.

Lecture: Aug. 29, 7 p.m., Glenn Memorial Auditorium
Luncheon Conversation: Aug. 30, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Miller-Ward Alumni House

“Jesus: Solitude or Solidarity?”

Carroll explores the social context of Jesus’ time—Roman occupation, Hellenization, Judaism in flux—and his role in it, with particular attention to the place of women. How was Jesus a religious genius and a master of community organizing? What’s the relationship of God’s Oneness to the beloved community, the relationship between religion and politics?

Lecture: Sept. 26, 7 p.m., Glenn Memorial Auditorium

Luncheon Conversation: Sept. 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Miller-Ward Alumni House

“Jesus: Magician or Healer?”

How does a post-modern faith find meaning in the centrality of healing for the story of Jesus? How did Jesus come to be regarded as divine, and what is the content of that doctrine today? Can we retrieve miracle, prayer and resurrection without betraying rational and critical belief?

Lecture: Oct. 24, 7 p.m., Glenn Memorial Auditorium
Luncheon Conversation: Oct. 25, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Miller-Ward Alumni House

“Jesus: An Undiscovered Faith”

Carroll acknowledges how little is known of the historical Jesus, and how the Christ of faith can be shattered by violent interruptions in history, such as the Holocaust. So what is Jesus’ relation to violence? Can a historical reading of Jesus’ story revolutionize not only a Christian understanding of the theology of Jesus, but also a Jewish understanding? 

Lecture: Nov. 14, 7 p.m., Glenn Memorial Auditorium

Luncheon Conversation: Nov. 15, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Miller-Ward Alumni House


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