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Otterbein University to Host Religious Scholar

March 11, 2014

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University’s Department of Religion and Philosophy will host Dr. Denise A. Spellberg from March 30-31 for the Robert F. Berkey ’52 Endowed Lectureship. Spellberg will give a keynote lecture, Thomas Jefferson, Muslims, and the Golden Rule, at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 31, in room 112 of Towers Hall, 1 S. Grove St. A reception with refreshments will follow the lecture.

She will also speak about Ideal Muslim Female Figures: How They are Compared to Women in the New Testament from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 30, at Church of the Master United Methodist, 24 N. Grove St. She will present Could a Muslim Be President? An Eighteenth-Century Constitutional Debate at an open classroom presentation from 9:15-10:15 a.m. on Monday, March 31 in room 114 of Roush Hall, 27 S. Grove St.

Spellberg is an associate professor of history and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her doctorate degree at Columbia University, where her specialty was Islam in American and European history; medieval Islamic history; and religion and gender. She is the author of many publications, including Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders and Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of A’Isha Bint Abi Bakr. Spellberg is the recipient of many awards for teaching excellence and is recognized for her groundbreaking research that recounts how a handful of the Founders, including Thomas Jefferson, drew upon Enlightenment ideas about the toleration of Muslims that were instrumental in the Founders’ ultimate judgment not to establish a Protestant nation.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Professor Glenna Jackson at GJackson@otterbein.edu.

The Robert F. Berkey ’52 Endowed Lectureship was created by a bequest from the Rev. Dr. Clarence T. Gilham in honor of his friend Dr. Robert F. Berkey ’52. This is the third annual lecture.

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