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Vanderbilt University Divinity School announces the 2022 Mafoi Carlisle Bogitsh Lecture on February 21, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. CT to be delivered by Paul DeHart, Ph.D., Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt University Divinity School

Christ’s Cultural Ascent: J.Z. Smith, Ancient Religion, and the Cultic Apotheosis of Jesus

The lecture is an experiment in historical imagination. It argues that, beginning from the gospel portraits of Jesus as a worker of marvelous deeds, his eventual elevation to divine status can be grasped as a continual cultural process embedded within the larger evolution of religion in antiquity as theorized by History of Religions scholar Jonathan Z. Smith. Such an historical picture would suggest a closer connection than is usually assumed between Jesus’s own possible self-understanding and the figure worshipped in the early Christian communities. 

About the Bogitsh Lecturer

Paul DeHart

Professor DeHart's research interests center on the problem of God, especially the doctrine of the Trinity, and the dogmatic and philosophical issues involved in theorizing the relation of God to the created order. He also has strong interests in cognition and freedom as issues in theological anthropology, the debates surrounding the concept of the supernatural end of human beings, the history of interchanges between theology and philosophy from the medieval period onward, the metaphysical implications of natural science, and the continued relevance of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. His book publications include Beyond the Necessary God: Trinitarian Faith and Philosophy in the Thought of Eberhard Jungel (1999), The Trial of the Witnesses: The Rise and Decline of Postliberal Theology (2006), and Aquinas and Radical Orthodoxy: A Critical Inquiry (2011). Professor DeHart teaches in the areas of systematic theology and historical theology, including courses on Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, Soren Kierkegaard, John Milbank, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Doctrine of the Trinity, God in the Western Tradition, and surveys of Nineteenth Century Theology and Twentieth Century Theology.