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Posted: Saturday, February 23rd 2013 at 8:56am

Noted theologian to speak at Brenau next week

By Staff
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Dr. Marcus Berg
GAINESVILLE - Dr. Marcus Borg, one of the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity and a major figure in scholarship related to the Historical Jesus, will present three lectures at Brenau University on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, 2013, as part of a newly formed partnership of north Georgia churches and academic institutions.

One of the world’s most notable authorities on the historical Jesus kicks off the new lecture series sponsored by Brenau and major churches in North Georgia.
Borg, the author of 20 books, is Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Ore. Described by The New York Times as “a leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars,” Borg has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “Dateline,” PBS’s “NewsHour,” ABC’s “Evening News” and “Primetime,” NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, and several National Geographic programs.

“Religion in the 21st Century,” the two-day Chautauqua-style event in Pearce Auditorium at Brenau, is jointly presented by the university, First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Grace Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville, St. Paul United Methodist Church and EMW Lectures.

Tickets are $50 and may be purchased through EMW Lectures online by clicking this link or by phone at 706-754-8036. Tickets are also available through the sponsor churches. One ticket buys admission to all three lectures. Single-lecture tickets are not available.

Dr. Bill Coates, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, described Borg as one of the best-known educators in the country.

“He speaks of an emerging paradigm to see faith and practice faith in an age of science and technology,” Coates said. “So many people don’t believe today because they don’t believe the basic doctrines or have trouble understanding the stories of the Bible. For people like that, Borg has a new approach, a new lens through which they can see those stories.

“He’s not concerned with, ‘Is this story literally true?’ What he’s interested in is ‘What is the truth that is more true than the story itself?’ For the person in a scientific, technical age who has intellectual problems with belief, Dr. Borgspeaks to people in a new way. “He says, ‘Whether these stories are literally true or not doesn’t matter.’ Some say he’s a heretic. But he’s willing to wade into that controversy.”

Borg will present three lectures: “A Crisis in Christian Language: Its Conflicted Meanings Today,” “The Goal of the Christian Life” and “The Central Virtues: Mercy and Righteousness? Or Compassion and Justice?” Lectures last one hour and will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. Borg will be available for book signing after each Q&A. Borg’s books will be available for purchase during the event.

Friday evening Borg will speak at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 10 a.m. – following a performance by the Brenau University Gospel Choir – and again at 1 p.m. Lunch will be available at noon Saturday for $10 in the dining hall adjacent to Pearce Auditorium.

Barbara Brown Taylor, preacher, noted speaker, author and the Butman Professor of Religion at Piedmont College in Demorest, will introduce Borg and lead the Q&A sessions following each lecture. She said of Borg’s books, “With great clarity and pastoral genius, Borg offers questioning Christians a way to keep their faith without shutting down the search for truth.”

Borg’s doctorate degree is from Oxford University, and he has lectured in England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and North America, including appearances at the Chautauqua and Smithsonian Institutions. He held the Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University until he retired in 2007.

A Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, Borg has been national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature and co-chair of its International New Testament Program Committee. He was formerly president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.

His books’ titles are “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time” (1994) – the single best-selling book by a contemporary Jesus scholar, “The Heart of Christianity” (2003), “Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary” (2006) – a New York Times best seller, “Conversations with Scripture: Mark” (2009), three books co-authored with John Dominic Crossan: “The Last Week” (2006), “The First Christmas” (2007), and “The First Paul” (2009), “Putting Away Childish Things” (2010) – his first novel, “Speaking Christian” (April, 2011), “Evolution of the Word” (2012),

Link: Brenau University
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