WILSON, N.C. – The 2010 E.G. Purcell, Jr., Bible Conference and the Thedford G. and Woodrow W. Sprinkle Lectures are scheduled for March 7-9 at Barton College.  Dr. Samuel E. Balentine, Professor of Old Testament, at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., will be the guest lecturer for the Purcell Bible Conference on Sunday, March 7, in Hardy Alumni Hall.  Dr. Stephanie Paulsell, Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School, will be the featured speaker for the Sprinkle Lectures scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, March 8-9, also in Hardy Alumni Hall.

All lecture sessions are open to the public free of charge, and the community is invited to attend. A buffet luncheon and discussion with Dr. Paulsell will follow at Noon on Tuesday.  Those planning to attend the luncheon may pay at the door. The programs are sponsored by the Department of Religion and Philosophy.

The Purcell Bible Conference

The Purcell Bible Conference was established in 1984 with an endowment given by family, colleagues, friends, students and parishioners to honor the life and ministry of Eugene G. Purcell Jr. A graduate of Duke University and Duke Divinity School, Purcell joined the faculty of Barton College in 1957 and served 27 years in the Department of Religion and Philosophy. During his career, he has served Methodist churches in Burlington, Fair Bluff, and Ahoskie, as well Riverside Christian Church and Lanie’s Chapel Christian Church.

The purpose of these lectures has been to provide the public with the finest in recent biblical scholarship each year.  From its inception, these lectures have been planned with the laity of the church in mind.

Registration for the Purcell Bible Conference will begin at 3 p.m. in Hardy Alumni Hall.  At 3:30 p.m., Dr. Balentine will present the lecture, “Saint Job.”  Following the lecture, there will be a brief reception, and he will speak again at the 5 p.m. vesper service.  Dr. Balentine’s sermon is titled “Look at Me and Be Appalled.”

Balentine received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University, a Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University.  A highly regarded scholar who served on the faculty of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond for 10 years, Balentine joined the Union-PSCE faculty in September 2004.  He is the author of four books, including a commentary on Leviticus in the Interpretation Bible Commentary series (John Knox Press) andThe Torah’s Vision of Worship” (Fortress Press, 1999).  He has edited or co-edited numerous books and scholarly journals, and written nearly three dozen articles for significant journals in biblical studies.  Prior to joining the faculty of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Balentine served as a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He recently published a major commentary on the Book of Job.  Balentine is general editor of the Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary series, co-editor of Interpretation,” and a member of the editorial board for The New Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible.”

The Sprinkle Lectures

The Thedford G. and Woodrow W. Sprinkle Lectures were established in 1981 by Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle, a graduate of Barton College, Yale Divinity School and Duke University.  The lectures were named in honor of his father, Thedford G. Sprinkle and his uncle, Woodrow W. Sprinkle.  Dr. Sprinkle, who graduated from Barton College in 1974, has served as associate minister to Thomas Chapel Church of Christ, New Haven, Conn., and as minister to First Christian Church of Greensboro, Wendell Christian Church and Pleasant Union Christian Church in Newton Grove.  He served on the faculty of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Barton from 1983-1990.  Sprinkle presently serves as director of field education /supervised ministry and lecturer in practical theology at Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

The Sprinkle Lectures will begin with Paulsell’s first lecture: “Stories for a Fearful Time: Ian McEwan’s ‘Saturday’ and Laura Kaskschke’s ‘In a Perfect World’” on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. in Hardy Alumni Hall.  “Visions of the End: Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ and Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Year of the Flood’” will be the topic of Paulsell’s second lecture, which will begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

Paulsell earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Greensboro College, and a Master of Arts degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  She joined the faculty of Harvard Divinity School in 2001 as lecturer on ministry and was appointed associate dean for ministry studies in 2003.  Paulsell served in the post of associate dean until 2005, when she was appointed Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies.  For the 2007-08 academic year, she was also associate dean for faculty and curricular affairs.  Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, Paulsell served as director of ministry studies and senior lecturer in religion and literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School.  She studies the points of intersection between intellectual work and spiritual practice, between the academic study of religion and the practices of ministry, and between the contemplative and active dimensions of the vocations of minister and teacher.  Paulsell is the author of “Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice” and co-editor of “The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher.”  She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

For additional information about these events, please contact Dr. Rodney A. Werline, Marie and Leman Barnhill Endowed Chair in Religious Studies, at 399-6447 or email: rawerline@barton.edu.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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