Hardigg Family Fund Lecture: Elizabeth Castelli on "Torture and Christianity." Free and open to all. Reception follows.
Abstract: "People on War 2016, a report released in December 2016 by the International Committee of the Red Cross, concluded that Americans support torture at a significantly higher rate than citizens of other nations. Meanwhile, a 2009 Pew Research Center study showed that white evangelicals in the U.S. supported torture at a still higher rate than the U.S. average. How are we to account for this grim religious enthusiasm for state-sponsored violence against individuals identified as threats to national security or the nation itself? This lecture will explore this question by examining the logics and repertoires of torture in two late ancient Christian texts (the fourth-century imperial chronicle, Lactantius' On the Deaths of the Persecutors, and the fifth-century compendium of post-Constantinian Roman imperial law, the Theodosian Code) and by considering how these ancient framings of theology, divine justice, and legitimacy of state violence enjoy uncanny afterlives in the contemporary political and ethical debates over torture."
Elizabeth Castelli is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion and chair of the Religion Department at Barnard College. She is a specialist in biblical studies, early Christianity, feminist/gender studies in religion, and theory and method in the study of religion. She is particularly interested in the reception history and "afterlives" of biblical and early Christian texts - how the Bible and early Christian sources are cited and recycled in contemporary social, political, and cultural expressions and debates. Her english translation of italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini's San Paolo, the never-produced script for a film about St. Paul, appeared in July 2014 from Verso Books UK. She is the founding editor of the scholarly journal Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds, and she is currently at work on a collection of essays on the theme of confession.
The Hardigg Family Fund was established by James S. Hardigg '44.
Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.