R. Wayne Perkins Lecture Series
The annual R. Wayne Perkins Lectures, sponsored by the Office of Religious Life of the University of Evansville, bring together religion scholars, theologians, and church leaders to explore biblical and theological questions relevant to our common life together. The lectures are intended to be public in nature, engage a broad gathering of world views, and help inform the complexities of theological understanding within contemporary life.
The Perkins Lectures are made possible by the generosity of private donors and the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and are designed to generate and foster sustained theological reflection among University of Evansville students and alumni, clergy, and the larger community.
R. Wayne Perkins Lecture: Of Pearls and Prodigals: Hearing Jesus' Parables as Jewish Stories
Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
Room 251, Ridgway University Center, Eykamp Hall, University of Evansville Campus, 1800 Lincoln Ave, Evansville, IN
Amy-Jill Levine, PhD
University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies
Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies
Professor in Jewish Studies
Vanderbilt Divinity School
This year’s Perkins Lecturer is Amy-Jill Levine University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science; she is also Affiliated Professor, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK. Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus; The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (co-authored with Douglas Knight); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (co-authored with Warren Carter), and the thirteen-volume edited Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writing. Her most recent volume is Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi. She has also just written, with noted children’s book author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Who Counts? 100 Sheep, Ten Coins, and Two Sons (a volume on the parables of Luke 15, designed for children). Dr. Levine is also the co-editor, with Marc Z. Brettler, of the Jewish Annotated New Testament, now in a second edition. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College. A self-described Yankee Jewish feminist, Professor Levine is a member of Congregation Sherith Israel, an Orthodox Synagogue in Nashville, although she is often quite unorthodox.
Other Perkins Lecturers
- 2017 – Alyce M. McKenzie
- 2016 – R. Wayne Perkins, PhD, inaugural lecture
About Rev. R. Wayne Perkins, PhD
Wayne Perkins, professor emeritus of religion and ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, earned his undergraduate degree at Asbury College, magna cum laude, and an STB, summa cum laude, and PhD at Boston University. He came to the University of Evansville in 1966 as a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. During his tenure at UE, Wayne served as director of religious life, University chaplain, and chair of the department. He also taught World Religions and Religious Perspectives for many years in the Adult Education program at UE. Wayne is married to Sally Perkins ’77 who earned a master’s degree at the University of Evansville. They have three grown children and five grandchildren.
Dr. Perkins was professor and mentor to thousands of UE students over fives decades. He advised countless students in their academic achievements, but more than that, Perkins directed students in their ministry and vocational goals, too. His criticism of Rudolf Bultmann moved students to develop their own Christology. He introduced college students to theologians like Karl Barth, the systematic theologian who actively opposed Adolf Hitler, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose work, “The Cost of Discipleship” gave students the courage to embrace the call God had placed on their lives to be a prophet. Dr. Perkins initiated conversations with students about liberation theology, which stirred the souls of young people to speak truth to power, to stand up for the oppressed, and to be voices of courage.
The annual R. Wayne Perkins Lecture Series names Dr. Perkins’ teaching and advising legacy, and honors his contribution to scholarship, the University of Evansville, The United Methodist Church, and the lives of students for over 50 years.