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Otts Lecture

In 1893, J.M.P. Otts, D.D., LL.D., a distinguished alumnus of Davidson, left a sum of money to the College to endow a lecture series in the field of religion. The Religious Studies Department has continued since then to host the Otts Lectures. In recent years the Otts series has brought to campus the following lecturers:

2018 Kate Bowler, Ph.D., Professor of the History of Christianity in North America, Duke Divinity School, "Health and the Prosperity Gospel." 

2017 Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, Harvard University Divinity School. Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium.

2016 Christian Wiman, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature, Yale Divinity School, "Hammer is the Prayer: On Artistic Inspiration and the Limits of Devotion: and "Ten Demented Chickens: Poems, Prayers and other Expostulations." Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium.

2014 Richard B. Miller, Provost Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, "Empathy: The Future of Another Illusion" and "The Ethics of Empathy: Feeling, Imagination, and Judgment." Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium.

2012 John Dominic Crossan, "Jesus and the Kingdom of God" and "Paul and the Challenge of Equality." Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium.

2011 Mark Noll, Notre Dame, "The Bible and American Public Life" and "When It All Broke Loose for the Bible: The 1880s, Catholics, Jews, Blacks, the Courts, Evolution, Revivalism, Higher Criticism-the Works!" Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium.

2009 Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Is the New Testament Confused?" and "Is the New Testament Forged?" Co-Sponsored by the Maloney Lectureship.



2007 Dale Martin, Yale University, "Angels and Demons" and "The Apostle Paul."

2006 William Schweiker, University of Chicago, "The Theology of an Ethical Capitalism." Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium: "Christianity and Capitalism."

2006 Kathryn Tanner, University of Chicago, "Grace and Global Capitalism" (March 2006). Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium: "Christianity and Capitalism."

2006 Deidre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago, "The Theology of an Ethical Capitalism." Co-sponsored by the Samuel D. Maloney Lectureship as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium: "Christianity and Capitalism."

2002 Mary Ann Tolbert, Pacific School of Religion, "Homoeroticism and the Bible."

2001 James VanderKam, University of Notre Dame, "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible."

1999 Wendy Farley, Emory University, "Passion and Contemplation in Christian and Buddhist Thought."

1998 James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary, "Martin, Malcolm and America."

1995 Stanley M. Hauerwas, Duke University, "Why Christians Should be Pacifists: The Ethics of War and Peace."

1994 Mary Ann Tolbert, Vanderbilt University, "The Bible: Hope of the Oppressed or Weapon of the Oppressor?"



1992 Gerald Bonner, Catholic University, "The Pelagian Controversy: A Storm in a Teacup." 



1990 H. Jackson Forstman, Vanderbilt University, "Theological Foundations for Resistance to Tyranny: The Case of Germany Under the Shadow of Hitler." 



1989 W. Sibley Towner, Union Theological Seminary (Richmond).1986 Wayne Meeks, Yale University. 1985 Milner Ball, University of Georgia.



Lecturers between 1953 and 1985 include George Buttrick, Paul Lehman, John Cobb, and Robert McAfee Brown.