National faith-based leaders speak at free series June 5-6

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The Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference 2014 ( will present a series of lectures by national faith leaders June 5-6 on the Lipscomb University campus.

Scholarly leaders from Emory, Duke and Yale universities and Phyllis Tickle, nationally known author and founding editor of the religion department of Publisher’s Weekly, will speak on the theme of “Leadership in the Academy, Religion and Civic Life” throughout the two days of the conference, which draws more than 300 scholars and theologians to explore faith in a multi-disciplinary context.

Photos: (top) Carl Holladay, Phyllis Tickle, Lamin Sanneh, (bottom) Elizabeth Clark

The conference’s free sessions will include:

“12 Years a Slave”
Wednesday, June 4
7 p.m., Ward Hall

As a pre-conference event, the Christian Scholars’ Conference presents a free showing of the Academy Award-winning best picture “12 Years a Slave.” The film is the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, who is abducted and sold into slavery.  The historical drama is an adaptation of Northrup’s 1853 narrative memoir, and it won best picture, best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay at the 2014 Academy Awards.


Carl Holladay
Thursday, June 5
10:45 a.m., Collins Alumni Auditorium

Carl Holladay, professor of New Testament Studies at Emory University, is the author of seven books in addition to serving on editorial boards for multiple scholarly journals. He is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory and a popular lecturer at colleges and universities around the globe.

Phyllis Tickle
Thursday, June 5
3:45 p.m., Collins Alumni Auditorium

Phyllis Tickle, founding editor of the religion department of Publisher’s Weekly, will speak on “Being Citizens and Settlers in the Strange New Land of Emergence.” Tickle is the author of over three dozen books on religion and spirituality and is frequently quoted in print sources, electronic media and innumerable blogs and web sites.  She is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subject.

Lamin Sanneh
Friday, June 6

2:15 p.m., Acuff Chapel

Lamin Sanneh, professor at Yale Divinity School and Yale University, is an internationally acclaimed scholar and speaker and the author of more than one hundred articles and books on religious and historical subjects.

Elizabeth Clark
Friday, June 6, 3 p.m.
Nursing and Health Sciences Building, Room 118

Elizabeth Clark, the professor of religion and professor of history emerita, at Duke University, specializes in the history of late ancient Christianity, with particular attention to issues of women and gender, Biblical interpretation in early Christianity, among other historical areas. She will speak on “Women and the Family in the Nineteenth Century Protestant Imaginary.”


About the Christian Scholars’ Conference

The Christian Scholars’ Conference features 66 paper, panel or performance sessions crafted to nurture an intellectual Christian community that stimulates networks of scholarly dialogue and collaboration. This year’s event features session tracks on civil rights, women in leadership, business, faith and science, immigration, sustainability, Biblical studies, Christian spirituality and others.

Featured session presenters include James Browning, the United States district judge for New Mexico, leading sessions on immigration; Jack Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union, 1987 to 1991, discussing the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan; and Mark Lanier, a Texas attorney who has successfully represented numerous individuals in VIOXX cases, moderating a session on “Christian Leadership in Policing our Medicines Through the Courts.”

Presenters also include scholars from Duke, Yale, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, Boston and Columbia universities, among others.

The entire two-day Christian Scholars’ Conference costs $195 for individuals and $125 for graduate students, with additional fees for special luncheons and activities. Go to to register. For more information on the Christian Scholars’ Conference, contact Kellye McCool at 615.966.5458. For a full schedule and registration information, visit