An afternoon program, "Visionaries and Pragmatists Ancient and Contemporary," took place in Andover Hall on November 2 to celebrate the retirement of Paul Hanson, Florence Corliss Lamont Research Professor of Divinity. The first seminar on apocalyptic literature was led by Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University Divinity School.
A second seminar on religion and public life was led by Ronald Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology at HDS. Each seminar included a brief presentation on the state of the research in that area of scholarship and what is currently happening in the field.
At 4:30 pm, the keynote address, "Theocracy and Its Discontents: Biblical Perspectives on the Mediated Rule of God," was given by S. Dean McBride, Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. A reception in Hanson's honor concluded the afternoon's events.
Paul D. Hanson has taught at Harvard since 1971 and was the Florence Corliss Lamont Professor of Divinity since 1988. He was the Bussey Professor of Divinity from 1981 to 1988, and Professor of Old Testament before that. He has published multiple books and mentored countless students in his areas of expertise, which include Hebrew prophecy, Jewish literature of the Second Temple Period, the religion of the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt, and biblical theology.
Among his many publications are The Dawn of Apocalyptic: The Historical and Sociological Roots of Jewish Apocalyptic Eschatology; Visionaries and Their Apocalypses; Old Testament Apocalyptic; and The People Called: The Growth of Community in the Bible. His new book, Political Engagement as Biblical Mandate (Cascade Books, 2009), examines the interplay between religion and politics, with emphasis on American faith communities rooted in biblical tradition. Hanson will remain at HDS as the Florence Corliss Lamont Research Professor of Divinity.
—by Jonathan Beasley