» Departmental Lecture Series

The Department of Religious Studies oversees three endowed lectureships that enrich the religious studies curriculum at Chapman University and provide students with opportunities to interact with distinguished national and international scholars of religion.


The Griset Lectureship

This lectureship, together with the first endowed chair at Chapman University, was established in 1984 in the name of Belle Griset, whose son Francis Griset served as a Chapman Trustee for many years. The Griset Lectureship enables the Department to invite prominent scholars to campus to teach and deliver public lectures in the area of Christianity and ethics.

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Griset Lecturers

Griset Lecturer 2018

Dr. James Charlesworth
Princeton Theological Seminary
Video coming soon!

James H. Charlesworth is Princeton Theological Seminary’s George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature. He has authored over 400 articles or book chapters, edited or co-edited more than 100 volumes, and written some 40 monographs. He specializes in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old and New Testaments, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Jesus research, and the Gospel of John. As director of the Seminary’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project, he has worked on the Qumran Scrolls to make available, in cooperation with more than fifty international specialists, an accurate text with apparatus criticus, an English translation, and an introduction. He has excavated at Migdal, Bethsaida, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Khirbet Beza, Qumran, and elsewhere. Charlesworth has taught at Duke University, Hebrew University and the Albright Institute, both in Jerusalem, and the University of Tübingen. He served as distinguished visiting professor at Naples University and McCarthy Professor of the Pontificia Università Gregoriana in Rome. He has two honorary doctorates, honors from more than 18 countries, and numerous medals, including the medal from Brancoveanu Monastery in Sâmbãta de Sus, the Distinguished Achievement Citation from Ohio Wesleyan University; the Comenius Medal from Charles University, Prague, and the Pentecost Medal, presented by His Beatitude, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III. An ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, he serves as advisor to the denomination's World Missionary Council and preaches and lectures globally.

Griset Lecturer 2017

Dr. Paul N. Anderson
George Fox University
Watch lecture Video

Paul N. Anderson is Visiting Griset Chair of Bible and Christian Tradition at Chapman University for Spring 2017, where he is currently teaching a seminar entitled “Riddles of the Fourth Gospel.” He is Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University and serves as Extraordinary Professor of Religion at the North West University of Potchefstroom, South Africa. Author of over two hundred published essays and author or editor of a dozen books, Anderson is a co-founder of the John, Jesus, and History Project. His contextual introduction to the New Testament, From Crisis to Christ, offers new paradigms for biblical interpretation, and his books on John include The Christology of the Fourth Gospel, The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus, and The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel. His Ph.D. is from Glasgow University, and he has served as a visiting professor or scholar at the Radboud University of Nijmegen (Fulbright Specialist), the Guttenberg University of Mainz (DAAD), Princeton Theological Seminary, and Yale Divinity School. He edited Quaker Religious Thought and is the New Testament editor of the Biblical Interpretation Series (E.J. Brill).

Griset Lecturer 2016

Dr. Keith Ward
Gresham College and Oxford University
Watch lecture video

The Religious Studies Department was very pleased to have British theologian, philosopher, and priest in the Church of England, Keith Ward, as the 2016 Griset Lecturer in Christian Ethics. Prof. Ward is a fellow of the British Academy and Emeritus Religous Professor of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford University. He has written extensively on science and religion and on comparative theology and ethics, having published more than 40 books and delivered distinguished lectures around the world, and is regularly interviewed on the BBC. 

Griset Lecturer 2010

Dr. Richard Swinburne
University of Oxford|
Watch Oct. 11, 2010 lecture video
Watch Oct. 13, 2010 lecture video

Richard Swinburne is a Fellow of the British Academy. From 1985 to 2002 he was Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford.  He is the author of many books on the nature and justification of religious belief, and on other areas of philosophy including the philosophy of mind and epistemology.

Griset Lecturer 2009

Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid
Boston College
Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid holds a doctoral degree in systematic and philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, California). She works at the intersection of systematic theology and practical theology and is currently completing a monograph under the working title Suffering . . . . Salvation – A Latina Feminist Theological Reading.

Griset Lecturer 2008

Dr. Stephen T. Davis
Claremont McKenna College
Professor Davis is the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College and the author of numerous books and articles including Christian Philosophical Theology (Oxford University Press). 

Francis Memorial Lectures

The Francis Lectureship

This lectureship was established in honor of Prof. Fred Francis, an expert on the writings of the Apostle Paul. Prof. Francis taught New Testament and Christian Ethics in the Religious Studies Department at Chapman from 1964-1984.  The lectureship was established in 1984 to bring eminent biblical scholars from around the world to speak to the Chapman community.

March 2014

Founders Day
The Francis Lectureship co-sponsored Professor John Dominic Crossan as Founder's Day keynote speaker in 2014. In addition to the Founder's Day events, Dr. Crossan delivered a lecture to students and lead class discussions. Visit Dr. Crossan's website for more information on his work.

November 2014

Dr. Norma Franklin
Tel Aviv University
Presentation and lecture by Tel Aviv archaeologist, Dr. Norma Franklin, exploring the archaeology and history of the biblical cities of Megiddo, Samaria and Jezreel in Israel. Samaria was the hilltop capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel.  It was the site of the royal palace; the official residence of the kings of Israel and the place of their burial.  Yet the city of Megiddo was strategically more important. Surrounded on three sides by alternating hills and deep valleys, it sat astride the great north-south “Way of the Sea” and overlooked the fertile Jezreel Valley that stretched to the east. The compound of Jezreel, perched on the foothills of the Gilboa range, stood sentry—a small but crucial military outpost.  In her lecture, Dr. Franklin detailed the geography and archaeology of these three great Biblical sites so crucial to our understanding of ancient Israel. Learn more about the lecture and Dr. Franklin here ...

October 2010 

Dr. Gale A. Yee
Episcopal Divinity School
Dr. Yee is the Nancy W. King Professor of Biblical Studies, Episcopal Divinity School and is the author of Poor Banished Children of Eve; Woman as Evil in the Hebrew Bible; Jewish Feasts and the Gospel of John; Composition and Tradition in the Book of Hosea: A Redaction Critical Investigation and Judges and Method; New Approaches in Biblical Studies. View lecture here ...

Huntington Lectures

The Huntington Lectureship Fund

Established in honor of Prof. Ron Huntington, who taught at Chapman University from 1960-1994.  Prof. Huntington served as co-director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute with Dr. Kurt Bergel in the 1980s, was Dean of the World Campus Afloat Program in the 1960s, and is remembered especially for his popular course on modern world religions.  The Huntington Lectureship was established in 1994 to bring prominent scholars in world religions to lecture at Chapman.




Chakravarthi Ram- Prasad

“Engendering Emotion?:  The Devotional Theology of an 8th Century Hindu Woman Poet-Mystic”
Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad
Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy
Lancaster University, UK


"The Experimental Metaphysics of Free Will: A New Interdisciplinary Dialogue"
Karma Matrix: A Buddhist Perspective on Time and Free Will
 Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi
Director, Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Determined to be Free & Free to be Determined: 
Meditation and Implications for the Art of Observation, Destiny, and Free Will
Gurucharan Singh Khalsa
Director of Training Internationally, Kundalini Research Institute & Khalsa Consultants 
Portland, Oregon

Both Huntington Lecturers also joined other conference presenters for:

An Afternoon Roundtable Discussion:
Exploring How the Day's Interdisciplinary Findings Transform our Conception of Free Will

An Evening Dialogue:
Have we got it all Wrong? How Emerging Understandings in Science, Religion & Philosophy Radically Alter Free Will and Determinism



Religion Gone Astray: Getting to the Heart of Interfaith

Presented by “The Interfaith Amigos”

Imam Jamal Rahman
Pastor Don Mackenzie
Rabbi Ted Falcon 

The authors of   Getting to the Heart of Interfaith   and   Religion Gone Astray   confronted the imperatives and pitfalls of interfaith dialogue with humor and wisdom.  Pastor Mackenzie, Rabbi Falcon and Imam Rahman—now known as the Interfaith Amigos—started working together after 9/11. Since then, they have brought their unique blend of spiritual wisdom and humor to audiences in the US, Canada, Israel-Palestine and Japan. Their first book,   Getting to the Heart of Interfaith  ( Skylight Paths, 2009), brought the Interfaith Amigos international attention with coverage from the   New York Times,  CBS News, the BBC and various NPR programs.  Karen Armstrong  calls their “exuberant and courageous” second book,   Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith  ( Skylight Paths, 2011), “an inspiration and example for all of us in these sadly polarized times.”    Learn more about the Interfaith Amigos.


Buddhist Retreat:  Vilmalakirti Sutra

Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi
Director, Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The two-day retreat focused on the Vimalakirti Sutra, an early Mahayana Buddhist text with dramatic episodes and expansive views that served as an encouragement that the highest levels of spiritual attainment are open to laypersons.  The retreat was led by Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi a Tibetan monk and Buddhist chaplain at MIT, well-known for his warm, humorous and lucid teachings.  Co-sponsored with   Prajnopaya SoCal.



The Secret Jews of Italy: A Journey of Discovery

Rabbi Barbara Aiello
Founder and Director of the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria
First Woman Rabbi in Italy

In this lecture Rabbi Barbara Aiello explored the extraordinary story of the secret Jews of Calabria and Sicily.  She is the first woman rabbi in Italy and the first non-orthodox rabbi. Rabbi Aiello traces her own roots back to Calabria where her father was raised and where she organized Ner Tamid del Sud, the first active synagogue in the south of Italy in 500 years. Through her work as founder and director of the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria, many Italians have learned of their Jewish heritage going back to a time when Jews, forced to convert, practiced their Judaism in secret and risked their lives to hold on to Jewish traditions and values.


Dealing with Stress, Anxiety and Anger  

Venerable Thubten Chodron
Internationally renowned author, Tibetan Buddhist nun, and Abbess of the Sravasti Abbey.

In her teaching, Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood by Westerners.


A Contemplative Guide to Joyful Living

Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi
Director, Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Venerable Priyadarshi is a Tibetan monk, well-known for his warm, humorous and lucid teachings that reveal the relevance of Buddhist teachings in the contemporary world.




Restoring Food Democracy

Dr. A. Whitney Sanford
University of Florida

Dr. Whitney Sanford received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and her primary areas of teaching and expertise are Religion and Nature and Religious of Asia. Her current research focuses on environmental movements of the global South, religious attitudes towards agricultural sustainability, and the relationship between agricultural biotechnology and forms of neo-colonialism. Dr. Sanford has done extensive field research in India and in this lecture, she presented a portion of her newest project “Gandhi’s Environmental Legacy: Food Sovereignty and Social Movements” investigating Gandhi’s influence on sustainability and food and water sovereignty movements around the world.   View Dr. Sanford's lecture.


Jihad and Radical Non-Violence in Islam

Dr. Irfan A. Omar
Marquette University

Dr. Irfan Omar specializes in Islamic thought with a special focus on inter-religious connections between Islam and other religions, and on non-violence. A student of the renowned Islamic peace advocate, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan ,   who was himself a companion of Gandhi, Dr. Omar was selected as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Faculty of Theology of Muhammadiyah University, Indonesia, for his work on Islam and non-violence.  He has published several books including,   Heirs of Abraham, A Muslim View of Christianity,  Islam and Other Religions,   A Christian View of Islam   and  Islamic Thought in Contemporary India: An Exploration of Maulan Wahiduddin Khan’s Al-Risala Movement.   View Dr. Omar's lecture.

Islam Taken Captive

Islam Taken Captive  

Imam Sayed Moustafa al-Quazwini
Founding Imam, Islamic Educational Center of Orange County

Imam Sayed Moustafa al-Quazwini was born in Karbala, Iraq to an intellectually and scholarly family, who traced their lineage back to the Holy Prophet Muhummad. He initiated his higher theological studies in Islam at the seminary in Qum, under the instruction and guidance of prominent Muslim theologians and philosophers.  In addition to being the founding imam of Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, he has also published numerous books and articles on Islam in Arabic and English and is an avid participant in interfaith dialogue.

Ines Talamantez

Loss of Land & Language Leads to Loss of Theology: A Native American Perspective

Dr. Inés M. Talamantez
University of California, Santa Barbara

Inés M. Talamantez is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  A member of the Mescalero Apache tribe with a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Talamantez is a pioneer of the field and an internationally acclaimed scholar of Native American Religious Traditions. Coming to UCSB in 1978 from Dartmouth, she created a doctoral program with an emphasis on Native American religion.