Friday, January 06, 2006

Fortress Press Presents Teaching Awards

This Press Release is from Fortress:

Fortress Press Presents Teaching Awards

MINNEAPOLIS (December 20, 2005)-Fortress Press presented two teaching awards at this year's annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conference in Philadelphia, PA on November 19, 2005.

The awards-one for teaching undergraduates, the other for teaching graduates or seminarians-are given in recognition of innovative teaching, unique approaches to subject areas, or superb communication with today's students in biblical studies, religious studies, theology, ethics, or ministry. Candidates were nominated by peers and chosen by independent judges.

Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher is Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Peace Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Among his innovative techniques cited in the nominations are his engagement of students directly with physical remains of the material culture of the Bible as a way of connecting archaeology and the development of the biblical texts. Likewise, he has encouraged students to get "out the classroom and into the real world" to see how various ethnic and cultural groups interpret and respond to the historic sacred texts today. Smith-Christopher's teaching, said one nominator, "captures the imagination of the students by approaching the worlds of the biblical text in non-traditional ways, especially ways that put students directly in touch with intra-cultural approaches to the Bible. (His own roots as a Quaker teaching in a Roman Catholic university context only add to this!)" Among Professor Smith-Christopher's several books is A Biblical Theology of Exile (Fortress Press, 2002).

Michael J. Gorman, Professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, is also Dean of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology there. Dean Gorman was particularly praised for his attempts to address the problems of so many biblical students with little prior background in the critical scientific approach to the biblical texts and of how they may be applied pastorally. Particularly, he has developed a resource, published as Elements of Biblical Exegesis (Hendrickson, 2001), to introduce students to interpretive methods. And he has worked with the faculty of St. Mary's to develop Scripture: An Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible (Hendrickson, 2005) to bring exegetical and historical insights to a broad, ecumenical audience.

In presenting these awards proclaimed Fortress Press publisher, Scott Tunseth, "Fortress Press joins professors from around the country in acknowledging the talents of these educators and presents them as models for the academic community. We hope also in this process to identify teaching strategies to inform development of future classroom resources."

I once shared a cab/bus ride with Michael Gorman to the airport after one of the SBLs, I forget which, and we talked all the way about teaching. Many congratulations to both on their achievement.

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