May 3, 2018
Jeremy Schipper ’01 MDiv ’05 PhD and Bart D. Ehrman ’81 PhD have been named 2018 Guggenheim Fellows.
Schipper, religion professor at Temple University, is a widely known and highly respected Old Testament scholar with particular interests in the intersectionality of the Hebrew Bible, disability, and race. The Guggenheim Fellowship will support research for his next book project, Denmark Vesey’s Bible: Biblical Interpretation and the Trial that Changed a Nation. The book will focus on the role of biblical interpretation in the defense and prosecution of Denmark Vesey, a former slave executed in 1822 “for allegedly plotting what might have been the largest insurrection against slaveholders in US history,” and in the ensuing debates after the trial. Just as Vesey cited several biblical passages to support the uprising, so too did the prosecution to condemn Vesey and the insurrection.
“In the aftermath of Vesey’s trial, pro-slavery writers constructed arguments that would provide the blueprint for many pro-slavery responses to abolitionist appeals to the Bible for nearly the next half century,” Schipper explains.
A prolific New Testament scholar with research interests in early Christianity, Ehrman currently serves as the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. As a Guggenheim Fellow—an opportunity he calls “an enormous honor”—he plans to write The Invention of Heaven and Hell, a scholarly monograph that will examine how early Christian conceptions of the afterlife were formed by and also shaped their respective contexts. As stated by Ehrman, his book aims to show “the relation of the early Christian otherworldly journeys to the broader intellectual and social worlds from which they emerged and into which they fed.”
Established in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation offers roughly 175 Fellowships each year, out of nearly 3,000 applicants, to further the work of scholars and artists around the world. To learn more about the Guggenheim Fellowship, visit their website.