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Last Update: 12/15/11


Presenters

Joseph A. Adler, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. is Professor of Asian Studies and Religious Studies, and Director of the Asian Studies Program, at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He is the author of Chinese Religious Traditions, co-author of Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching, translator of Introduction to the Study of the Classic of Change, by Chu Hsi (Zhu Xi, 1130-1200), and contributor to Confucianism and Ecology, Sources of Chinese Tradition (2nd. ed.), Confucian Spirituality (vol. 2), Teaching Confucianism, and Zhu Xi Now (forthcoming). In 1992 he founded the Confucian Traditions Group of the American Academy of Religion.

 

James A. Beverley, B.A., M.Div., M.Th., Ph.D., is Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Canada and Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California. He is the author and editor of twelve books, including Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions, Religions A to Z and Counterfeit Code, a reply to Dan Brown’s famous novel. A specialist on the study of new religions, he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on the inner teachings of Sun Myung Moon.

 

Greg Epstein, B.A., M.A., M.Th., is an ordained Humanist Rabbi from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, where he studied in Jerusalem and Michigan for five years. Epstein was the primary organizer of “The New Humanism,” an international conference in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, which drew one of the largest and most diverse audiences of any Humanist gathering in North American history. He blogs for Newsweek and The Washington Post, is an adviser to two student groups, the Harvard Secular Society, the Harvard Interfaith Council, and to the Harvard Humanist Graduate Community. He also chairs the Academic Advisory Board of the national umbrella organization the Secular Student Alliance.

 

Annie Laurie Gaylor, B.A., became Co-President, with Dan Barker, of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2004. She is co-host of Freethought Radio and executive editor of Freethought Today newspaper. Her book, Woe To The Women: The Bible Tells Me So, first published in 1981, is now in its 4th printing. Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, 1988, was the first book documenting widespread sexual abuse by clergy. Her 1997 anthology, Women Without Superstition: No Gods, No Masters is the first collection of the writings of historic and contemporary women freethinkers. A 1980 graduate of the UW-Madison Journalism School, she founded, edited and published the Feminist Connection,a monthly advocacy newspaper, from 1980-1985. She co-founded the original FFRF with her mother, Anne Nichole Gaylor, in 1976 as a college student. 

 

Mark W. Harris, B.A., M.A., M.Div., has been a parish minister and is presently in his sixteenth year at the First Parish of Watertown, MA. He was the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Director of Information, the denominational historian and archivist from 1985-1989. He has taught courses in history and congregational polity at the seminary level, and is presently Adjunct Professor of Church History at Andover Newton Theological School. He is the author of many denominational pamphlets and books, including The A to Z of Unitarian Universalism (2004), Elite: Uncovering Classism in Unitarian Universalist History (2010), and An Introduction to the Unitarian and Universalist Traditions (with Andrea Greenwood, 2011).

 

James Herrick, B.A., M.A., is Secretary of the National Secular Society. He edited The New Humanist for twenty years when he worked for the Rationalist Press Association. The author of several books, he has written Vision and Realism: A hundred years of the Freethinker (1982); Against the Faith: Som Deists, Sceptics and Atheists (1985); and Humanism: An Introduction (2003). He was editor of the International Humanist News for four years. Currently he is Chair of the South Place Ethical Society and he is writing a history of the institution from its beginning in 1783.

 

Marian Hillar, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Biochemistry/Molecular Biology at Texas Southern University, where he directs the Center for Philosophy and Socinian Studies. He has worked at various research centers in US and abroad. His philosophical and theological research has focused on Michael Servetus and the Socinians, and their contributions to the development of an Antitrinitarian movement in Europe and the Enlightenment. He has published numerous papers in history of philosophy, ethics and theology, and several books on Servetus, including translations of Servetus’ texts.

 

David L. Holmes, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., is the Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary, where he has taught for forty-six years. His scholarly work focuses on the religion of America’s founding fathers, such as The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (2006). The author of more than eighty encyclopedia entries, book chapters, scholarly articles, and books, he frequently speaks on NPR and PBS.

 

Peter Hughes, B.S., A. B., D.Min., is a retired Unitarian Universalist minister. His last appointment was at First Universalist Church in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. His research focuses on Michael Servetus, Lelio Sozzini, and other sixteenth-century Antitrinitarians. He has translated the works of Antitrinitarians, and has edited books about Universalism, Servetus, and other topics. He also served as Editor for the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist BiographDictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography from 2000-2009.

 

Gavin Hyman, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Lancaster, in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, where he teaches courses in ethics, philosophy, religion, and atheism. He is the author of numerous books and articles on atheism and postmodern philosophy and theology, including A Short History of Atheism (2010).

 

S. T. Joshi, B.A., M.A., is a prolific writer and editor, and a leading authority on H. L. Mencken, H. P. Lovecraft, and Ambrose Bierce. In addition, he is a prominent atheist, and has published the anthology Atheism: A Reader (2000), and the treatises God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong (2003) and The Unbelievers: The Roots of Modern Atheism (2011). He also compiled an important anthology on race relations, Documents of American Prejudice (1999).

 

Evelyn Kirkley, A.B., M.Div., Ph.D., teaches at the University of San Diego, where she is an advisor to PRIDE, USD’s organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and questioning undergraduate students and allies. She has also served as co-director of the Gender Studies Program and director of the Faculty and Curriculum Development Program at USD. Her research focuses on alternative religious movements (often called “cults” or “sects”) in the United States and the intersections between religion and gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

 

Alan Charles Kors, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, has a special research interest in the relationship between orthodox and heterodox thought in France after 1650. He has published several books and many articles on early-modern French intellectual history, including Atheism in France: The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief (Princeton, 1991). He was editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (4 volumes, Oxford University Press, 2002). He is the recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the Bradley Prize, and has won several awards for his teaching and his defense of academic freedom.

 

Carlos Lopez, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of South Florida. His research focuses on ancient Vedic religion and ritual, Sanskrit language and literature, and he teaches courses in Hindu traditions, texts, ancient Indian literature, and Sanskrit. He is the author of Atharvaveda-Paippalada Kandas Thirteen and Fourteen: Text, translation, commentary, published in the Harvard Oriental Series.

 

Emily R. Mace, B.A., M.T.S., Ph.D., received her doctoral degree in religious studies from Princeton University in 2010, where she specialized in the study of American religious history. Her dissertation explored how radical religious liberals in the nineteenth century sought to embody an eclectic cosmopolitanism in their religious practices, looking at practice of fellowship, dedication ceremonies, religious education courses, holidays, and compiled bibles. Currently she serves as an adjunct instructor in the humanities at Brevard College in North Carolina. 

 

J. Gordon Melton, B.A., M.Div., Ph.D., is the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR) and the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. He is the author of more than 40 scholarly texts and reference books, including the Encyclopedia of American Religion (now in its eighth edition) and the Illustrated History of American Religion. He is also the co-editor of Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (second edition, 2010). As ISAR’s director he has researched, monitored, and written about the community of Unbelief in North America for the last forty years.

 

Ronald Numbers, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., is the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently writing a one-volume history of science in America since European settlement and co-editing (with David Lindberg) an eight-volume Cambridge History of Science. Additional works in progress include co-edited volumes on Science and the Christian Tradition (with David Lindberg), and on Modern Science in National and International Context (with David Livingstone).

 

Anthony B. Pinn, B.A., M.Div., M.A., Ph.D., is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and a Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas. An expert in African American Religion, Black Religious Thought, and Liberation Theology, he is also a well-known as a Humanist, currently serving as the Director of Research at the Institute for Humanist Studies Think Tank. His forthcoming book is The End of God Talk: African American Humanist Theology.

 

Martin Priestman, B.A., Ph.D., is Professor of English at Roehampton University. His research and publishing activities are divided between Romantic Period Literature and Crime Fiction. He currently Co-Directs the Centre of Research in Romanticism, and from 2006-2008 established and directed the Centre for Research in Modern Literature and Culture. He is the author of Romantic Atheism: Poetry and Freethought, 1780-1830 (1999) and ‘Lucretius in Romantic and Victorian Britain’ (2007) and is currently writing a study of Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus, whose materialist poems he has edited. Other publications include Cowper’s Task: Structure and Influence (1983) and his edition of The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction (2003).

 

William F. Schulz, B.A., M.A., D.Min., is President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. He also teahes at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and at Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Dr. Schulz was President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations from 1985-93. He served as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA from 1994-2006. He is the author of two books on human rights, In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All (2001) and Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights (2003).

 

Robert B. Tapp, B.S., Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Religious Studies, and South Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota. He is also Dean Emeritus of The Humanist Institute. He was managing editor at the founding of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, and edited Humanism Today (1996-2006), Multiculturalism (2000), Ecohumanism (2002), and The Fate of Democracy (2006). He is Associate Editor of The Human Prospect: a Neohumanist Perspective, 2011. In 1973 he published Religion among the Unitarian Universalists: Converts in the Stepfathers’ House. Since 1995 he has been teaching with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

 

Benjamin Zeller, B.A., M.T.S., Ph.D. researches religion in America, focusing on religious currents that are new or alternative, including new religions, the religious engagement with science, and the quasi-religious relationship people have with food. His book, Prophets and Protons: New Religious Movements and Science in Late Twentieth-Century America (2010) considers how three new religious movements engaged science and what they reveal of broader culture. Zeller serves as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Coordinator of the Religion and Philosophy Major, and Director of the Honors Program at Brevard College, a private liberal arts college in North Carolina’s Appalachian mountains.

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