Prof. Nasrallah will be Presenting Huron’s 2021 R. T. Orr Lecture
I have always been interested in and involved with Christian and religious studies.
Travelling to Huron from Yale University, where she is Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation and Professor of Religious Studies at the School of Divinity and Department of Religious Studies, Prof. Nasrallah will present a lecture entitled ‘Seeking Justice: The Letters of Paul and Operations of Power’.
Going back to the earliest Christ-followers in Roman Corinth, Prof. Nasrallah says her lecture “will be looking at historical evidence about justice with a text that is now considered Scripture and other texts that show how justice was adjudicated.” She promises to present examples of justice from “unexpected” sources including “so-called ‘magical texts’”.
“I’m really excited to be welcoming Prof. Nasrallah to Huron as this year’s Orr Lecturer. Her research helps us to see how Paul’s letters addressed the very real concerns and hopes of everyday folk in his world – concerns and hopes for justice,” says Dr. Dan Smith, Huron’s Dean of Theology.
Justice, or the lack thereof, has been a theme of Prof. Nasrallah’s life. The majority of the first six years of Prof. Laura Nasrallah’s childhood was spent in Beirut, Lebanon where she was surrounded by not only her immediate family, but also a loving extended family. That all changed when her immediate family was evacuated due to the Lebanese Civil War.
At the time, she didn’t understand why her family had to leave but she did know that religion played a part. “As a child, I knew people were divided over issues of politics and religion,” she says. “I knew that religion was the basis of some violence and this fuelled my curiosity in later years.”
Growing up in a conservative Protestant family “where the Bible was the basis of life”, Prof. Nasrallah says this natural curiosity drew her to Christian and religious studies which she combined with her interest in feminism and archaeology.
Her lecture, she says, will examine the idea of justice and how, in ancient times, justice was administered differently if one was low-income, a woman or a slave, ancient themes that still resonate today.
Prof. Nasrallah says she hopes people take away from the lecture a sense of wonder and surprise at the ancient world and that attendees will “question when, in their every day lives, they are adjudicating and making decisions about people who are ‘other’ from us.”
The 2021 R. T. Orr Lecture will be presented Monday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. both in-person at Huron and virtually over Zoom. For more information and to register please visit The R. T. Orr Lecture webpage.