Candler's McDonald Lectures to explore option for the poor, Christian interpretation of the border

By Claire Asbury Lennox | Jan. 23, 2020

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Roberto S. Goizueta has been named one of the 10 most influential Hispanic American educators, pastors and theologians by The National Catholic Reporter. He is known for his research and teaching on Christology, theology and culture, liberation theology and Latino/a theology. Photo courtesy of Boston College

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Candler School of Theology welcomes Roberto S. Goizueta as the 2019-2020 distinguished visiting professor in the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture. Goizueta is the Margaret O’Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology Emeritus at Boston College. 

As holder of the McDonald Chair, Goizueta will teach a course on Spirituality of Liberation and present two public lectures during the semester, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, and Tuesday, March 31. The lectures are free and open to the public, but registration is required. 

Wednesday, Feb. 12: “In Christ: Salvation, Deification and the Option for the Poor”  
11 a.m., Candler School of Theology, Room 252

For centuries, many Christian believers and theologians have understood salvation as deification (“theosis”): that is, as a participation in the divine life itself. Though also having deep biblical roots, the preferential option for the poor and the idea of giving preference to the poor and powerless is a more recent, influential theological concept. This lecture will argue that viewing deification and the option for the poor as integrally related concepts can illuminate the fundamental significance of each for Christian faith. That integral relationship is, in turn, made fully manifest in the crucified and risen Christ. Register by 5 p.m. Feb. 4.

Tuesday, March 31: “Christ on the Border: Retrieving a Dangerous Memory”
4 p.m., Candler School of Theology, Room 360 

This lecture will suggest that the border is a privileged place for encountering the Gospel and hearing Christ’s liberating message. In the U.S. context, such an understanding of the border is made difficult by a history marked from the beginning by a “frontier mentality.” After reflecting on the influence of such a frontier mentality for our understanding of the border, this lecture will then suggest the outlines of a Christian interpretation of the border. Register by 5 p.m. March 23. 

Goizueta earned his PhD and MA in systematic theology from Marquette University and his BA from Yale University. He is past president of the Catholic Society of America and the academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States, and serves on the board of directors of Candler's Aquinas Center of Theology.

In 2012, Goizueta won the Yves Congar Award for theological excellence. He has been named one of the 10 most influential Hispanic American educators, pastors and theologians by The National Catholic Reporter. He is known for his research and teaching on Christology, theology and culture, liberation theology and Latino/a theology.

About the McDonald Chair

The Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture is supported by gifts from the McDonald Agape Foundation, founded by Alonzo L. McDonald, a longtime trustee of Emory. The McDonald Agape Foundation “supports lectures and other public presentations that deal creatively and imaginatively with the person and teachings of Jesus as they shape and form culture.”

Recipients are given a distinguished visiting professorship, in which they speak and teach in the focused area of Jesus’s effect on culture and conversely, culture’s shaping of the figure of Jesus. 

Past McDonald chair lecturers include Judge John T. Noonan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; composer Alice Parker; art historian Herbert Kessler; historian and documentary filmmaker Randall Balmer; author James Carroll; Episcopal priest and bestselling author Barbara Brown Taylor; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Garry Wills; Jesuit priest and film professor Lloyd Baugh; scholar David H. Kelsey; scholar David F. Ford; and scholar Walter Earl Fluker, among others. View a full list of past chairs.