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16th Annual Bishop E.T. Dixon Lecture

It’s a Conversation

Bishop Dixon Lecture


The speakers are Dr. James Kraft, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Huston-Tillotson University and Dr. Herbert Marbury, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East.

Why is Scripture Still Relevant After 2, 500 years?

Given that the stories and wisdom of the Bible were written for a specific people confronting specific problems starting around 2500 years ago, how can they have relevance and authority for us today? From one view, world-renowned Bible scholar of Vanderbilt University, Dr. Herbert Marbury answers this question by pointing to the fact that these stories and wisdom give African Americans and others identity and a way of making sense of the world. Because humans are made in the image of God, these stories and wisdom can transcend our realities pointing to a God whose identity is essentially unfolding in the histories and strivings of humans. From a second view, philosopher of religion and scholar of knowledge, Dr. James Kraft answers this question with deep appreciation of scripture but also some skepticism about the human ability to know God through scripture. Because humans have extensively shaped scripture—notably with an editor(s) 2500 years ago bringing together sometimes challenging different descriptions of the stories and wisdom, and notably with Matthew and Luke modifying later the gospel of Mark sometimes to emphasize their own understanding of Jesus—it becomes sometimes hard to know which parts of scriptures express the views of God versus the views of humans. From a third view, you, the audience, express your own understanding of the relevance of scripture today, and we hope to learn from each other.

Bishop E.T. Dixon, for which the lecture is named, is one of two HT graduates to receive “bishop” status.  He graduated magna cum laude from what was Samuel Huston College in 1943 before earning a degree from Drew Theological Seminary. He served the church and community in numerous positions while establishing innovative programs before and after becoming president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He retired in 1992 and died in 1996. Huston-Tillotson is affiliated with The United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, and offers a minor in religious studies.

The lecture is free and open to the public virtually.  For more information, contact Rev. Donald E. Brewington, University Chaplain, 512.505.3054, or