April 26, 2007
Two professors and five students from Morningside College attended the Upper Midwest regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) held April 13-14, at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
Dr. Bruce David Forbes, professor and chair of religious studies, presented his paper “Christmas: Early Methodism’s Missing Holiday” during the session “Religions in North America.” The paper examined the historical reasons why early Methodists deemphasized Christmas and explained how they later embraced the holiday beginning in the mid-1800s.
Forbes also presided over the session “More Religion in North America.” During the meeting, Forbes was elected to serve a two-year term as president of the Upper Midwest Region of the AAR. He has served for the past two years as vice-president of the organization.
Morningside College student Casandra Peck (right) , a senior from Scribner, Neb., presented her paper “The Role of Human Sacrifice in the Spanish Conquest of the Aztecs” during the undergraduate session “Issues of Diversity.”
Other attendees included Dr. Shelley Wiley, visiting assistant professor of religion, and students Jonathan Green of Lone Tree, Iowa; Brian Hamilton of Spencer, Iowa; Cheryl Johansen of South Sioux City, Neb.; and Luke Sorensen of Essex, Iowa.
Founded in 1909, the AAR is the world's largest association of scholars of religion. The organization promotes research, publishing, and teaching about religion in academia. The Upper Midwest Region consists of members who reside in Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Saskatchewan in Canada, and in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
The Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) supports the critical investigation of the Bible and its cultural contexts. Founded in 1880, the society provides resources for those interested in the religions, history, literature, and culture of the ancient Near Eastern world.
Forbes joined the faculty at Morningside in 1978 and also is an adjunct professor at Augsburg College’s Weekend College in Minneapolis, Minn. He holds a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Morningside College, a master's of theology degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and a doctorate in history of American Christianity from Princeton Theological Seminary in N.J. He is an ordained minister with the United Methodist Church.
Wiley has been at Morningside since 2004. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas, and a doctorate from Northwestern University’s Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.