Ohio Wesleyan Religion Department to Host Christian Art, Theology Scholar

Vanderbilt University Professor to Discuss Ancient African Christianity
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Robin Jensen, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University)

Robin Jensen, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University)

DELAWARE, Ohio – Robin Jensen, Ph.D., the Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship at Vanderbilt University, will discuss “Ritual Spaces and Holy Places: The Archaeological Evidence for Ancient African Christianity” at 7:30 p.m. April 8 in Benes Room B of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. The event is free and open to the public.

Jensen teaches courses in both the Department of the History of Art and the Divinity School at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt. Most of her research and writing focuses on interpretation of early Christian art and architecture in light of their theological significance and practical contexts.

As part of an interdisciplinary team of scholars, Jensen also has concentrated on the Christian art, architecture, and religion of Roman North Africa. Her courses include introductions to Jewish and Christian pictorial hermeneutics; visual representations of God, the Trinity, Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints; the religious art of Late Antiquity, and early African Christianity.

Jensen’s latest book, “The Practice of Christianity in Roman Africa,” was written with her husband, Patout Burns, and is scheduled to be published in October. Other recent books include “Living Water: Images, Symbols, and Settings of Early Christian Baptism” (Brill, 2011) and “Baptismal Imagery in Early Christianity” (Baker Academic, 2012). She also was a contributing editor to “Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art” (Yale, 2008), and co-editor of “Visual Theology” (Liturgical Press, 2010).

This presentation is Ohio Wesleyan’s 2013 Merrick Lecture. The lecture series was founded by Frederick Merrick, a professor and former president of the university. Each year’s lecture discusses an aspect of “experimental and practical religion” and, over the course of the past century, has reflected the dynamic growth and change of the academic study of religion. Past lecturers have included Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Hazel Barnes, and Martin Marty. The Merrick Lecture is the university’s oldest running lecture series.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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