Woman teaching class

Discovery Adult Education

Freedom and Interpretation: Exodus and the Canaanites

September 24–October 22

In the first session of the fall season, we’ll explore the biblical books of Exodus and Joshua and consider how these narratives of freedom for God’s people can be understood in the context of the ancient Near East. In conversation with scholars and clergy, we will also consider how these texts have shaped both African American and Indigenous interpretations of the Bible in the United States.

September 24: Considering Scripture Through Different Perspectives

Join us for a roundtable discussion as we prepare to explore the books of Exodus and Joshua. 

October 1 and October 8: The Exodus and African American Interpretations

Headshot for The Reverend Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D.

with the Rev. Judy Fentress-Williams, Ph.D.

Judy Fentress-Williams is in bi-vocational ministry in Alexandria, VA as the Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary and the Senior Assistant to the Pastor for Teaching and Preaching at the Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Dr. Fentress-Williams received her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Yale University in 1999. She earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and her A.B. in English from Princeton University with certificates in African-American Studies and American Studies.

Prior to her appointment at Virginia Theological Seminary in 2002, she was a member of the faculty at Hartford Seminary as a Professor of Hebrew Bible. There she was also the director of the Black Ministries Program, a certificate program designed to meet the needs of African-American clergy and laity in the greater Hartford area. Today, the Rev. Dr. Fentress-Williams lives at the intersection of the church and the academy. In addition to her tenured teaching position at Virginia Theological Seminary, she works with the Christian Life Institute, Ministers in Training programs and teaches Bible Study at Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Dr. Fentress-Williams’ published work reflects her interest in a literary approach that highlights the multiple voices in scripture. She recently published a commentary on the book of Ruth for the Abingdon Old Testament Commentary Series and was a contributor and Old Testament Editor for the CEB Women’s Bible. Published articles include, “Location, Location, Location: Tamar in the Joseph Cycle,” in Bakhtin and Genre, “Exodus” in the Africana Bible, “Esther” in the Fortress Old Testament Commentary and “The Writings” in the Fortress Companion to the Old Testament Introduction. Her book entitled, Holy Imagination: A Literary Guide to the Bible, was published March 2021. She is a member of the Society for Biblical Literature and serves on the Advisory Board for Religious Life at Princeton University.

Judy is married to Kevin Williams, M.D., and they are the proud parents of Samantha and Jacob.

October 15: Indigenous Readings of the Bible and the Book of Joshua

Chris Hoklotubbe headshot

with Dr. T. Christopher Hoklotubbe (Choctaw), Assistant Professor of Religion at Cornell College

At 9am on October 15, Dr. Hoklotubbe will also lead a presentation on Indigenous Readings of the Apostle Paul. 

T. Christopher Hoklotubbe (hawk-low-tub-ee) is a scholar of the New Testament and Early Christianity and holds a joint appointment as the assistant professor of Classics at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and the Director of Graduate Studies at NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community. NAIITS is proud to be the first Indigenous designed, developed, and delivered seminary to offer theological education to a global student body. Chris is of mixed-Indigenous and settler ancestry, and a proud member of the Choctaw Nation. He is the author of Civilized Piety: The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire, published with Baylor University press and winner of the international Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise. Chris has also written articles on early Christianity, the Pastoral Epistles, and Indigenous interpretations of the Bible. Currently he is co-writing a book under contract with InterVarsity Press with Cree First Nation New Testament scholar Danny Zacharias, tentatively entitled, Reading the Bible on Turtle Island: North American Indigenous Interpretations of the Bible. This book builds on their two years of research, travel, and interviews with Indigenous Christians leaders funded by the Louisville Institute, and should be completed by the summer of 2024. He is the son of Tom and Robin in Southern California, lucky husband to Stephanie, and proud father to Claire and Emily. 

October 22: An Exploration of the Book of Joshua's Context and Reception History 

Daniel Hawk Headshot

with Dr. L. Daniel Hawk, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary

L. Daniel Hawk (Ph.D., Emory University) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio, and an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. He specializes in the study of biblical narrative, with an interest in the ways that the narrative literature addresses ethnic identity, violence, and religious sentiment. He explores the weaving together of these threads in three volumes on the book of Joshua, the premier biblical example of divinely-authorized violence, and most recently, as part of a larger theological study (The Violence of the Biblical God, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2019). He is presently at work on a book that presents Joshua as a vital resource for Christian conversation on the American colonial project and the national mythology of Manifest Destiny.

The Episcopal Church and Indigenous Voices

October 29–November 19 (except November 5)

Join noted clergy and Indigenous scholars for a three-week series exploring the historical and contemporary relationship between The Episcopal Church and Indigenous communities.

October 29: The Episcopal Church and Indigenous Communities

Brad Hauff headshot

with the the Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff (Oglala Sioux), Episcopal Church Missioner for Indigenous Ministries

The Reverend Dr. Bradley S. Hauff is the Indigenous Missioner for the Episcopal Church, a member of the Presiding Bishop’s staff.  He is originally from South Dakota; born in Sioux Falls and raised in Rapid City, and he is enrolled with the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Lakota) of Pine Ridge, as were both of his parents.  He has been an active Episcopal priest for over 30 years and has served congregations in the dioceses of South Dakota, Minnesota, Florida and Pennsylvania.  He has written articles and made numerous presentations around the country on Native American issues.

November 12: Perspectives on the Church in Navajoland

with the Rt. Rev. David Bailey, Bishop of Navajoland (retired)

November 19: Considering Indigenous Communities and the Doctrine of Discovery

Sarah Augustine headshot

with Sarah Augustine (Pueblo (Tewa)), author of The Land Is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery

Sarah Augustine is the Executive Director of the Coalition to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery, a national coalition with global reach. From 2007-2022 she directed a Dispute Resolution Center in Central Washington. She has served on the faculty at Heritage University, Central Washington University and Yakima Valley College, and has served as Adjunct faculty at Goshen College.

Sarah received a BA in Sociology and Psychology (1996) and an MA in Whole Systems Design with an emphasis in group conflict transformation (2006). She has represented the interests of Indigenous community partners to their own governments, the Inter-American development bank, the United Nations, the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, The World Council of Churches, the World Health Organization, and a host of other international actors including corporate interests. In 1012 she co-drafted the World Council of Churches (WCC) Statement on the Doctrine of Discovery and its Enduring Impact on Indigenous Peoples. She co-wrote the WCC 2013 Assembly Minute on Indigenous Peoples, and worked with an international coalition of Indigenous faith leaders to create the WCC’s Indigenous Peoples Program. She employs shuttle diplomacy and community-based participatory action to de-escalate conflict and establish common ground between communities and external interests. In addition to her work with Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, Sarah has worked as an organizational consultant in strategic planning, facilitation, and mediation. Sarah, a senior mediator, has been a mediating for twenty years.

Sarah served as the Chair of the Washington State Redistricting Commission in 2021-22, shepherding the largest group outreach effort in Washington history and establishing a Tribal Consultation Policy. She was appointed by the Washington State Supreme Court to the Office of Civil Legal Aid Oversight Committee in 2018, where she served for five years, in the role of chair from 2021-2023. At the invitation of the Supreme Court, she convened a working group to review the Appellate rules for indigent residents in 2022.     

Sarah has written for Sojourners, Anabaptist Witness, Geez Magazine, The Mennonite, Response Magazine, Leader Magazine, and is a regular columnist for Anabaptist World.  With coalition co-founder Sheri Hostettler, she co-hosts the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Podcast.  Sarah is the Author of The Land is Not Empty (Herald Press, 2021).

Sarah Lives with her husband, Dan Peplow, and their son in Central Washington.

New Perspectives on Women in the Bible

December 3–17 

The Rev. Dr. Julie Faith Parker leads us in an exploration of her new book, Eve Isn’t Evil: Feminist Readings of the Bible to Upend Our Assumptions. Intertwining academic analysis and theological insight with personal stories drawn from her own life, Dr. Parker’s work helps us consider the stories of women in the Bible in a new way.


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