'Christian Identity and Israel' subject of Nov. 5 Knoll Lecture

Released on 10/20/2009, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009

WHERE: Van Brunt Visitors Center, 313 N. 13th Street

Lincoln, Neb., October 20th, 2009 —
Achsah Guibbory
Achsah Guibbory
Jeremy Taylor,
Jeremy Taylor, "The Psalter of David," fifth edition (1655); first published in 1644 (book illustration)
John Williams,
John Williams, "Great Britain's Salomon" (1625), (book illustration)

Achsah Guibbory (Ah-suh, ghi-BOR-ree), Ann Whitney Olin professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, will give the 2009-10 Robert E. Knoll Lecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Her talk, "Christian Identity and Israel: The Case of 17th-century England," will be 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Van Brunt Visitors Center, 313 N. 13th St. The event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a dessert reception.

Guibbory will explore the competing claims of English political and religious groups to be the true descendants of God's chosen people. As England grew more polarized in the years leading to its Civil War, many Puritans and Anglicans, Parliamentarians and Royalists, along with radical "Levellers" and religious sects -- all defined themselves in terms drawn from the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Old Testament. In the process, they raised the question: who and what constitutes the "true Israel?"

The lecture will consider several historical and literary figures, including King James I, Oliver Cromwell and John Milton, but will focus mostly on the Civil War period -- on the eccentric men and women who claimed to be "biblical prophets" warning English Israel of doom, and the "Leveller" Gerrard Winstanley's radical communist proposals, based on his re-reading of the Hebrew Bible.

Guibbory's talk is taken from her recently completed book, "Christian Identity, Jews, and Israel in 17th-Century England," to be published by Oxford University Press. Guibbory earned her B.A. at Indiana University and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles. At Barnard, she teaches courses in Milton, Donne, and Renaissance love poetry; she previously taught at the University of Illinois, where she also served as managing editor for The Journal of English and Germanic Philology.

She is a recipient of many honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008), a National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship (2001-02), and the Harriet and Charles Luckman Undergraduate Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Illinois (1995). She has served as president of the Milton Society of America and the John Donne Society.

In addition to numerous articles on early modern literature and culture, she has published several books, including "The Map of Time: 17th-Century English Literature and Ideas of Pattern in History" (1986), "Ceremony and Community from Herbert to Milton: Literature, Religion and Cultural Conflict in 17th-Century English Literature" (1998; paper 2006), and "The Cambridge Companion to John Donne" (2006).

Guibbory's appearance is sponsored by UNL' English Department Committee on Research and Teaching, Center for Judaic Studies, Department of Classics and Religious Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, and is made possible by the Robert E. Knoll Lecture Series Fund.

The Knoll Lecture Series was founded to honor the life-long commitment to the study and teaching of English and American literature by the late UNL English professor. The series presents annual lectures by distinguished visiting scholars addressing topics of interest to faculty, undergraduate students, and members of the public who have an interest in literature.