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W&L's Richard Marks to Deliver His Inaugural Lecture Marking Appointment as Jessie Ball duPont Professor

Richard G. Marks, professor of religion at Washington and Lee University, will give his inaugural lecture marking his appointment as the Jessie Ball duPont Professor on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of his lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “The Other’s Religion: How Medieval Jews Imagined Hinduism.”

Marks will analyze views of Hinduism held by four medieval Jewish authors. These views reflect ideas circulating in the Muslim culture in which they lived, biblical concepts of history, Aristotelian science and philosophy, and each author’s own perception and purposes. The lecture will raise questions about what religion is and how we go about comparing other people’s religions with our own.

Marks joined the W&L faculty in 1984. He received his B.A. in liberal arts from Raymond College, University of the Pacific, his M.A. in Judaic studies from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles and his Ph.D. in Jewish history (secondary concentration in the history of religions) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

His writings include “Jacob Sapir’s Journey through Southern India in 1860: Four Chapters on Indian Life from Even Sapir, Translated, Annotated and Introduced,” in “Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies,” (2013); “Hinduism, Torah and Travel: Jacob Sapir in India,” in “Shofar” (Winter 2012); “Letters to a Buddhist Jew,” in “Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies,” (2007); and “The Image of Bar Kokhba in Traditional Jewish Literature: False Messiah and National Hero,” (Penn State Press, 1994).

Marks’ primary area of scholarship is Jewish intellectual history. In addition, Marks has taught courses at W&L in God and the Holocaust, Perspectives on Death and Dying, Travel and Transformation, Judaism, Modern Jewish Literature in Translation and Introduction to Religion, Introduction to Islam and Judaism and Introduction to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, among others.

The Jessie Ball duPont Professorship in Religion was established in 1983 by the Jessie Ball duPont Religious, Charitable and Educational Fund in memory of duPont and in recognition of her support of higher education.