Prof. Velunta, who is Associate Professor of New Testament and Cultural Studies at Union Theological Seminary in Cabite, in the Philippines, will give a Nostra Aetate presentation at St. Edward’s University, on May 1 (Tuesday!) at 7:30 pm in Fleck 305.
Last year, Prof. Velunta, accompanied by some of his students, spoke with St. Edward’s undergraduates in RELS 2321, Introduction of the Hebrew Bible about the study of Scripture in the Philippines. The only catch? Prof. Velunta and his studies spoke to the St. Edward’s community from Manila (via Skype), where it was almost midnight his time. Students learned about reading Scripture mindful of culture and were challenged by Prof. Velunta to think about biblical texts in new ways. As a way to express appreciation to Prof. Velunta and to share what they had learned from him, students in RELS 2321 undertook a hermeneutical exercise where they reflected on their own background and culture and shared with Prof. Velunta their reading of a biblical text. Our connection with Prof. Velunta has the opportunity to be deepened this week, as this Tuesday, Prof. Velunta will give a presentation at our campus entitled: “Beating Swords into Ploughshares: Reading the Bible as Canaanites by Reading the Bible inside a Jeepney.”
What is a “Jeepney”? As American troops departed from the Philippines at the end of the Second World War, surplus jeeps were sold or given to the Filipinos. The jeeps were reconfigured then to serve as vehicles for public transportation (such a reconfigured and decorated vehicle became known as the “Jeepney”). Prof. Velunta’s approach to reading Scripture takes account of his community’s past and present and the Jeepney serves as a symbol for how Filipinos have “beat swords into ploughshares,” and have transformed “weapons of destruction into instruments of celebration.”
While Prof. Velunta enjoys technology—he hosts a blog entitled “Jeepney Hermeneutics” and uses videoconferencing—he will be visiting Austin and our campus this Tuesday in person! Prof. Velunta is a visiting scholar at Pacific School of Religion, GTU Berkeley and given now his proximity to Texas, we are grateful for the opportunity to meet Prof. Velunta in person and to follow up on our earlier conversations.
Prof. Velunta studied at Union Theological Seminary, Princeton University, and Vanderbilt. Prof. Velunta has authored numerous studies and his works include “Reading Philemon inside a Jeepney”; “A Filipino Reading of Matthew”; and “Ek Pisteôs Eis Pistin and the Filipinos’ Sense of Indebtedness.” His works have been published by Scholar's Press, Abingdon Press, and T&T Clark and Prof. Velunta is editor for The Gospel of Matthew: a Contextual Introduction for Group Study published by Abingdon Press in 2003.
The Nostra Aetate Lecture explores the interreligious values reflected in the groundbreaking Vatican II (1965) document of the same name, which expressed a commitment to dialogue and understanding among diverse faith traditions.
Nostra Aetate Lecture: “Beating Swords into Ploughshares: Reading the Bible as Canaanites by Reading the Bible inside a Jeepney.”
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
7:30 p.m., Fleck Hall 305