York scholars in major religious conference

Over 8,000 religious scholars from around the world are meeting in Toronto Nov. 23-26 at the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and The Society of Biblical Literature. York has its fair share of presenters at the meetings, many of whom are considered world experts in their fields. In fact, two of the panels of the AAR conference are in “prime time” on Nov. 24.

Each year the events attract prestigious academics, including many from bibilical and archeological groups not closely affiliated with the AAR, largely because of the calibre of presenters and the timeliness of the topics.

On Nov. 24, eminent scholar Steve Mason, York”s Canada Research Chair in Cultural Identity and Interaction in the Greco-Roman World, is among the five international scholars at a public session. He is commenting on the authenticity of the ossuary recently damaged en route to the Royal Ontario Museum, believed by some to have once contained the bones of James, brother of Jesus. Also Chair of the conference”s Josephus Seminar, he  is discussing Josephus’ portrait of James.

Marty Locksin, director of the Centre for Jewish Studies, provided the following information about the Nov. 24 prime-time panels:

“The Multi-faceted Judaism of Toronto” – Marty Lockshin, director of the Centre for Jewish Studies, will Chair the session. Papers will be given by Irving Abella, J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry (“When Toronto Jews Became White”); Rina Cohen, Sociology, Faculty of Arts (“Diversity of Routes and Roots: Russian and Israeli Immigrants in Toronto”); Stuart Schoenfeld, Sociology, Glendon (“The Jewish Revival in Downtown Toronto: Twenty Years Later”); and Alex Pomson, Koschitzky Family Chair in Jewish Teacher Education (“Jewish Scholarship in Toronto”).

“Religious Diversity in Toronto” – Two of the papers at this session will be delivered by York faculty members: Jamie S. Scott, Humanities, Faculty of Arts (“An Introduction to the Religious Diversity of Toronto”); and Saroj Chawla of Sociology, Faculty of Arts (“Hindu Family Shrines and Religious Practices in Toronto”). One of the other papers will be delivered by York alumna Carol B. Duncan (“African-Caribbean Aesthetic Representations of the Sacred in Toronto”), who currently teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University.