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March 27, 6:30pm

Religious Scholar Will Speak at Carroll University

Cleo McNelly Kearns, a residential fellow in the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Notre Dame, will present "Daughter of Zion: The Virgin Mary in the New Testament," at Carroll University.

The event will be Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Room of the Campus Center, 101 N. East Ave., Waukesha. Sponsored by the religious studies program, it is free and open to the public.

Her book, "Virgin Mary, Monotheism and Sacrifice," argues that the Virgin Mother is a key figure for early Christians in revising and re-establishing the prophetic and priestly order of Israel on new terms. In the gospels of Matthew and Luke, stories about her relationship to her son show a major, although often paradoxical, role. Mary's relationship to sacrifice has profound implications not only for Christian theology, but for later developments in monotheism, including the role of women and gender in creating and sustaining religious identities, the emergence of competing definitions of orthodoxy, and the institution in some traditions of a masculine priesthood and religious hierarchy.

Kearns is an independent scholar in the fields of modern literature, philosophy of religion and comparative theology. She is an adjunct faculty member in the departments of English and Medieval and Renaissance Studies at New York University. She has published extensively on issues in continental philosophy and feminist theory and anthropology.

She also authored "T. S. Eliot and Indic Traditions: A Study in Poetry and Belief." Kearns serves on the editorial board of the journal "Literature and Theology," and has contributed reviews and essays to a range of publications, from "History of Religions" to the "Oxford Handbook on Literature and Theology." Her recent articles were published in "Religion and Literature" and "Journal of Hindu Studies."

Kearns has held fellowships from the Princeton Center for the Study of Religion and the Center of Theological Inquiry, and is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Existential and Phenomenological Philosophy, the Dante Society of America, the Society of Biblical Theologians and the American Theological Society. She has served on a number of committees for the American Academy of Religion and as co-chair of its Theology and Continental Philosophy group. She also has taught at Rutgers University and Princeton Theological Seminary.

For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Fisher, assistant professor of religious studies, at 262.524.7292 or


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