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Named after the world-renowned Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection held at Pitts Theology Library, Kessler Conversations (30-45 mins) offer opportunities for the general public to learn about the events in Europe the 16th century and to consider what they may tell us about the issues facing our communities. Conversations in a given academic semester focus on a single contemporary theme and trace it back to the Reformers. These conversations are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The theme of the Spring 2021 conversations is “Blessed are the Poor: Wealth and Poverty in the 16th and 21st Centuries.”

This March, Esther Chung-Kim, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of The Gould Center of Humanities at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, joins Dr. Richard Adams in a conversation titled "Care of the Poor During the Reformation."

During the Reformation, religious leaders served as catalysts, organizers, stabilizers, and consolidators of poor relief programs to alleviate poverty. Although once in line with the religious piety, voluntary poverty was no longer a spiritual virtue for many religious reformers. As religious options multiplied within Christianity, one’s understanding of community would determine the boundaries, albeit contested and sometimes fluid, of responsible poor relief.

Professor Chung-Kim, since her Ph. D. at Duke University, has focused her research on the problem of authority, biblical interpretation during the Reformation, and poor relief reform. She has published 'Inventing Authority: Use of the Church Fathers in Reformation Debates over the Eucharist' (2011), 'Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Acts' (2014) and several articles related to poverty, wealth, and social change. Her upcoming book, 'Economics of Faith: Reforming Poor Relief in Early Modern Europe' will be coming out in June 2021.
  • When: Eastern Time (US & Canada)
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Price: Free
  • Language: English
  • Who can attend? Everyone
  • Dial-in available? (listen only): Not available.
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