King Lecture brings Jewett to Washburn

Whitney Jones

Once a year the philosophy department hosts the Thomas L. King Lecture for Washburn students, faculty and community. This year it will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10 in the Washburn Room of the Memorial Union. Admission is free.

Robert Jewett will present and will speak about “Jesus, Captain America and Barack Obama: The Superhero Myth in Contemporary America.” The presentation explores the dangers of zealous religious nationalism.

“We as Americans feel we are placed here to save the world and get involved all over. He asks how is that working out for us,” said Barry Crawford, a philosophy instructor at Washburn University.

Jewett has extensively researched the issue and looks at it from many perspectives. He asks what roles America plays on a global scale and the trouble that it causes into.

He also published numerous books involving the New Testament and is a professor of New Testament at Garrett-Evangelical Theology Seminary.

While the King Lectures are funded by a donation from First Congregational Church of Topeka in memory of Thomas L. King, people from a variety of backgrounds can enjoy the lectures. They are designed to enhance the understanding of religion within the context of the humanities.

“The topics cross over into history, sociology, and other important subjects. It is not just religion. He isn’t trying to push his views on anyone,” said Dena Anson, director of University Relations.

Each year the turnout for these lectures has been wide ranging. As the event becomes more widely recognized, many community members choose to attend. The audience size is dependent on the speaker, and can range from 200 to 1,000 members.     

“Last year Mr. Jewett contacted us knowing he would be near at the time of the lecture and wanted to speak. He had heard of it and wanted to be a part,” said Crawford.

This year marks the 30th anniversary for the lectures, whose focus changes from year to year. The philosophy department hopes that they will continue being able to host them for at least another 30 years.