Monthly Archives: December 2016

Congratulations to Susan Wabuda, Contributor to Award Winning Volume on the Bible in Early Modern England

9780199686971The History Department congratulates faculty member Susan Wabuda, who contributed the opening essay to a volume awarded the Roland H. Bainton Prize (Reference Category) by the Sixteenth Century Society. The book, The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700 (Oxford University Press, 2015) was edited by Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie, and resulted from an international conference held at the University of York (UK) in 2011.

The 2o11 conference was held to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous King James Bible (first published in 1611), but Wabuda’s essay entitled “‘A Day after Doomsday’: Cranmer and the Bible Translations of 1530s” discussed earlier trends in Bible translation in England. The King James version relied upon these earlier translations, especially because of the work of the great translator William Tyndale (d. 1536). Wabuda reports that one goal of the essay was to understand the problems of making a good Bible translation in English, but she also hopes that it helps to illuminate another issue: that the Bible was originally intended as a teaching tool. Although modern readers might think of a a Bible rendered into English as an opportunity for personal reading and study, this was not the intention of the translators. In fact, King Henry VIII and archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer both believed in withholding the Bible from the people if they would not behave: “Scripture was one of the great treasures of the church, but because it was so sacred (like the sacrament of the altar) it would be withheld from people depending on the circumstances.”

The Roland H. Bainton prize is given in memory of the great Reformation historian who taught at Yale University. Susan Wabuda laments never having met Bainton, who she identifies as one of the first scholars to seriously explore the role of women in the Reformation.

Congratulations once more to Dr. Wabuda and the team behind this great volume!


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History Hosts Samuel Moyn for Human Rights Discussion at Lincoln Center

the_last_utopia_by_samuel_moyn-460x307More than 150 students gathered on November 30, 2016, to have a conversation about the place of human rights in post World War II world with the world’s leading scholar on the subject — professor Samuel Moyn The Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law and Professor of History at Harvard University.  Moyn did not lecture.  After briefly telling the students what drew him to study human rights he engaged them in a dialogue in which our own undergraduates distinguished themselves and our university by asking nuanced sophisticated questions that demonstrated both mastery of Moyn’s work, which they read in preparation for the visit, and command of world’s affair.

moynThe event with the students was followed by a dinner discussion with professor Moyn in which diverse faculty from different departments and both campuses discussed the fundamental challenges of human rights policy and diplomacy such as the articulation of human rights, the distinctions between human rights, civil rights, and social and economic rights, the place of the nation state in promoting and protecting human rights, and the pitfalls of humanitarian intervention. (thanks to Doron Ben Atar for this blog post)

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