David Weaver-Zercher is the guest lecturer for the 2017-18 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies.
Public Lecture | March 1 at 7:30 PM | Conrad Grebel University College
“One Generation Away: Martyrs Mirror and the Survival of Anabaptist Christianity”
Anabaptists have long worried that they won’t succeed in passing their faith to the next generation. Why then regale their teenagers with stories that correlate Anabaptist faith with social shame and physical torture? Thieleman van Braght’s seventeenth-century martyrology, Martyrs Mirror (originally called The Bloody Theatre) has been put to many uses over the years, but few have been as common as the spiritual formation and education of young adults. This lecture will explore the longstanding nexus between Martyrs Mirror and Anabaptist youth culture in both traditional and more assimilated Anabaptist communities.
Panel Discussion | March 2 at 7:30 PM | Conrad Grebel University College
“Mennonites and the Media: Telling Mennonite Stories Today”
What is it like to be a creator of Mennonite media content today? What are the challenges of telling Mennonite stories? Who gets to tell Mennonite stories? How do we respond when the “non-Mennonite media” gets it “wrong”?
Panel members include Sam Steiner, Sherri Klassen, Johnny Wideman, and Katie Steckly.
David is currently a professor of American religious history at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. His writing is focused on portrayals of the Amish from an outsider's perspective. His publications include, The Amish in the American Imagination (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); Writing the Amish: The Worlds of John A. Hostetler (Penn State University Press, 2005); and a coedited volume with Diane Zimmerman Umble, The Amish and the Media (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).
David Weaver-Zercher is distinguished professor of American religious history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He has published widely on various aspects of Amish and Mennonite life, with a particular interest in representational issues. His books on Amish life include The Amish in the American Imagination (2001); Writing the Amish: The Worlds of John A. Hostetler (2005); The Amish and the Media (with Diane Zimmerman Umble, 2008); and Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy (with Donald Kraybill and Steven Nolt, 2007). His most recent book, published in 2016, is Martyrs Mirror: A Social History.
Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies
The Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies were established in 2000 through the generosity of Lester Bechtel. As a devoted churchman with an active interest in Mennonite history, Lester’s dream was to make the academic world of research and study accessible to a broader constituency and to build bridges of understanding between the academy and the church. This lecture series provides a forum through which the core meaning and values of the Anabaptist-Mennonite faith and heritage might be communicated to a diverse audience and be kept relevant and connected to the rapidly changing world of our day.