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Beth Glazier-McDonald, former scholar-in-residence at Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, Pa., and current associate professor of religion at Centre College in Danville, Ky., will speak on “Deception for Deception: Moral Ambiguity in the Biblical Jacob Cycle,” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, in the auditorium of Lafayette’s William E. Simon Center for Economics and Business Administration.

Sponsored by the department of religion and supported by the Lyman Coleman Fund, the talk is free and open to the public.

“The Jacob cycle, the heart of the patriarchal narratives, has moved, intrigued, and inspired generations throughout the millennia,” says Glazier-McDonald, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and biblical literature. “The characters are as real as we ourselves — and as elusive. Seen through different prisms, they continually reveal new facets. The focal point of this lecture is Jacob and the verdict modern biblical scholarship pronounces on him. Is he indeed a deceiver (as his name implies), or is he an ‘innocent man?’”

Glazier-McDonald is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of George Washington University and earned her M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. She served as assistant professor of religious studies at Pennsylvania State University before moving to Centre College in 1988.

Glazier-McDonald has published Malachi, The Divine Messenger: A Critical Reappraisal (1987) and a variety of articles on biblical prophets in The Women’s Bible Commentary (1992) and scholarly journals. Glazier-McDonald was a contributing author to Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible. She served as a scholar-in-residence and guest speaker at Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, Ky., giving a series of lectures on topics including wisdom literature of the Bible, the tower of Babel story, and the Book of Job.

Recently Glazier-McDonald and fellow Centre College professor Thomas McCollough co-authored scholarly articles in Atiqot and The Journal of Roman Archaeology. The articles evaluate and discuss rare amulets, estimated to be around 2000 years old, unearthed by McCollough and his students on an archaeological team at Sepphoris in Israel.

Glazier-McDonald has said that she wants her students to understand the “exquisite tension” of Bible stories. In her teaching, she tries to root Biblical passages in their original context.

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