Santa Clara Lecture

In 1994, through the generosity of Bannan Institute of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, the Department of Religious Studies of Santa Clara University inaugurated the Santa Clara Lectures.

This series brings to campus leading scholars in theology, offering the University community and the general public an ongoing exposure to debate on the most significant issues of our times. Santa Clara University publishes these lectures and distributes them throughout the United States and internationally.

Diversity as Tradition: Why the Future of Christianity is Looking more Like its Past

by Gary Macy |

2007 Santa Clara Lecture

View published lecture

The history of Christianity has often been presented as monolithic, and this uniformity has been prized as its tradition. Yet historians have long been aware that in fact Christianity has always existed as a community of diversity. The Gregorian Reforms of the eleventh and twelfth centuries successfully created the illusion of a unity that was ultimately unenforceable. It is time to recover diversity as the real tradition of Christianity, a diversity open once again to accepting the best of each Christian community as well as the best of the traditions with which Christians interact. In the streets, in the classrooms and in the churches, this openness already exists. The challenge of Catholic universities is to address this new situation explicitly and theologically in each of those forums.

Dr. Gary Macy, recently appointed John Nobili, S.J. Professor of Theology at Santa Clara University, received both his Bachelor's and his Master's degrees from Marquette University where he specialized in historical and sacramental theology. He earned his doctoral degree in Divinity from Cambridge University in 1978. He has published three books on the history of the Eucharist, Theologies of the Eucharist in the Early Scholastic Period, The Banquet's Wisdom: A Short History of the Theologies of the Lord's Supper and, Treasures from the Storeroom: Essays on Medieval Religion and the Eucharist. In 2002 and 2004, he collaborated with Dr. Bernard Cooke on a two volume series of source material on the history of ordination and women for Scarecrow Press. His latest book with Dr. Cooke, Christian Symbol and Ritual: An Introduction appeared in August of 2005 from Oxford University Press. In 2006, Dr. Macy collaborated with Dr. Orlando Espín in editing the second in a series of books from the Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism at the University of San Diego entitled The Future Of Our Past: Explorations In The Theology Of Tradition, (Orbis Books). Dr. Macy’s most recent book, The Ordination of Women in Early Medieval Europe has just appeared from Oxford University Press.

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