We are delighted to welcome David Frankfurter,  Professor of Religion and Aurelio Chair in the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University, and chair of the Department of Religion, as the AAR/SBL Plenary Speaker.   

Professor Frankfurter’s talk is “The Devil is in the Details: On the Moral Imperative and Perverse Thrill in Examining Acts of Evil”

A scholar of ancient Mediterranean religions with specialties in Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature, magical texts, popular religion, and Egypt in the Roman and late antique periods, David Frankfurter’s particular interests revolve around theoretical issues like the place of magic in religion, the relationship of religion and violence, the nature of Christianization, and the representation of evil in culture.   He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study (1993-95) and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study (2007-8), as well as research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1992) and the Guggenheim Foundation (2007-8).   His 2006 book Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History (Princeton University Press), on the ways that cultures and religious movements envision evil as an active, personified force, received the American Academy of Religion’s Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion (Analytic-Descriptive category).



For our other plenary session, we are pleased to honor John O’Keefe, Professor of Theology and director of the Center for Catholic Thought at Creighton University, as the 2016 Rocky Mountain/Great Plains Regional Senior Scholar.

Professor O’Keefe’s talk is “Augustine and the Anthropocene”

John O’Keefe’s past academic research has focused on the history and theology of ancient Christianity, especially in the area of ancient interpretation of the Bible.  He is currently interested in environmental theology and rethinking Christian attitudes toward nature. O’Keefe is also a documentary filmmaker. Since 2010 he has produced or directed five films, several of which have won national awards.  O’Keefe received his MTS from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 1987, and his MA and Ph.D. in Early Christian Studies from The Catholic University of America in 1990 and 1993. He joined the faculty of Creighton University in 1992.  O'Keefe is married and has four grown children.