Plenary Speakers

AM Materials:

Friday, January 4, 9-10:30am – SCE Plenary

Lawrence Joseph, the Tinnelly Professor Law at St. John’s University in New York, is the author of six well-regarded books of poetry in addition to his literary criticism and his law articles.  He is the grandson of Lebanese and Syrian Catholics who were among the first Arab immigrants to Detroit.  Joseph was born in Detroit and witnessed the 1967 Detroit riots.  His poetry is notable among contemporary lyrical verse for its muscular emphasis on issues of social justice.  His most recent collection of poems is So Where Are We? (2017), which follows Into It (2006).  Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973-1993 (2005) gathers his first three books of poems into one volume.  David Orr, writing for the New York Times, included So Where Are We? in his list of the ten best books of poetry published in 2017.  Joseph has been invited to speak to us about his work at the intersection of poetry, law, and social justice.  For a more complete biographical summary and his contact information, see his faculty page at St. John’s University School of Law:


Friday, January 4, 2-3:30pm – SSME Plenary



Saturday, January 5, 4-5:30pm – SCE Plenary

David Bentley Hart is the author of The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth (2003).  His examination of the problem of evil in The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? (2005) is perhaps more widely known.  He has published eleven books, most recently The Experience of God (2013), The Hidden and the Manifest: Essays in Theology and Metaphysics (2017), and The New Testament: A Translation (2017).  The Yale University Press website says of The Experience of God: “In doing so [in clarifying how the word ‘God’ functions in the world’s great theistic faiths], he plumbs the depths of humanity’s experience of the world as powerful evidence for the reality of God and captures the beauty and poetry of traditional reflection upon the divine.”  He is also the author of something in the neighborhood of 170 scholarly articles.  He has been invited to address us concerning the practical responses that follow from theological convictions regarding the ontological standing of beauty.  Some additional biographical information is available at