Bingham assumes post as associate dean
The Biblical and Theological Studies Department welcomed its new associate dean, Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham, in July.
Dr. Bingham’s areas of specialization include patristic theology, history of the reception of the Bible, history of biblical interpretation, second-century Christianity, and Irenaeus. He brings extensive intercultural experience to his role, having lived in Venezuela, Madagascar, Thailand, Argentina, Qatar, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Italy.
According to Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies Dr. Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Dr. Bingham understands the needs of both faculty and students.
“He speaks fluently the language of both biblical scholars and theologians, and of both undergraduate and graduate students. He will be able to create vision, encourage his colleagues, represent Wheaton well in the evangelical world, and lead the department to a position of prominence in it.”
Dr. Bingham is a graduate and former department chair and professor of theological studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. He previously taught at Criswell College and served as assistant dean for theological studies and professor of historical theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Bingham’s published work includes Irenaeus’ Use of Matthew’s Gospel in Adversus Haereses, Pocket History of the Church, and The Routledge Companion to Early Christian Thought. He is also general editor of the monograph series The Bible in Ancient Christianity and consulting editor for the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology.
Bieber Lake named to Kilby Chair
The English Department has appointed Dr. Christina Bieber Lake to the Clyde S. Kilby Chair, recognizing her contributions to scholarly literature and her ability to inspire and mentor students. The Kilby Chair was established at Wheaton in 1982 to honor beloved professor and former English department chair Dr. Clyde S. Kilby hon, who conceived the Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton’s research collection on C. S. Lewis and six other British authors.
Dr. Bieber Lake’s work on Flannery O’Connor has been widely published and well received. Recently she has explored fiction’s response to posthumanism. Her book Prophets of the Posthuman: American Fiction, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhood was released in September by the University of Notre Dame Press and examines what it means to live in a dehumanized world shaped by technology.
According to English Department Chair Dr. Sharon Coolidge ’72, Dr. Bieber Lake excels at generating discussion at a deep level. “Christina also makes a significant contribution through mentoring students and touches them in ways that extend far beyond the classroom and far beyond Wheaton. She truly honors the memory of Clyde Kilby and the way he connected with students.”
Dr. Bieber Lake delivered the Clyde S. Kilby Inaugural Lecture on September 12. She addressed the pitfalls of consilience, the effort to take a reductively scientific approach to the humanities, and she recommended interdisciplinary cooperation as the best way for the liberal arts to move forward.
Members of Wheaton’s A Rocha International chapter conceived of a community garden in 2010-11 as a way to reclaim dormant land on campus. For several years, the club focused on improving the soil in a plot between the Meyer Science Center and the Leedy softball field. Their vision came to fruition this summer, as the A Rocha Community Garden produced its first crop. Students were invited to partake of the harvest, which included sweet corn, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, squash, beans, beets, pumpkins, and a variety of herbs and flowers. Some of the produce was purchased by faculty and staff, and some was donated to food pantries serving refugee families.
Thomas Leng ’14 was among the students who tended the garden over the summer.
“I think that caring for the earth is a fundamental duty of Christian existence and of our life in this world,” he says. “Planting a garden and learning how to use whatever grows there in a creative way in the kitchen is but one part of a larger effort to serve this earth that we live on. It’s a powerful thing to live alongside a seed from its germination until it becomes a tasty zucchini or sweet blood-red beet.”
Students, faculty, and staff have witnessed the transformation of a once barren plot. Many are excited to participate and have been sharing ideas for future crops and projects, says Elsemarie deVries ’14, A Rocha treasurer and garden coordinator. “The community that was built around our working in the garden was one of the best I’ve ever experienced.”
Photo caption (above): Thomas Leng ’14 and Elsemarie deVries ’14 showcase the fruits of their labor—produce from the A Rocha Community Garden’s harvest.
Shakespeare in the Park
As the 2013-2014 new school year opened, Wheaton College’s Arena Theater collaborated with the Wheaton Park District for two outdoor evening performances of William Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It. The venue was the beautiful, historic Memorial Park near downtown Wheaton.
Arena Theater’s performance featured Wheaton College alumni, many of whom have acted professionally, as well as current Wheaton students, forming a unique and diverse company able to embody the various ages and personalities represented in the play. Wheaton College theater professor Mark Lewis directed.
Andy Mangin ’99, technical director of Arena Theater, says the challenges of doing theater al fresco—lighting, sound, the elements—are all worth it to experience the magic of outdoor theater. “Shakespeare was intended for the masses, to be accessible, but sometimes his work gets locked in closed rooms. We’re excited to bring it out into the community to reinvestigate it. Plus, this play takes place in the Forest of Arden. It’s a lot easier to imagine a forest when you turn around and there’s an actual tree behind you!”