Greenberg Distinguished Scholar Program

“All Religion Is Inter-religion”: A Celebration of Steven M. Wasserstrom’s Contributions to the Study of Religion

Join us for a series of lectures and discussions on the occasion of Professor Steven M. Wasserstrom’s 30th anniversary at Reed College.

Thursday, October 26

Bruce Lincoln

Lecture: “Before Religion? The Zoroastrian Concept of Daēnā and Two Myths about It”
Bruce Lincoln
6 p.m.
Performing Arts Building 320

Bruce Lincoln of the University of Chicago will review the Avestan word, category, and concept of daēnā ("religion"), identifying several complexities in its usage. He will also discuss two mythic narratives in which the nature of the daēnā is at issue: one where it appears as a detachable portion of the self and another that tells how daēnā entered the world, imagining primordial ages in which humans had no religion, nor apparent need for it.

Friday, October 27


Trialogue: “Past, Present, and Future of the Study of Religion”
Steve Wasserstrom, Bruce Lincoln, and Elliot Wolfson
5 p.m.
Vollum lecture hall

Saturday, October 28

Elliot Wolfson

Lecture: “Anxiety, Lament, and the Language of Silence: Poetic Redemption and Gnostic Alienation”
Elliot Wolfson
4:30 p.m.
Vollum lecture hall

Elliot Wolfson of the University of California at Santa Barbara will explore the affinity between what Heidegger articulated as the mood of anxiety with which one is overcome when mutely confronting the nothing of being and what Scholem—perhaps influenced by Benjamin’s reflections on the nexus of language and lament—argued in the youthful cogitation “On Lament and Lamentation,” composed in 1917, with respect to the unique status of lamentation.

Steven M. Wasserstrom

Steven M. Wasserstrom is Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies & Humanities at Reed College and has been an influential figure in religious studies. His first book, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam (Princeton University Press), received the American Academy of Religion’s best book award in the area of Historical Studies in 1996 and has been recently reissued in Princeton University Press's Legacy Series. His second book, Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos (Princeton University Press), has been recognized as a “contemporary classic” in the field.

The Greenberg Distinguished Scholar Program was established on the occasion of Reed’s centennial with a gift from Dan Greenberg ’62 and his wife and philanthropic partner Susan Steinhauser.

Since 2012, the program has brought visiting scholars to campus to stimulate and support the work of students and provide faculty with the opportunity for in-depth intellectual exchange with a prominent member of their field.