Speakers & Experts
Sam Thomas, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Religion
Phone: (805) 493-3693
Professor Thomas studied biology as an undergraduate and intended, after a short stint volunteering at a hospital in Israel (L'Hopital Francais de St. Louis in Jerusalem), to go on to study medicine. The short stint turned into a long one, and Dr. Thomas discovered what would become a lasting fascination with the origins of Judaism and Christianity in Mediterranean antiquity. Instead of medical school, he went on to graduate school to study the histories, languages, theologies, cultures, and peoples that contributed to the formation of the texts and the traditions of ancient Judaism and Christianity.
In addition to his academic work, Dr. Thomas has continued to cultivate interests in furniture making, poetry and literature, service and social justice, and sustainable living.
Dr. Thomas is on the Faculty Steering Committee of the Center for Equality and Justice, is active in campus sustainability initiatives, and regularly teaches a course in Environmental Ethics.
"The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible"
A presentation focusing on an introduction to the Dead Sea Scrolls and a discussion of their contribution to our understanding of the Bible, the history of biblical text, and the cultural and religious contexts which both Judaism and Christianity first emerged.
"Jewish-Christian Relations from Antiquity to the Present"
This discussion addresses Jewish-Christian relations from the ancient world to contemporary developments, focusing on the theological and historical grounds for separation and dispute, as well as the historical consequences of negative attitudes toward the "other." Also discussed will be recent movements toward mutual understanding and the ability to embrace one another.