Puff Memorial Lecture

Monumental sculpture of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro

The Edward A. Puff Sr. and Edith Kottmyer Puff Memorial Lecture in the Study of Christianity was endowed in 1986 by Rev. Edward A. Puff Jr., of Dayton, and his brother, Harold F. Puff, emeritus professor of management at Miami University. The memorial lecture is named for Edward and Harold's parents, in gratitude for the sacrifices they made that enabled the brothers to attend Miami during the Depression years.

This annual lecture is free and open to the public.

2022-2023 speaker

Willis JenkinsWillis Jenkins
University of Virginia
"Undoing Dominion: Contemplative Arguments for Creaturely Rights"

March 2, 2023 (Thursday)
5:30-7:00 p.m.
FSB 0025

Or watch the lecture via livestream. (Register for free to get the link.)

Does protecting human dignity require human dominion over the rest of Earth? Amid the climate and extinction crises of the "Anthropocene" era, this lecture examines three religious arguments, each rooted in a form of contemplative practice, in which realizing human dignity requires recognizing rights of nonhuman creatures.

Dr. Jenkins is a professor of ethics and chair of the department of religious studies at the University of Virginia. His most recent books include The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, and Religious Creativity and the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology (of which he was a co-editor).

Co-sponsored with the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship.

Past speakers


John Swinton
University of Aberdeen
"Hearing Voices: Theology, Psychiatry, and the Lived Experience of Hearing Voices"

Randall Poole
College of St. Scholastica
"Is Religion Good for Human Rights?"


Laura Stivers
Dominican University of California
"Hospitality as Justice: Christian Approaches to Homelessness"


Jeremy K. Everett
Baylor University
"Solving America's Hunger Crisis"


Matthew Avery Sutton
Washington State University
"Evangelicals, the End Times, and the Religious Right in Modern America"


Charles Mathewes
University of Virginia
"American Christianity After the Religious Right"


Sylvester Johnson
Northwestern University
"American Religion and National Security: Race, Religion, and the Security State"


Paula M. Kane
University of Pittsburgh
"Medieval Manhattan: An Antidote to the Jazz Age"


Katharine Wilkinson
Director of Strategy and Activation, BrightHouse LLC
"Between God & Green: How Evangelicals are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change"


Timothy Matovina
University of Notre Dame
"Latinos and the Transformation of American Catholicism"


Jehu J. Hancile
Emory University
"The Promise of God: New African Immigrants and Transformations in the American Religious Landscape"


Daniel Buxhoeveden
University of South Carolina
"Christianity and Science in Dialogue"


Amy DeRogatis
Michigan State University
"Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelicalism"


Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis
Theological advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch
"Beauty Will Save the World: Spiritual Insights into an Ecological Worldview"


David L. Holmes
College of William and Mary
"The Religion of the Founding Fathers"


Gabriel Moran
New York University
"Religious Diversity: Christians and Muslims in a Common World"


Peter J. Thuesen
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
"The Idea of Predestination in American Religious History"


R. Marie Griffith
Princeton University
"Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity"


David Morgan
Valparaiso University
"The Visual Culture of American Piety: Absent Fathers and Women with Beards"


Charles H. Lippy
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
"Challenges to Christianity in the Twenty-First Century"


Daniel Sack
Associated Colleges of the Midwest
"Eating at the Table of the Gods"


Catherine Brekus
University of Chicago
"Sarah Osborn’s World: Popular Christianity in 18th-Century America"


Anne C. Rose
Penn State University


Felicitas D. Goodman
Denison University


Stephen A. Marini
Wellesley College
"Sacred Song in Contemporary America"


Robert Orsi
Indiana University
"Hopeless Cases: The Women Who Prayed to St. Jude, 1929-1965"


Randall Balmer
Barnard College
"Thy Kingdom Come: Apocalypticism in American Culture"


John W. Cook
Henry Luce Foundation
"Varieties of Christian Sacred Space"


Sandra Zimdars-Swartz
University of Kansas
"Encounters with the Virgin Mary: Issues of Personal Religious Experience"


Mary Jo Weaver
Indiana University
"Being Right: Roman Catholic Fundamentalism"


Albert J. Raboteau
Princeton University
"A Hidden Wholeness: Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr."


Samuel S. Hill, Jr.
University of Florida
"Is Black Religion Evangelical?"


Charles Curran
Catholic University of America/Southern Methodist University
"The Social Mission of the Church in Contemporary America"

Photo credit

Rio de Janeiro Helicoptero 47 Feb 2006.jpg by Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz, from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 3.0; cropped from original and color saturation increased.