FACULTY NEWS

JOINING RUTGERS IN FALL 2012
D. Christian Lammerts (Contact Info.)
- (CV)

D. Christian Lammerts’ research examines the literary, social, and intellectual histories of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. He is particularly interested in the intersection of Buddhist legal culture and textual practice, and in the development and reception of regional Pali and vernacular Buddhist literature. Lammerts is currently writing a book on the history of a distinctive Buddhist legal genre and jurisprudence in Burma between 1200-1900 C.E., as well as preparing a critical edition, translation, and study of a mid-17th century treatise on Buddhist law. His work is grounded in the close reading and analysis of Southeast Asian Buddhist texts in their manuscript contexts, and he has related interests in philology, textual criticism, manuscript studies, and book history. Publications forthcoming in 2012-2013 include the volume Buddhist Dynamics in Premodern and Early Modern Southeast Asia (Singapore), as well as articles in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies and Buddhism and Law: An Introduction (Cambridge).

Lammerts’ teaching deals broadly with the history and literature of Buddhism across premodern and modern Asia, as well as with topics in comparative religion, law, and ethics. He is especially interested to work with undergraduate and graduate students who would like to pursue studies in these or related areas, or in the history of religions in Southeast Asia. Prospective students are encouraged to contact him. Lammerts has a BA in philosophy from Williams College, MA degrees in Southeast Asian studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and Cornell University, and a PhD in Asian religions from Cornell University.

Debra Scoggins Ballentine (Contact Info.) - CV

Debra Scoggins Ballentine focuses on ancient Israelite and Judean history, religion, and literature. She views literary and material data as social artifacts that reflect engagement with their contemporary contexts. In describing the scope of her field of study, she explains that, “Ancient Israel and Judah were situated geographically between more powerful and expansive empires in Mesopotamia and Egypt, and any study of biblical traditions must foreground this geo-political context. Because of this, Biblical Studies is necessarily comparative and interdisciplinary.” In teaching courses such as the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Ballentine explores with students how ancient cultic traditions are thoroughly embedded in their historical setting, yet resonant with many cross-cultural social dynamics: “Whether

my students are familiar with biblical traditions or not, they find that these ancient texts really come to life when we study what types of political events or social controversies the authors were facing.” Ballentine is currently submitting her first book to academic publishers. Broadly, she analyzes how ancient authors adapted traditional mythic themes of divine combat to further specific political and theological ideologies. This summer Ballentine will travel to Amsterdam to deliver a paper on ritual violence in the Hebrew Bible at the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Professor Ballentine has a BA and MA from the University of Georgia, where she studied Religion, Anthropology, and Biology. She received an MA and her PhD from Brown University in Religious Studies.