Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Shannon Grimes will deliver Meredith College’s Faculty Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at 7 p.m., in Jones Auditorium.
A live stream option will be available. Visit infotogo.meredith.edu/convocation/faculty_lecture for details.
The topic of the Faculty Distinguished Lecture is “Becoming Gold: Alchemy, Art, and Religion in Roman Egypt.” Alchemy is popularly viewed as a pseudo-scientific effort to transmute lead into gold. In her lecture, Grimes will explore the origins of alchemy in Roman Egypt and uncover a richer and more complex picture of alchemy, which is rooted in the artisanal traditions of ancient Egyptian temples where gold-making was associated with god-making.
She will discuss how the religious elements of alchemy stem from the production and “activation” of divine statues. These temple craft traditions were disrupted in the Roman period because of the establishment of new trade networks in Egypt, and further transformed as alchemical recipes were reimagined in Christian and Islamic contexts, yet an alchemical connection between gold and god remained.
Grimes earned her doctorate in religious studies at Syracuse University in 2006 and began teaching at Meredith College the same year. For several years she has served as the chair of the Religious and Ethical Studies Department. She has also won awards at Meredith College for her teaching and her research. While Grimes teaches a wide range of courses – from biblical studies and world religions to environmental ethics – her primary area of expertise is religion and philosophy in the Greco-Roman world. She is especially interested in ancient views of nature and the cosmos, and connections between science, magic, and religion. She has authored several articles on ancient alchemy, and her first book, Becoming Gold: Zosimos of Panopolis and the Alchemical Arts in Roman Egypt, was published by Rubedo Press in 2018.
The Faculty Distinguished Lecture was designed to represent a significant achievement of research by a Meredith faculty member. The first lecture was presented in 1964 by Professor of English Norma Rose.
This event is free and open to the public. The lecture counts as an Academic/Cultural Event for General Education for Meredith students. The Faculty Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by Meredith’s convocation committee.