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.

2018-2019 speaker

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

April 29, 2019 (Monday)
4:00 p.m.
100 Art Building

Feeling besieged by secularism, family breakdown, and government encroachment, American evangelical Christians took to the pulpit and airwaves in the second half of the 20th century to explain how biblical prophesies about the end times made sense of a ravaged modern world. By the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans reached out to evangelicals, and together they built the Religious Right. In the 2016 presidential election, no group supported President Trump more enthusiastically than white evangelicals. Dr. Sutton's talk helps explain why.

Dr. Sutton is Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor of History at Washington State University. His books include American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism and Jerry Falwell and the Rise of the Religious Right.

Past speakers


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.