Monumental sculpture of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro

Puff Memorial Lecture

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.

2017-2018 speaker

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

NEW DATE! April 20, 2018 (Friday)
4:30 p.m.
152 Shideler Hall


With the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968, the United States entered the final years of American Christianity's domination by the "mainline" churches. Over the subsequent 50 years, American Christianity came to be dominated by what is known as the "Religious Right." Now demographic evidence suggests that this era, too, is ending. Dr. Mathewes will examine how the challenges that have hampered the Religious Right will influence whatever form of American Christianity is coming next.

Dr. Mathewes is Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, as well as a Senior Fellow at UVA's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

Past speakers

2016-2017

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

2015-2016

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

2014-2015

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

2013-2014

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

2012-2013

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

2011-2012

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

2009-2010

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

2008-2009

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

2007-2008

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

2006-2007

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

2005-2006

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

2004-2005

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

2003-2004

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

2002-2003

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

2001-2002

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

2000-2001

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

1998-1999

Anne C. Rose
Penn State University

1996-1997

Felicitas D. Goodman
Denison University

1995-1996

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

1994-1995

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

1993-1994

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

1992-1993

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

1991-1992

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

1990-1991

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

1988-1989

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

1987-1988

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

1986-1987

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