Religious Studies alumni publish first books
Ryan Andrew Newson '07 and John Penniman '05 have each recently published a first book.
Ryan Andrew Newson '07 and John Penniman '05, two alumni who focused on religious studies during their time at Elon, have each recently published a first book.
Newson, now an adjunct professor of Christian studies at Campbell University, has authored "Radical Friendship: The Politics of Communal Discernment." The book, published by Fortress Press, looks at the practice of communal discernment as a path to "faithful political engagement."
"Uniquely, Newson explores the contours of communal discernment as a practice that is especially relevant to Christians seeking radical democratic alternatives to political liberalism," according to the book's description. "Communal discernment is shown to be capable of generating conscientious participation in grassroots politics; additionally, this practice enables Christians to enjoy reciprocal, discerning relationships with people of differing convictional communities."
After graduating from Elon, Newson received his master's of divinity from Wake Forest University in 2011 and his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2015.
An assistant professor of religious studies at Bucknell University, Penniman is the author of "Raised on Christian Milk: Food and the Formation of the Soul in Early Christianity," published by Yale University Press. In the book, Penniman studies the symbolic power of food and its role in forming bonds and religious identity for early Christians.
From the book's description: "Scholar of religion John Penniman considers the symbolic importance of food in the early Roman world in an engaging and original new study that demonstrates how “eating well” was a pervasive idea that served diverse theories of growth, education, and religious identity. Penniman places early Christian discussion of food in its moral, medical, legal, and social contexts, revealing how nourishment, especially breast milk, was invested with the power to transfer characteristics, improve intellect, and strengthen kinship bonds."
Penniman has been teaching at Bucknell since 2015, and previously taught at Fordham University, where he received his doctorate. After graduating from Elon, Penniman pursued his master's of theological studies from Emory University.