July 29, 2021
Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English awarded Henry Resident Fellowship from the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding
Wheaton College’s Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English Dr. Christina Bieber Lake was recently awarded a Henry Resident Fellowship from the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding.
Funded through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Henry Resident Fellowship program is a key piece of Henry Center’s Creation Project. With the ultimate goal of producing scholarship around the doctrine of creation, the three-year Creation Project relies on its fellows to create world-class scholarship guided by Scripture and informed by scientific research.
“This year’s theme for the Henry Resident Fellowship is theological anthropology, which is right up my alley and something I’ve always cared deeply about,” Bieber Lake said. “I couldn’t be more elated about receiving the Henry Resident Fellowship.”
Over the course of the year-long fellowship, Bieber Lake will live on the campus of Trinity in Deerfield, Illinois working on the research and writing of a new book about a reader’s attention—and how a literary imagination has the power to change the reader’s mind.
“Reading literature has the potential to transform people, to help someone change their mind about profound things like God and smaller things like how to live your life and how to see the world,” she said.
Bieber Lake said that this is a continuation of a previous book, Beyond the Story: American Literary Fiction and the Limits of Materialism, published in 2019 by the University of Notre Dame Press. “In that book, I made the argument that storytelling is inherently theological,” she said. “In this new book, I’m saying that the reader is changed by what he or she reads—that reading is inherently theological. What happens when we read or experience things habitually or in an extended way, like liturgy? How do various major literary forms—story, poetry, and prophetic writings—command our attention, inspire the imagination, and lead us to change?”
In addition to researching and writing, Bieber Lake will have regular opportunities to connect with other fellows.
“I’m truly excited about the other fellows that I’m going to have the chance to work with,” Bieber Lake said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to dialogue with them—and having them as interlocutors for my project.”