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Swanson Invited to Global Scripture Translation Seminar

Dr. Richard Swanson, professor of Religion and chair of the Humanities division at Augustana, has been selected for the Inter-Semiotic Translation Seminar, an invited group of only 15 scholars from around the globe, to explore the role of modern semiotics in the translation and communication of Scripture for the 21st century. The group will meet at the San Pellegrino University Foundation in Misano Adriatico, Italy, April 23-27.

The Seminar has been formed to explore the implications of recent literary critical work with texts (particularly Italian semiotics) for the translation of biblical texts, particularly as this involves translation from one symbol system to another. The members of the Seminar are semioticians, musicologists, translators, and biblical scholars from several countries (Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Mexico, and the U.S., chiefly).

Swanson has also been invited to present a portion of the St. Mark Passion (created in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Stanichar (Music), Dr. Patrick Hicks (English), and Dr. James Johnson) as an example of inter-semiotic translation. The members of the Seminar will then explore, discuss and analyze the St. Mark Passion during its sessions.

Swanson joined Augustana in 1990. Currently, he teaches courses that explore biblical interpretation, interpretive theory and the ways people live and hope. He also teaches Biblical Greek on occasion, and co-teaches (with Dr. Michael Mullin, History) “Peopling Paradise: Migrants, Missionaries, and Money,” a course that travels to Hawaii to study the effects of colonization on traditional cultures.

His research focuses on the interaction between religion and culture and on the interpretive implications of ancient and modern performances of biblical narratives. He has written four books and numerous articles, and is currently finishing work on a performance-critical commentary, "Provoking the Gospel of John: A Storyteller’s Commentary." Dr. Swanson serves a co-chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section for the Society of Biblical Literature, and is a member of the Executive Board for the Network of Biblical Storytellers. He is the Director of the Provoking the Gospel Storytelling Project, a troupe of actors drawn from among Augustana students and alums.

Swanson received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Luther Seminary. Before beginning his doctoral studies he was a parish pastor for six years.