The Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series Endowment is for the recruitment of scriptural scholars, research and curriculum design at St. Mary’s University and related programmatic support throughout the Archdiocese of San Antonio. This program ensures St. Mary’s plays a lead role in advancing Catholic Studies.

2020-2021 Speakers

About the Lecture Series

Attendees view the Saint John's Bible at the Escobedo Saint John's Bible Lecture Series

Thanks to a generous gift from former Board of Trustees Chairman Ruben Escobedo, a 1960 graduate of St. Mary’s, and his wife Veronica Salazar Escobedo, the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series was created and allows St. Mary’s University to share the remarkable illuminated pages with members of the St. Mary’s community, and with faith communities from across Texas and the nation.

Each year, through the Lecture Series, outstanding biblical scholars are invited to campus for a public presentation at St. Mary’s and at Holy Rosary Catholic Church adjacent to the campus. These presentations take advantage of and enhance our campus and community learning, while connecting our students and community to the Saint John’s Bible currently on campus.

They are also interdisciplinary in nature, reflecting on aspects of sacred scripture, interpretation, lived religious experience, and spiritual insight in conversation with other fields of study.

The Escobedo lectures are often part of a larger program in collaboration with academic departments and student life programs, such as University Ministry and Community Engagement, pairing scholarly presentations of the Bible with other creative, intellectual, and spiritual endeavors.

At St. Mary’s, the volumes of The Heritage Edition have been in classrooms, at new student orientations, in campus liturgies and at the Marianists’ residential communities. In addition, volumes are exhibited year-round in special hand-crafted display cases in St. Louis Hall, the University’s signature building, and the Louis J. Blume Library on campus. Faculty, students, parents, alumni, donors, and other friends of the University experiencing The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition in conjunction with the Escobedo programs have been astounded by the Bible at both on- and off-campus events at which has been exhibited. Learn more about the Saint John’s Bible at St. Mary’s University.

For more information, contact Bob O’Connor, Ph.D., Director of The Saint John’s Bible Project at St. Mary’s University at 210-436-3799, or Sara Ronis, Chair of the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series Committee, at

Fall 2020

Biblical Hagar in Black and White 

featuring Nyasha Junior, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Temple University

Wednesday, Oct. 28 
7 to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom 

Hagar is known as the wife of Abraham and the mother of Ishmael within Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While many biblical characters are depicted as White Europeans within Western art and literature, some interpreters have treated Hagar as a Black woman. Drawing on her book Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible (Oxford University Press, 2019), Dr. Junior will share a rich tradition of representations of biblical Hagar and discuss how contemporary notions of race affect how we read scripture. 

  • Nyasha Junior, Ph.D.

    About Nyasha Junior, Ph.D.
    Nyasha Junior, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia. For the 2020-21 academic year, she is a visiting associate professor of Women’s Studies and African-American Religions at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Junior writes, teaches, speaks and frequently tweets on religion, race, gender and their intersections. She is the author of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox Press, 2015) and Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible (Oxford University Press, 2019) and the co-author of Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon (Oxford University Press, 2020). For more information, visit, and follow her on Twitter @NyashaJunior.  

Spring 2021

The Spring 2021 lecture will feature speaker Shanell T. Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins; and Director, Cooperative Master of Divinity Program. More information about the lecture will be available at a later date.

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