DR. LAURENCE H. KANT BIO
B.A., Tufts University, 1978
M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School, 1981
M.A, Ph.D.., Yale University, Department of Religious Studies, 1982, 1993
Dr. Laurence H. Kant was born and raised near Boston. He has received numerous honors and fellowships, including the Boston Greek Prize and the William Frank Wyatt Prize in Latin, the Pfeiffer Fellowship in Biblical Archaeology, the Rome Prize (Prix de Rome) in Classics at the American Academy in Rome, the Borsa di studio of the Fondazione Lemmerman, the Josephine de Karmán Fellowship for excellence in the humanities, an NEH summer stipend, and several awards in Jewish Studies (including two dissertation fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture). He also was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. The Yale Divinity School Center for Faith and Culture recognized his course, “Thinking Theologically,” as a semi-finalist recipient of their “Faith as a Way of Life Award.” He has taught at several institutions and served on the faculties of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell, the Division of Humanities of York University (in Toronto), and Lexington Theological Seminary. He also has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Kant is trained in many languages, including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Italian, French, and German, and has lived abroad and traveled widely.
Dr. Kant is an historian of religion with wide-ranging scholarly interests. His studies, publications, talks, and teaching include early Christianity and Judaism, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, spirituality and mysticism, religious symbols, Jewish Studies, Israel and the Middle East, world religions, inscriptions, art and archaeology, languages, ethics, violence/genocide, theology, and film and literature. He is a member of numerous professional organizations.
A Jewish scholar of religion, Dr. Kant has a particular interest in examining Israel’s relationship to the Middle East and Mediterranean as part of the long arc of cultural and religious history extending to antiquity and the Bible.
Dr. Kant believes strongly in connecting the scholarly and spiritual life. Deeply committed to Judaism and his heritage, he has a long history of working in Jewish-Christian relations. He has been active in interfaith efforts with a variety of religious groups. He has engaged in reflective, public conversation about difficult ethical and spiritual issues, as exemplified by the group he started, “Wisdom in the Public Square.”
In addition, Dr. Kant is associated with church-state legal issues at a national level. His 2014 case before the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Kant v. LTS, drew “friend of the court” briefs from the American Association of University Professors and the Anti-Defamation League, among others. Eventually, he and a colleague received unanimous rulings in their favor. Through his efforts and those of his legal team, Dr. Kant helped to establish the contractual tenure rights of faculty at religious institutions, to show that not all faculty at seminaries are “ministers,” and to demonstrate that even “ministers” have legal rights in contractural relationships. Dr. Kant strongly believes that a level legal playing field has helped religion thrive in the U.S.
Dr. Kant is a scholar, teacher, and writer who seeks to help others learn how to learn, guides them in interpreting the world, and assists them as they create meaning and purpose in their lives.
Dr. Kant is married to Dr. Dianne M. Bazell, an historian of religion (Harvard, Ph.D., 1991), and a leader in postsecondary education reform.
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