Scholar-Activist Encounter: New Ways of Seeing Mark 5:1-20

Scholar-Activist Encounters

June 17, 2021, 7:00pm Eastern Time

How do activism and scholarship contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today?

CLBSJ is pleased to collaborate with the Alternative Seminary to host a roundtable discussion on new understandings of Mark 5:1-20, the healing of the Gerasene Demoniac, that prioritize marginalized and invisibilized perspectives. New Testament scholars Brian James Tipton, Eric Thomas and Peter McLellan will share about their research followed by an open dialogue about the implications of these ideas for movements for justice and peace.

The evening will be hosted by Dong Hyeon Jeong and Nicholas Johnson, members of the CLBSJ Board. This event is a part of the Alternative Seminary’s course “The Radical Way of Jesus: An eight-week online study of the Gospel of Mark” and is co-sponsored by the Open Door Community and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.

Scroll down for more information on the speakers.

Brian James Tipton is a PhD candidate in the Bible and Cultures program within the Graduate Division of Religion at the Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. Brian is a certified candidate for diaconate ordination in the United Methodist Church and his work focuses on the intersections of the New Testament, ecology, and how animalizing metaphors are used to marginalize oppressed populations. Brian is currently writing his dissertation which focuses on how animals are used to think with in the Gospel of Mark, especially in relation to gender, race, ethnicity, class, and incarceration. When not writing his dissertation Brian enjoys spending time with his spouse, Christine, chasing around his 2 daughters, Elia (5) and Alex (2), swimming, hanging out at the beach, and causing good theological trouble in the United Methodist Church.

Eric A. Thomas a PhD candidate in New Testament and Early Christianity at Drew University. His research focuses on Minoritized Biblical Criticism informed by Queer Theory. Eric is a graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, GA, and is currently the Interim Pastor of Siloam Presbyterian Church in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His essays “Tales from the Crypt: A Same Gender Loving (SGL) Reading of Mark 5:1-20 – Backwards” and “The Futures Outside (Rev 22:8-21): Apocalyptic Epilogue Unveiled as Africana Queer Prologue” are published in the Journal of the ITC and in Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies (Fordham University Press) respectively. When not working on his dissertation, he enjoys spending time with his husband Carlos Barnett, and being the proud uncle of Jayden, Nia and Devin.

Peter McLellan received his PhD in Bible and Cultures from Drew Theological School. His first book, The Gospel of Mark and Other Haunted Places (forthcoming in 2021 from Gorgias Press), explores how marginalized communities conjured by Mark’s gospel draw privileged readers into a haunted conversation with contemporary people made invisible by gentrification. Peter now works as an educational analyst at Oxford College of Emory University, where he researches methods for communities silenced by higher education’s investment in white supremacy to revolutionize the modern Western university. He lives in Covington, Georgia with his partner Jenny, daughter Molly, and dog Eddie; and enjoys running, role-playing and tabletop games, cooking, and watching his beloved Green Bay Packers.

The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice invites you to join us for an interactive dialogue exploring the interfaces between scholarship and activism. How do these ways of being contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today? Let’s come together to learn from each other. Most events take place on the third Thursday of the month at 4:30pm Pacific Time / 7:30pm Eastern Time. We do not meet every month, and occasionally meet on a different night.

See the full schedule of the Scholar-Activist Encounter series. For questions, email

This series is co-sponsored by the Community of Living Traditions.