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Flagler Professor of Religion to Present Paper at Savannah College of Art and Design

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February 8, 2011

Dr. Timothy Johnson, professor of religion at Flagler College and chair of the Liberal Studies Department, will present his paper, "Presbyterian Wine in Byzantine Wineskins: Reflections on Henry Flagler's Memorial Church," at the 7th Savannah Symposium, Feb. 17-19, at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

The symposium is entitled, "The Spirituality of Place," and will explore the role of spirituality as it relates to the development and shaping of architectural and urban forms.

Johnson's paper examines the Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine as an architectural icon of Byzantine spirituality, which was adapted to the spiritual needs of 19th century Presbyterians. He noted that key to his study is what the French cultural theorist and historian of spirituality, Michel de Certeau, terms "spatial practice."

"I have been working with Certeau's understanding of space and medieval spirituality for a number of years now," said Johnson. "The SCAD Conference allows me the opportunity to shift my research focus to a later period and a local religious site worthy of national recognition."

The first Savannah Symposium was held in February of 1999 and was sponsored by the Architectural History Department at SCAD. The success of that event led to the development of the symposium as a biennial event intended to stimulate interdisciplinary dialogue among scholars, urban designers, regional and local community leaders, faculty and students on a topic that has relevance both historically and in current affairs.

Johnson holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. A German-American Fulbright Scholar, he also holds a licentiate in Sacred Theology and a Diploma Litterarum Latinarum from the Pontifical Gregorian University, a bachelor's in Sacred Theology from Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome, and a B.A. in Theology from St. Louis University. Johnson has taught in Europe and Africa.