Established by a generous gift from Gloria Priest, the John Priest Lecture honors the life and work of John Priest (1929-1998). John served as Professor in the Department of Religion at Florida State from 1968 until his retirement in 1996, at which time he was named Professor Emeritus. While at FSU, John also served as Director of the Graduate Humanities Program (1969-1976) and Chair of the Department of Religion (1978-1984). John was a founding member of the American Academy of Religion, which he served as national secretary, vice president, president (in 1967), and executive director and treasurer (1967-1978.) Professor Priest received his AB from Asbury College in 1949, his BD (1955) and Ph.D. (1960) from Drew, and was honored with a variety of fellowships including the Kent, Fulbright, Dempster, and Lilly Fellowships. Prior to coming to FSU, John served on the faculty at Ohio Wesleyan, the Hartford Seminary Foundation, and was Academic Dean at Hartford from 1966-1968. He was a long-time member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Schools of Oriental Research. The following publications are representative of John's research:
- "Mebaqqer, Paqid, and the Messiah," Journal of Biblical Literature, 81 (1962): 55-61.
- "The Messiah and the Meal in 1QSa," Journal of Biblical Literature, 82 (1963): 95-100.
- "Amos 1:9 and the Covenant of Brothers," Journal of Biblical Literature, 84 (1964): 400-406.
- "Job and J.B.; The Goodness of God or the Godness of Good," Horizons, 12 (1985): 265-283.
- "Testament of Moses," in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 4 (1992): 920-924.
February 7, 2018, Dr. Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor Emerita of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation (Yale Divinity School), “Ancient Christians on Marriage and Celibacy: Readings of 1 Corinthians 7 in the Early Church”
February 15, 2017, Dr. James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor (Princeton Theological Seminary), “Why are the Dead Sea Scrolls so Sensational?”
February 4, 2016, Dr. Dennis MacDonald, “John’s Dionysian Gospel: Imitations Of Euripides’ Bacchae”
February 5, 2015, Dr. Dale Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University
January 30, 2014, Dr. Dale B. Martin, "Jesus in Jerusalem: Armed and Not Dangerous"
February 7, 2013 Dr. James C. VanderKam, the John O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures of the Department of Theology (University of Notre Dame), "Enoch as a Bringer of Knowledge: 1 Enoch and its Relevance for Ancient Judaism and Christianity"
January 26, 2012 Dr. David Brakke, Professor of Religious Studies (University of Indiana at Bloomington), "Why the Church Did Not Reject Gnosticism"
January 28, 2008 Dr. Martin S. Jaffee (University of Washington, Seattle), "1000 Words: The Newspaper Column as a Site for Religious Studies Discourse"
January 28, 2007 Dr. George Nickelsburg (University of Iowa), "A Priest, a King, or a Prophet: Were the Jews Expecting the Messiah, and Did the Early Christians Think He Had Come?"
January 27, 2006 Dr. Elizabeth Struthers Malbon (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) "Historical Jesus/Literary Jesus: Some Unanswered Questions"
January 28, 2005 Dr. Carol A. Newsom, Candler School of Theology (Emory University), "Wings of Desire: Two Myths of Origin and Their Ethical Implications"
January, 2004, Dr. John Collins (Yale Divinity School), "The Bible and the Legitimation of Violence"