Dr. Shannon Grimes, Department Head of Religious and Ethical Studies, will deliver this year’s Faculty Distinguished Lecture on April 5 at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium. The Herald interviewed Dr. Grimes about the content of this year's lecture.
When asked what she wished to share with Meredith students who are interested in attending this lecture, she said, “My goal is to present alchemy—which is notoriously difficult to understand—in an interesting and accessible way.”
Dr. Grimes explained that alchemy is an interdisciplinary field. “I’ll be touching on art, history, science, religion and even business, so students and faculty from different disciplines are sure to find something to relate to,” she said.
Dr. Grimes stated,“In my lecture, I go back to the roots of alchemy in first century Egypt and show how alchemy originated.” Dr. Grimes added,“I argue that it comes from temple artisans who were making statues of the gods. Once Christianity rose to prominence and the pagan temples were closed, alchemy persisted, but it changed form. I’ll trace some of these historical developments in my talk.”
Research often takes countless hours to collect and organize into a lecture format. When asked about what inspired her topic, Dr. Grimes stated, “I have written several articles on this topic, as well as a book, Becoming Gold: Zosimos of Panopolis and the Alchemical Arts in Roman Egypt…This lecture gives me a chance to share my research with the Meredith community. It’s a rather unusual and specialized subject, and I don’t teach any classes about it at Meredith.”
The first Faculty Distinguished Lecture was given in 1964, and the College usually holds one each year. Following the lecture in Jones Auditorium, there will be a reception, with the location to be determined. Dr. Grimes’s book can be purchased online at Rubedo Press.
By Haileigh West, Contributing Writer