WWU prof's work leads to two books on Christian reformist

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Greg Dodds gave a presentation in Amsterdam on his contribution to "Around Erasmus: A European Humanist and His Early Modern Readers." The Walla Walla University history professor is one of eight writers who are co-authoring content for the edited volume. Each one of them "brings a unique background and insight, representing Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands," according to a release.

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus lived between Oct. 28, 1466 to July 12, 1536. The Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest and theologian was from Rotterdam, Netherlands.

"Erasmus was a unique individual in the era of the reformation," Greg said. Catholics and Protestants condemned him "while consistently arguing for peace, love and understanding between Christians. Rather than asserting his truths and denouncing as heretics those who opposed him, he called for civil dialogue and tolerance."

Greg said he's inspired by the writings of Erasmus, which range from humorous dialogues to groundbreaking biblical scholarship.

Greg was invited to write a chapter for the book by its editor, Jan Bloemendal. He was also asked to speak at the Amsterdam conference in January. His presentation focused on two 17th-century English authors who quoted, translated and built on Erasmus' writings and ideas, the release said.

Greg's doctoral dissertation also focused on Erasmus. After earning his degree in 2004, he removed part of the dissertation, rewrote three chapters and added four new ones. The end result, "Exploiting Erasmus: The Erasmian Legacy and Religious Change in Early Modern England," was published in 2009 by University of Toronto Press.

"I became interested in this particular topic somewhat by accident," Greg said in the release. "It's a combination of two of my great historical interests: Erasmus and English history. While mostly forgotten, Erasmus was enormously influential in the history of Christianity."

He researched the work over four years in California and England, attended several specialized conferences and wrote two journal articles. The book is available on amazon.com.

Another book he is currently co-authoring on Erasmus will be completed in May, and will be available in early 2012 by Brill.

"It was a great honor to be included as a speaker and author with this group of outstanding and well-known scholars," he said. "For quite a few years I have been working on the legacy of Erasmus and it is exciting to be part of a conference and book that is extending the study of his reception in post-Reformation Europe."

Other authors of the book include: Philip Ford, Chiara Franceschini, Reinier Leushuis, Hilmar Pabel, Dirk Sacre, Paul Smith and Hans Trapman.

Jonathan Thompson has stepped up to the helm of Blue Mountain Heart to Heart as its new board president.

He started with the organization a few years ago, wrote grants as a volunteer then become a board member, according to the Feb. 23 issue of BMH2H online newsletter Heartbeat.

Fellow officers include Valerie Potter, secretary; Emily Tillotson, vice president; and Oliver von Birkenwaldau, treasurer. The staff includes Laura Curtis, fundraising chairwoman; Miranda Baerg, Casey Burns, Gwendell Handcox, Dr. Sam Kirtley, Jennifer Marshall and Dr. Justin Olswanger; Jill Dickey, LICSW, program director/case manager; April Love King, bookkeeper; Everett Maroon, grants assistant; Raul Morales, outreach coordinator; Lissa Erickson, program assistant; Elizabeth Wierenga-Lee, progran assistant; and Esther Weathers, case management assistant.

BMH2H's mission is to prevent new HIV and Hepatitis C infections and provide compassionate care and assistance to those infected and affected by these diseases in order to encourage an environment of dignity and improved quality of life for the entire community.

Over the coming year, Jonathan wants to maintain, expand and diversify funding sources; support BMH2H staff so that it can continue its efforts; and work to make sure the agency can deal with future challenges and opportunities.

In the same issue Jane Drabek and Parke Thomas were cited for many years of devoted, invaluable service. They both dedicated time and hard work in helping the Walla Walla community in the fight against HIV/HCV.

"Their commitment has been evident through the various leadership roles they have taken throughout the years. Both have served as vice president and president of the board of directors at different periods, as well as on many committees."

Of note, Jane served as the board's institutional memory during its meetings. She supported and mentored current program director, Jill Dickey, when the agency no longer had an executive director.

"Jane is a warm and caring advocate for those infected and affected by these diseases, and she touched the lives of many of our clients in a positive way." She brought "such heart to the agency and the community it serves."

Parke's creative flare came into play as he brought color to BMH2H. He advanced the organization through technological mediums such as revamping the website, creating a Facebook fan page and designing the monthly newsletter. "It is through his ‘think outside the box' nature that BMH2H has been able to grow and bloom.

He has written many grants, chauffered clients to retreats, and organized the World AIDS Day Service this year.

All Edison Elementary school students had to do was raise $400 in box tops for a recent fundraiser.

Yet, in their enthusiasm, they amassed more than $650 in box tops cash, which resulted in Principal Josh Wolcott losing a friendly bet.

As a result, he good-naturedly came up with a new coif by dyeing his hair green for St. Patrick's Day, as agreed upon, according to the online Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review. "The students were thrilled to see their principal donning a new look for St. Patrick's Day."

Proceeds will enhance the school library's materials.

Walla Walla High School student Teresa Olivos earned an honorable mention award for her digital photography submission to Educational Service District 123 High School Art Show. The freshman is in her second semester in Keven Peck's digital photography class, the March 18 Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review reported online.

In addition student Jake Tegtmeier earned the "Superintendent Award" for his submission. He is in Dennis DeBroeck's technology class at Wa-Hi.

Kindergarten through third-grade students wield some power with their votes, the March 18 Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review noted. Since 1982, students in the state annually select a book to win the Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award. They can vote on their award through their district's library media specialist. Battle of the Books will be 6:30 p.m. April 13 at Sharpstein Elementary School in the gym.

Fourth- and fifth-grade classes throughout Walla Walla schools have teams that have been reading the 20 WCCPBA nominees.

After reading the books, they take notes on the author and such literary elements as setting, characters and plot. They also identify the genre and make notes on any unique features of the story, Week in Review reported.

"Classes have a mini-battle to determine who will represent their class through a quiz-show like competition. Then the winning team takes on all of the other fourth- and fifth-graders in the school to establish a school champion."

The resulting five school champions compete in the Second City Battle of the Books.

"Come and celebrate the love of learning with your children, their families and friends as they pit their wits against the champions from Berney, Blue Ridge, Edison, Green Park and Sharpstein," the release said.

For additional details, contact Linda Seibold, Sharpstein Library media specialist, at lseibold@wwps.org or at 527-3098.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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