The Piedmont Lectures: A Little History
Where does this annual lectureship at DCC come from? Is it named for the Piedmont region of Italy? (No.) The Piedmont Plateau of North Carolina? (No.) Piedmont College in Georgia? (No.)
Is it from the Piedmont Addition, a neighborhood of Dallas near Pleasant Grove? (Getting warm.)
Is it from Piedmont Church of Christ, Dallas? (Yes!)
For many years Piedmont Church of Christ supported Christian higher education through Southeastern Christian College in Winchester, KY, but in 1979, Southeastern closed (its campus is now a public park), and Piedmont Church of Christ began a relationship with DCC, a relationship that included sending Mark Yarbrough as a student who graduated in 1993 and Mark’s father as a professor in the education department.
In 1998, Piedmont Church of Christ merged with Eastfield Bible Chapel in Mesquite, TX, but Piedmont still wanted to leave a legacy for Christian higher education. Thus, through Mark Yarbrough, who at the time worked for DCC in enrollment management, it was decided that $20,000 from the sale of Piedmont’s building would be given to DCC’s Bible department to use as the Bible department saw fit. The department decided that proceeds from the gift would be used to fund an annual lecture series by biblical scholars who not only are models of scholastic excellence, but also use that excellence in service to Christ’s church.
The first Piedmont Lectures occurred on April 17 and 19, 2001, with Dr. Kenneth Barker as the lecturer. Dr. Barker served as executive director of the NIV Translation Center and was general editor of The NIV Study Bible. His lectures sparked many questions about the challenges of Bible translation.
Beginning with the following fall, the lectureship was moved to the fall semester when possible, the second series held on September 25 and 27, 2001.
Mark Yarbrough moved on to serve at Dallas Theological Seminary, where he is now academic dean—and yes, he, too, has served as a Piedmont lecturer at his alma mater.
Below is the complete list of Piedmont lecturers:
2000-2001 – Kenneth L. Barker, Committee on Bible Translation, NIV & TNIV
2001-2002 – Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary
2002-2003 – Robert C. Chisholm, Dallas Theological Seminary
2003-2004 – Martin Abegg, Dead Sea Scrolls Institute, Trinity Western University
2004-2005 – J. Daniel Hays, Ouachita Baptist University
2005-2006 – David Garland, Truett Theological Seminary
2006-2007 – Jesse Long, Lubbock Christian University
2007-2008 – Craig Blomberg, Denver Theological Seminary
2008-2009 – Thomas Thatcher, Cincinnati Christian University
2009–2010 – Mark Yarbrough, Dallas Theological Seminary
2010-2011 – John Castelein, Lincoln Christian University
2011-2012 – William Baker, Stone-Campbell Journal; Hope International University
(2012-2013 – No Piedmont Lectures due to illness of scheduled speaker)
2013-2014 – Les Hardin, Johnson University, Florida
(2014-2015 – No Piedmont Lectures)
2015-2016 – William (Bill) Bellinger, Baylor University
2016-2017 – Dennis Reynolds, Oberlin Conservatory of Music; Cleveland State University[link to article?]
(The word “piedmont,” by the way, is derived from an Italian word piedmont that means “foot of the mount,” that is, land that slopes up to a hill. We challenge you to find that setting in southeast Dallas.)