Opening Event for

Hagia Sophia: The Churches of the Wisdom of God

October 11, 2023
Hagia Sophia: The Churches of the Wisdom of God Opening Event

Join us for the opening of our newest exhibition, Hagia Sophia: The Churches of the Wisdom of God

The exhibition is a photographic exploration of 37 historic churches around the world dedicated to the hagia sophia, or “wisdom of God.” Each church was erected as a testament to its community's faith, and they continue to stand as monuments to some of the greatest architectural and cultural achievements in the world. 

Following the opening reception, there will be presentations from leading scholars, a panel discussion, and an opportunity to explore our newest exhibit.

This initiative is a joint collaboration of Museum of the Bible and the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). The exhibition is comprised of submissions to the third IAO International Photo Contest, with the subject “The Churches of the Wisdom of the God in History and the World,” which concluded in October 2021, and are provided courtesy of the IAO.

Oct 11, 2023 - Oct 11, 2023
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM EDT
Museum of the Bible
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5:30 p.m.


6:00 p.m.

Introduction by Dr. Jeff Kloha, Chief Curatorial Officer

6:15 p.m.

Presentation by Dr. John Fotopoulos: “The Wisdom of God in Scripture and Orthodox Christian Tradition”
In certain texts of the Orthodox Christian canon of the Old Testament, the wisdom of God is understood as a hypostasis of God. Thus, the wisdom of God is viewed as having divine pre-existence, coexistence with God, participating in creation and in major events of salvation history. These perspectives are further developed by some New Testament texts that identify Jesus as the incarnate wisdom of God. The Orthodox Christian tradition incorporates these perspectives into its worship and theology by glorifying Jesus Christ as the wisdom of God, the second divine person of the Holy Trinity.

6:30 p.m.

Presentation by Dr. John Yieh: “The Wisdom of God in the New Testament”
Η` σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ has two remarkable referential meanings in the New Testament, both of which are Christocentric. Matthew describes Jesus in a typology as the personified “wisdom of God” (Matthew 11:19). Paul characterizes his gospel of salvation by the cross in a diatribe as the true “wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:21), intended to subvert the hubris of human wisdom and flabbergast the wise in the world.  He then declares Christ “the power of God and the wisdom of God” to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:24). This brief presentation will probe the context, rationale, and impact of these two references to see how they enrich the theological motif of ἡ σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ in the Bible.

6:45 p.m.

Presentation by Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm: “For It Is Your Wisdom and Understanding in the Eyes of the Nations”
God, through Moses, describes the project of scripture itself as divine “wisdom.” In a Mesopotamian world saturated with wisdom traditions, what, on one hand, differentiated Godly wisdom, and why, on the other, would God model his communication to humanity on this broader human institution of wisdom? What, ultimately, can the wisdom of the Hebrew Bible teach us about what God wants from his relationship with us?

7:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion


Jeff Kloha, Chief Curatorial Officer of Museum of the Bible

Dr. Jeff Kloha

Jeffrey Kloha joined Museum of the Bible in the summer 2017. He manages Museum of the Bible’s Education, Scholars Initiative, Exhibits, Curatorial, and Collections departments and is responsible for executing those departments’ strategic plans, along with managing other professionals.  

Kloha previously served 18 years as professor of New Testament at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and served Concordia as provost/chief academic officer. During that time, he oversaw two accreditation processes, transitioned the institution from quarters to semesters, steered the development of new curricula, and managed strategic planning for the institution. He earned his PhD from the University of Leeds.  

His areas of teaching and research include the textual and canonical history of the early Christian writings, hermeneutics, and the Pauline Epistles. He is co-editor of Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of J. K. Elliott and The Press of the Text: Biblical Studies in Honor of James W. Voelz. He has published peer-reviewed essays in the areas of New Testament textual criticism and the use of New Testament texts in early Christianity. He is a frequent conference presenter, radio guest, and television documentary commentator.

Dr. John Fotopoulos

Dr. John Fotopoulos is the associate professor and chair of the department of religious studies and theology at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, where he has served on the faculty since 2001. He graduated as valedictorian with a BA in pre-theology from Hellenic College and again as valedictorian with an MDiv from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Fotopoulos received his PhD from Loyola University Chicago.  

His area of specialization is the New Testament and early Christian literature within the context of Greco-Roman society and culture, focusing on the letters of St. Paul the Apostle by using social-historical and rhetorical-critical methods of interpretation. Fotopoulos also does scholarly work on the historical Jesus and on St. John Chrysostom. Fotopoulos is a member of numerous academic associations including the Colloquium Oecumenicum Paulinum, a select group of international New Testament scholars that meets biennially in Rome to discuss aspects of St. Paul's letters. He has published four academic books, as well as numerous articles in academic journals and reference works. He also is an Archon of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle and was honored with the offikion (“rank”) Διδάσκαλος τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου (“Teacher of the Gospel”) by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Dr. John Yieh

Reverend John Y. H. Yieh is the Molly Laird Downs Professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria. He earned his PhD in religious studies from Yale University and has previously taught at Bangor Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Theological School. His published books in New Testament studies include One Teacher: Jesus’ Teaching Role in Matthew’s Gospel Report, Conversations with Scripture: The Gospel of Matthew, and The Sermon on the Mount: New Covenant and History of Effects. He also serves as New Testament editor for the Chinese Union Study Bible series and has published dozens of articles on the history and hermeneutics of Chinese biblical interpretation. He has lectured widely in the US, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Japan.

Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm

Rabbi Dr. Ari Lamm is the chief executive of the Bnai Zion Foundation, a nonprofit producing media and entertainment to strengthen Israel and the Jewish people. 

Rabbi Lamm uses digital media to bring the Hebrew Bible’s ideas and values to the wider English-speaking public. He is the host of the top-ranked weekly podcast on the Bible and society, Good Faith Effort. And his popular Twitter threads on “Why Read the Bible in Hebrew?” have garnered millions of views and been covered by major international news outlets. 

For his leadership in the world of Jewish ideas, The Jerusalem Post recently ranked him #38 on its list of the world’s “50 Most Influential Jews.”  

He earned his rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and his PhD in religion from Princeton University. He received his MA in Judaism and Eastern Christianity from University College London via a Fulbright Scholarship. His writings have appeared in the Wall Street JournalNewsweekTablet MagazineSAPIR Journal, and The Jerusalem Post.

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Presented in partnership with the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy

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