Nigel Biggar at University of Chicago

Next month, Nigel Biggar will speak at the University of Chicago as part of a conference on Theological Reflection and The Limits of Politics. Other speakers include Robin Lovin, a member of the McDonald Centre advisory board, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Eric Gregory, Charles Mathewes, Gilbert Meilander, and Jean Bethke Elshtain (also a member of our advisory board).

The conference is free to attend; full details are available from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Big Society, Bigger Nature?

The McDonald Centre is sponsoring an exciting conference at the University of Manchester entitled Big Society, Bigger Nature? Speakers come from across the disciplines, but include theologians like John Milbank, Esther Reed, Luke Bretherton and Jonathan Chaplin. The one-day event will address important questions about the Big Society and wider Nature that have not yet been raised, including:

  • How does the Big Society acknowledge its dependence on a wider Nature?
  • Can the Big Society restrain the anti-ecological practices of the modern state?
  • Are we free, as humans, to volunteer Nature as a participant in the Big Society?
  • What is the relationship between civil society and economic markets?
  • Will attention to civil society obscure the moral responsibilities of the modern state?
  • Should citizenship trump participation in the Big Society?
  • What is the relevance of Catholic Social Teaching to the Big Society?

The conference is October 1. For full details, visit the conference website.

What’s Wrong, and Right, with Mixing Religion & Politics?

The University of Oxford will hold an Open Day next week. Colleges and departments will offer presentations and Taster Lectures for prospective students and their parents, helping them learn what living and studying at the University is like.

The Theology Faculty’s lectures will include John Perry, speaking on What’s Wrong, and Right, with Mixing Religion and Politics? at 11.30 on 16 September 2011. Diarmaid MacCulloch will also speak on the topic of church history.

For full details, or to register, click here.

Archbishop Rowan Williams & John Perry Speak on Faith and Society

Photo: K.T. Bruce

Earlier this month, John Perry joined Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, to speak to sixth-form students at the Madjeski Academy in Reading. Speaking on the topic of Faith in the Public Square, Perry addressed the importance of society welcoming political arguments from religious perspectives, and the habits of patient listening that are required if this is to contribute to the common good, rather than lead to hostile disagreements.

Photo: K.T. Bruce

The Archbishop spoke on Faith and Education, using the novels of Marilyn Robinson (Gilead and Home) to show the connection between literary imagination, education, and religion. After a Q&A session, the students presented poster exhibits from their Religious Studies classes, depicting major theologians that they had studied, such as Barth and Bonhoeffer, as well as ethical debates they studied, like euthanasia. A partial audio recording is available from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official site.

McDonald Lectures Continue This Week

The 2011 McDonald Lectures begin this week in Oxford, with lectures on Wednesday and Thursday. The full programme, including titles of individual lectures, follows. All lectures begin at 5.00 pm in the Exam Schools (81 High St, Oxford).

This year’s lectures are being given by Professor John Haldane of the University of St Andrews under the title, Ethics, Society, and the Place of Faith. Haldane is the author of numerous books and articles. He last visited the University of Oxford for a much-publicized debate with prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens.


  • Politics in an Age of Uncertainty (Wednesday, 23/2)
  • Religion in an Age of Doubt (Thursday, 24/2)
  • Ethics in an Age of Scepticism (Wednesday, 2/3)
  • Ethics and the Recovery of Nature (Thursday, 3/3)
  • Religion and the Recovery of the Supernatural (Wednesday, 3/3)
  • Politics and the Recovery of the Common Good (Thursday, 10/3)