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.

Flourishing of Universities Conference

Last week, the McDonald Centre was honoured to host one of its most exciting events. Eleven leading scholars from top universities in the US and UK gathered to study the recent plight of universities.

It was the first time that these scholars, all of whom have been supported in various projects by the McDonald Agape Foundation, were together at a single event. They represent the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Duke, Notre Dame, Yale, Chicago, and Emory.

The conference, entitled Christianity and the Flourishing of Universities, explored a variety of questions, including:

  • Can theology justify its place in the secular research university?
  • Should theology be studied in universities rather than churches and seminaries?
  • What is lost when governments decide what research is worth funding solely by economic-utilitarian measures of ‘impact’ or monetary pay-out?

This was the fifth major McDonald Centre conference, with previous events on justice, forgiveness, human enhancement technologies, and and an engagement with the work of Peter Singer. This year’s conference was attended by well over 100 scholars, students, clergy, and laity from across the UK and numerous other countries.

Videos of all conference sessions are now available.

L-R: Peter McDonald, Nigel Biggar, Nicholas Wolterstorff, John Witte, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Al McDonald, Paul Griffiths, Suzie McDonald, Miroslav Volf, David Ford, Sarah Coakley, Richard Hays, David Hempton, Mark Noll. Photo: Ralph Williamson.

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.

Biggar & Singer Debate in Standpoint

Following the recent conference, Standpoint magazine convened a dialogue between Peter Singer and Nigel Biggar. Hosted by Standpoint editor, Daniel Johnson, the conversation spans a variety of topics, including the value of human and animal life, the morality of killing, abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and others.

Standpoint: We have just been attending a conference in Oxford entitled Christian Ethics Engages Peter Singer. Perhaps we should kick off with a question that you, Nigel, asked at the end of the conference. On what grounds, Peter, would you give greater weight to the interests, the preferences, theneeds of the Jewish victims in the Holocaust, rather than the Nazi perpetrators? …  Read the debate in full.

Pete Ward: Religion & Celebrity Culture

“Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, David Beckham and the Spice Girls, Reality TV: Pete Ward shows how Christian theologians can not only comment critically on celebrity culture as a cultural phenomenon, but more positively engage with it as theological capital. Ward develops a notion of theology in a celebrity culture based on the plausibility of faith in relation to the circulation of stories within cultural representation.”

Pete Ward will visit the McDonald Centre to lecture on the subject of his new book, God’s Behaving Badly: Religion & Celebrity Culture. Dr Ward is Senior Lecturer in Youth Ministry and Theological Education at King’s College, London. All are invited to attend.

Thursday, 27 January at 5pm

Lecture Room 1, Christ Church, Oxford

Bonhoeffer Conference

We are happy to announce an upcoming conference hosted by our friends at the University of Notre Dame, New Conversations on Bonhoeffer’s Theology, to be held 10-11 April 2011. Oxford’s own Bernd Wannenwetsch will be speaking, alongside many others. The organizers are inviting paper proposals from graduate students. Due to generous financial support from Notre Dame, the organizers hope to be able to provide full accommodation to all student presenters, as well as some travel funding for those travelling from Europe.