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The Lumen Christi Institute
66 minutes | 5 hours ago
Beyond Test Scores: Measuring the Contributions of Catholic Schools
A presentation by Quentin Wodon (International Office of Catholic Education), followed by discussion with Annie Smith (Director of Research and Data, National Catholic Education Association), Andrew Miller (Boston College), and Timothy Uhl (Superintendent, Catholic Schools for Montana). Catholic schools and universities aim to educate the whole person. Beyond strong academics, they aim to educate towards fraternal humanism. Do we have any evidence that they succeed? Based on recent research for the United States conducted under the new collaborative Global Catholic Education project, including a set of papers prepared for a special issue of the Journal of Catholic Education, this webinar will explore this question. Topics to be considered include (1) whether parents sending children to Catholic schools have different priorities for what children should learn in school than other parents; (2) whether students in Catholic schools exhibit self-discipline; (3) whether different stakeholders have different worldviews for Catholic schools; (4) whether there is less violence in Catholic schools than in other schools; (5) whether going to Catholic schools is associated with particular patterns of family formation later in life; and (6) more generally, what is meant by a Catholic identity. While the discussion will focus in large part on schools, implications for Catholic universities will also be discussed. After a presentation summarizing findings from recent research, panelists will share their views on how Catholic schools and universities could rely on these and other research findings to improve the education they provide "beyond test scores". This event is presented by the Lumen Christi Institute, the Catholic Research Economists Discussion Organization (CREDO), Global Catholic Education, Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education (GRACE), the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), and the International Office of Catholic Education (OIEC). This event is cosponsored by America Media, and the Roche Center for Catholic Education.
75 minutes | a month ago
Is there a Catholic Vote? An Evangelical Vote? Religion, Polls, and Presidential Elections
A panel discussion with Kenneth Woodward (Lumen Christi Institute), Peter Wehner (Ethics and Public Policy Center), and William McCready (University of Michigan), moderated by Joseph Capizzi (Catholic University of America). Originally presented as a live web event December 16, 2020. The 2020 presidential race seemed to highlight the central role of religion in the electorate. Democrats spent heavily on campaign ads emphasizing Joe Biden’s Roman Catholicism. President Trump has spent the past four years courting Evangelicals and conservative Catholics. But is there really a religious vote? In this panel, experts will examine the relationship between religion, polls, and presidential elections. This event was cosponsored by America Media and the Institute for Human Ecology.
66 minutes | a month ago
A Catholic Life in the Secular University: A Conversation with George Dennis O'Brien
A conversation with George Dennis O'Brien (University of Rochester) and Mark Alznauer (Northwestern University). John F. Kennedy once quipped that a Catholic would be president of the United States before a Catholic would be president of Harvard. As the Catholic president of two secular universities, Dennis O’Brien was a trailblazer. In this interview, O’Brien discusses his long career in higher education as a Catholic, a philosopher, and an administrator, with reflections on the past, present, and future of American higher education. O’Brien was raised in a south-side Chicago parish in the 1930s and 1940s. Educated at Yale, he came to the University of Chicago to write a PhD on Hegel. He was appointed president of Bucknell in 1976 and the University of Rochester in 1984. O’Brien’s varied career offers a fascinating window onto the history of American higher education in the twentieth century. Philosopher and fellow Hegelian Mark Alznauer will conduct this interview, focusing on higher education both Catholic and secular, as well as O’Brien’s experiences growing up in Chicago and attending the University of Chicago. Cosponsored by Commonweal Magazine, and the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern University. This event is presented by the Lumen Christi Institute Forum on the Church in Higher Education as part of its Liberal Arts Colloquium. This event was presented as a live webinar December 9, 2020.
78 minutes | 4 months ago
Andrew Hayes - A Theology of Wonder: An Introduction to the Poetry of Ephrem the Syrian
A webinar lecture with Andrew Hayes (University of St. Thomas, Houston). This event is presented in collaboration with the Godbearer Institute as part of a Fall webinar lecture series on "Eastern Catholic Theology in Action." St. Ephrem is the common teacher of the Syriac theological tradition whose preferred medium is poetry. Named a doctor of the Church by Benedict XV, Ephrem emphasizes that the ascetical and mystical experience of wonder is the criterion for authentic theologizing. Dr. Hayes will discuss how Ephrem’s notion of wonder purifies our freedom and rendering the whole person a clear and luminous receptacle for the experience of God.
70 minutes | 5 months ago
Peter Casarella - Passage to Modernity: Renaissance Christianity Today
A webinar lecture with Peter Casarella (Duke University), originally delivered August 18, 2020. Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society Historian Jacob Burckhardt (d. 1897) famously argued that Italian humanism of the fourteenth and fifteenth century paved the way inevitably to modern individualism and secularism, but more recently Burckhardt's view has been largely discredited. Contemporary thinkers, Louis Dupré and Karsten Harries, each with very distinctive accents, made decisive contributions to overcoming of Burkhardtian forerunner mentality. In this concluding webinar, Professor Casarella will explore Dupré's and Harries' contributions to a post-Burckhardtian reading of the relationship of Italian humanism to modernity and also some of the limitations of the interpretations they proposed in the light of more recent ideas regarding post-structuralism and decolonial theory.
80 minutes | 5 months ago
Torrance Kirby - Richard Hooker’s Sapiential Theology: Reformed Platonism?
An webinar lecture with Professor Torrance Kirby (McGill University), delivered August 11, 2020. Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was a preeminent theologian and philosopher of the Elizabethan Church. His seminal book, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1593), set out a path for Anglican theology that was distinct from both Puritan and Roman Catholic thought. In Book I, Hooker identifies Law with Holy Wisdom and his treatment echoes the sapiential books of Scripture, viz. Proverbs, Job, and the Wisdom of Solomon. Hooker also appeals to a hierarchical disposition of the species of law in the medieval scholastic conception of the ‘lex divinitatis’, especially as formulated by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and later by Thomas Aquinas. For Hooker, the First Eternal Law concealed in the ‘Bosome of God’ is unutterable, while its external emanation, the Second Eternal Law, is a ‘Voyce’ whose utterance constitutes the beautiful ‘Harmony of the Worlde’. This distinction between two species of Eternal Law owes much to the ancient Neoplatonic metaphysics of Proclus. Both Hooker’s sapiential theology and his invocation of the law of the ‘great chain’ stand in creative tension with his professed adherence to doctrine expressed by the Elizabethan Articles of Religion (1571). In this webinar, Professor Torrance Kirby will examine the tension between Hooker’s sources and his theology and will ask whether Hooker is successful in reconciling his legal metaphysics with his Reformed soteriology.
75 minutes | 5 months ago
Douglas Hedley - Reason and Beauty in Cambridge Platonism
A webinar lecture with Douglas Hedley (University of Cambridge, originally delivered August 4, 2020. Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society. The Cambridge Platonists are the first modern Platonists. They are a group of English philosophers around the University of Cambridge in the seventeenth-century, in the context of reformed theology and the English Civil War. Yet while accepting the New Science of Copernicus and Galileo, they offer a fierce protest against mechanism and naturalism. Their notion of aesthetics and beauty--as historian Ernst Cassirer correctly saw--was one of the sources of the later Romantic movement. Their aesthetics has a theological foundation. As one of the Cambridge Platonists, Benjamin Whichcote (d. 1683) wrote: “There is that in God that is more beautiful than power, than will and Sovereignty, viz. His righteousness, His good-will, His justice, wisdom and the like’. In this webinar, Professor Douglas Hedley will discuss the Cambridge Platonists' thought on beauty and its theological dimension that is tied to a distinctly Platonic theory of enthusiasm or inspiration and that came to be a shaping force in 18th century thought.
68 minutes | 5 months ago
A webinar panel featuring Andrew J. Bacevich (Boston University), Archbishop Timothy Broglio (Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA), and Drew Christiansen, S.J. (Georgetown University), moderated by Joseph Capizzi (Catholic University of America). The event was initially broadcast on August 6, 2020, on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. This event was dedicated to the late John P. Langan, S.J., noted professor, theologian and peace activist. This event was also cosponsored by America Media, The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America, and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
48 minutes | 5 months ago
Valentina Zaffino - Giordano Bruno and the Poetry of the Cosmos
A webinar lecture with Valentina Zaffino (Pontifical Lateran University; Rome Global Gateway, University of Notre Dame). Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, and cosmologist. Bruno’s notoriety is due both to his adventurous life and to his original reinterpretation of ancient thought in light of the new philosophical scenario. Valentina Zaffino will analyze Bruno’s image of the cosmos, focusing on his remodeled Neoplatonic background. In this context, as will be shown, the notions of harmony and beauty are closely related with Bruno’s fascinating claim of the infinity of the cosmos.
79 minutes | 6 months ago
Richard Oosterhoff - Measure and Mathematics in Renaissance Philosophy
A webinar lecture with Richard Oosterhoff (University of Edinburgh). Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society --- Perspective drawing, map-making, musical harmonics, astronomy, and number theory—these were all mathematical disciplines in the Renaissance. We tend to link measuring sounds, sights, and sensations with outstanding philosophers, from Nicholas of Cusa to Galileo and Descartes. But every university student met these topics, in their first textbooks. This webinar will focus on the hugely popular Paris master and humanist Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples (c. 1455–1536), who wove a programme of university reform out of authorities from Church Fathers and mystics, the Victorines, Ramon Llull, and Cusanus. Out of such sources, Lefèvre bequeathed European universities a shared philosophical culture in which mathematics offered an archetype of reason and beauty.
80 minutes | 6 months ago
Tamara Albertini - Women Humanists in the Renaissance: Paradise and Free Speech in Moderata Fonte
An evening webinar lecture with Tamara Albertini (University of Hawai'i at Manoa). Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society After a brief review of women humanists like Laura Cerata, Cassandra Fedele, Lucrezia Marinella, and Isotta Nogarola, the presentation will focus on Moderata Fonte's dialogue The Merit of Women Where One Clearly Discovers How Dignified and Perfect They Are (1600). In that dialogue, Fonte creates a locus amoenus characterized by a centered garden visited by seven female interlocutors to discuss what options women have to take charge of their lives. The presentation will end by comparing and contrasting Fonte's garden with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's paradise in his Oration on the Dignity of Man (1486)
78 minutes | 6 months ago
Denis Robichaud - Marsilio Ficino and the Philosophy of Plato
A webinar with Professor Denis Robichaud (University of Notre Dame), originally presented June 30, 2020. Part of our summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society In the humanist recovery and study of Platonic thought and texts, Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) was a brilliant luminary. He produced the first translation into Latin of all of Plato’s texts and of Plotinus’s Enneads, and he translated and commented on numerous other Platonic works. Ficino was also more than a scholar, he was also a philosopher and theologian whose network of students, friends, and correspondents extended far beyond his Florentine home. His philosophical thought fed early modern philosophy for generations but also raised questions of Ficino’s orthodoxy. In this webinar, Professor Denis Robichaud (Notre Dame) will discuss Marsilio Ficino’s humanist, philosophical, and theological thought.
61 minutes | 7 months ago
What Evolution Does and Does Not Tell Us about Humans
Cosponsored by the Society of Catholic Scientists. This event is made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Does evolution fully explain the human? Recent paleontological and archeological work trace the deep lineages underlying many of our physical traits, and reveals our complicated history as one of many hominid species. It is abundantly clear that modern humans are subject to the same evolutionary pressures as the rest of the biological world and that evolution continues to shape our species. However, the developing story of our evolutionary history is frequently framed as a challenge to the claim of human uniqueness, fundamental to the Judeo-Christian understanding of the creation of man. Does evolution truly undercut the assumption of human uniqueness? Is our understanding of biological evolution sufficient to explain what makes us human? Here we present an online lecture with evolutionary paleobiologist, Simon Conway Morris, where he examines “What Evolution Does and Does not Tell Us about Humans.”
84 minutes | 7 months ago
Dante as Poet and Philosopher
A conversation with Professors Jason Aleksander (San Jose State University) and Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College). Part of our Summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was a Florentine writer and poet, whose long poetic work, The Divine Comedy, has received recognition as one of the greatest artistic achievements in the West. Dante's poetic artistry stands alongside his intellectual and philosophical thought throughout his writings and in his Comedy. In this webinar, Professor Jason Aleksander (San José State U) and Professor Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) will discuss Dante's interlocking poetic and philosophical production.
73 minutes | 7 months ago
Race, Justice, and Catholicism
A discussion with Herschella Conyers (University of Chicago Law School), and Vincent Rougeau (Boston College Law School), moderated by Eduardo Peñalver (Cornell Law School). Cosponsored by America Media, Boston College Law School, the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago. The cry in the streets of “no justice, no peace” echoes the teaching of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI. The recent crises have again brought to the fore the reality that interracial justice has eluded America, despite the promise of the civil rights movement. Slavery, its original sin, has dogged it from its founding. Segregation and mass incarceration continue this shameful legacy. Efforts to call Americans to take responsibility for this often find resistance in an individualistic ideology counter to the Catholic vision. Catholics find themselves on both sides of this history. The Gospel and Catholic social teaching clearly reject racism. Yet up to this moment, Catholic clergy and laity have often not lived up to this teaching, helping to sustain racism, rather than dismantle or reject it. If, as Pope Francis reminds us, we are all connected, then injustice anywhere is not only a threat to justice everywhere—it is injustice everywhere. In this event, a panel of distinguished legal scholars comes together to discuss our current moment and whether Catholicism can move from being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution.
78 minutes | 7 months ago
David Albertson - Nicholas of Cusa
For the final installment of our Spring 2020 lecture series on "Reason and Wisdom in Medieval Christian Thought," Professor David Albertson leads us in exploring the work of German philosopher, theologian, astronomer, and mystic, Nicholas of Cusa. Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464) was a great late medieval, early modern thinker and polymath who digested the medieval theological and contemplative traditions and pressed these in new directions. Living in tumultuous times, his career in the Church as a cardinal was occupied by his work as a reformer and his efforts to re-unify the Eastern and Western Churches. Professor David Albertson will offer an introduction to the lesser-known but rich life and thought of this great German personality.
99 minutes | 7 months ago
Christians in Times of Catastrophe: Augustine's "City of God"
A discussion with Russell Hittinger (Senior Fellow Lumen Christi) and Fr Michael Sherwin, O.P. (University of Fribourg), moderated by Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina). Cosponsored by America Media, the Collegium Institute, the Saint Benedict Institute, the Beatrice Institute, the Nova Forum, the Harvard Catholic Center, the Institute for Faith and Culture, and the Sacred and Profane Love podcast. Augustine of Hippo's City of God is one of the great theological books of the Christian tradition, laying out a vision of the Church and the Earthly City in parallel and of Christ's work of salvation in history in the context of the sack of Rome (410) and other calamities. Augustine's reflections on how Christians can understand and respond to catastrophes has become a wellspring in the Christian intellectual tradition and for us responding to todays troubles for the Church and for the world. In this web event, Professor Jennifer Frey (Philosophy, University of South Carolina) leads a moderated conversation between Professor emeritus Russell Hittinger (Senior Fellow LCI) and Fr Michael Sherwin, O.P. (Theology, University of Fribourg) on Augustine’s context and the continued relevance of his wisdom for Christians in the time of pandemic, economic turmoil, and political and social tumult.
69 minutes | 8 months ago
Bernard McGinn - Meister Eckhart
A webinar lecture delivered by Professor Bernard McGinn on May 28, 2020. This event is part of a larger series on "Reason and Wisdom in Medieval Christian Thought". Meister Eckhart (d. ca. 1328) was a famous and popular German mystical writer and preacher. After formal theological training in the University of Paris, following the footsteps of Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, Eckhart charted a distinctive mystical dialectical theological in his writings and sermons and drew theological controversy. His thought became an inspiration for a tradition of mystical thought after him and remains a wellspring of religious and theological thought today. Professor Bernard McGinn will introduce the life and some of the principal themes of Eckhart’s enigmatic thought.
75 minutes | 8 months ago
Willemien Otten - Peter Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux
A webinar delivered by Professor Willemien Otten (University of Chicago) on May 7, 2020. Part of a spring webinar series on "Reason and Wisdom in Medieval Christian Thought" Peter Abelard (d. 1142) and Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) were contemporaries who both emerged from the new twelfth-century schools. But their dispositions, personalities, and eventual conflict have come to represent a conflict between the rising scholastic and the traditional monastic cultures of learning. Professor Willemien Otten will introduce these iconic twelfth-century personalities, the direction of their work, and the theological controversy that put them on opposing sides.
63 minutes | 9 months ago
Aaron Canty - Anselm of Canterbury on the Rationality of Faith
An online webinar with Aaron Canty (Saint Xavier University), delivered April 16, 2020. This is the second installment of our 2020 Spring Webinar Series. Anselm was a startlingly original monastic writer and thinker who drank deeply of Augustinian and patristic theology but formulated his own theological and philosophical writings in spare and compelling chains of reasoning. His Why God Became Man, Monologion, and Proslogion each chart new ways to practice 'believing in order to understand (credo ut intelligam).'
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