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The Lumen Christi Institute
78 minutes | 2 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 | 3 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 | 3 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 | 3 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 | 4 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 | 4 months ago
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 | 4 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 | 5 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 | 5 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 | 5 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 | 5 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 | 5 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.
99 minutes | 5 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 | 6 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 | 6 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 | 7 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).'
93 minutes | 7 months ago
Cardinal Francis George, the American Contribution to Catholic Social Thought, & Our Current Moment
A web panel discussion held April 17, 2020, upon the 5th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Francis George O.M.I. After his appointment as archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George emerged as an intellectual leader within the Church, nationally and world-wide, and served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. His thought on American culture and society—expressed in numerous lectures and in three major books—provides a challenging, critical view of the American experiment from the perspective of post-Vatican II Catholic thought. Revisiting his book on social questions and public life—God in Action: How Faith in God Can Address the Challenges of the World—allows us to reflect on the American contribution to Catholic Social Thought and to apply it to consider our situation today as we confront a great global crisis. The panel will include Russell Hittinger, Senior Fellow of the Lumen Christi Institute and Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago Law School (Fall, 2020); Stephen Schneck, emeritus Professor at the Catholic University of America and Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network; and Theresa Smart, assistant professor in the School of Civic and Economic Thought at Arizona State University. Each will draw from their own expertise and entertain the question of what distinctly American contributions have been made to Catholic Social Thought and how Cardinal George’s work fits within this tradition.
54 minutes | 8 months ago
Rémi Brague and Jean-Luc Marion - Does Christianity Need Metaphysics?
A symposium with Rémi Brague (Sorbonne/University of Munich)and Jean-Luc Marion (University of Chicago), which took place November 6, 2014, at the University of Chicago. For more information in this event, see our event page: http://lumenchristi.org/event/2014/11/does-christianity-need-metaphysics-remi-brague-jean-luc-marion
60 minutes | 8 months ago
John Cavadini - The Grand Design: An Augustinian Reply to Stephen Hawking
A lecture by theologian John Cavadini (Notre Dame), given at the University of Chicago on February 2, 2012. In this talk, Professor Cavadini gives his response to a then-recent statement by acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking that philosophy was dead, and that science is the only reasonable method for securing knowledge. In response, Professor Cavadini argues that philosophy is rooted in man’s wonder about the universe, and that scientific inquiry is only one aspect of true wisdom and should not be privileged over others.
47 minutes | 8 months ago
John Haught - Science, Faith, and the New Atheism
This talk was delivered February 21, 2015, by John F. Haught, Distinguished Research Professor and Professor Emeritus of Theology at Georgetown University. His area of specialization is systematic theology, with a particular interest in issues pertaining to science, cosmology, evolution, ecology, and religion. - The bestselling books by the “New Atheists” Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens provide colorful portraits of the evils of religions, especially those that profess belief in a personal God. In their passionate denunciation of faith in God, the New Atheists appeal not only to morality but also to reason to convince readers of the absolute wrongness of belief in God. This lecture aims to summarize the main claims of the New Atheists and examine whether these claims are themselves reasonable.
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