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Press Release


Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Institute of Advanced Theology presents a luncheon lecture to benefit the programs of the Institute with John Haught, distinguished research professor of the Department of Theology at Georgetown University, on Tuesday, March 21. The luncheon begins at 12 noon in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, followed by Professor Haught’s discussion, “Evolution, Religion, and Ethics: What is at Stake?” at 12:30 p.m. Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Bard’s Jewish Chaplain, moderates the discussion. The cost for each lecture (including lunch) is $20, $15 for members of the Institute of Advanced Theology. As space is limited, preregistration is requested. “Darwin’s science seems to challenge religious trust in a providential God who purposefully creates, influences, and eternally cares for the world,” says Haught. “Evolutionary biology also seems to raise questions about the basis for ethical valuations. Our religious ancestors did not have any knowledge of biological evolution, so is it possible that their sense of right and wrong is also out of tune with what we now know to be a quite different story of life from those they held? After Darwin, can there be a plausible understanding of God that is both consistent with traditional beliefs and core ethical aspirations, while at the same time being adequate to the reality of evolution?” These are the questions Haught will address in his presentation. Haught does not suggest that “biology is biology, theology is theology, and never the twain shall meet,” writes Peter Steinfels, in the New York Times, about Haught’s views on the roles of intersection of science and theology. “Although Haught believes that evolutionary theory cannot make ultimate claims about God or cosmic purpose without slipping into a metaphysics beyond its competence, he also believes that it raises a host of questions that theology must address. Professor Haught maintains that theology should engage this daunting challenge rather than try to escape it. More than that, as a Christian theologian, he argues that evolutionary theory is actually a gift to theology, prodding it to enlarge its understanding of God and returning it, in many ways, to the faith and implicit metaphysics of the Bible.” John Haught’s area of specialization is systematic theology, with a particular interest in issues pertaining to science, cosmology, ecology, and religion. He is the author of God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution; Science and Religion: From Conflict to Conversation; The Promise of Nature: Ecology and Cosmic Purpose; Mystery and Promise: A Theology of Revelation; What Is Religion?; The Revelation of God in History; What Is God?; The Cosmic Adventure; Nature and Purpose; Religion and Self-Acceptance; and editor of Science and Religion in Search of Cosmic Purpose, as well as numerous articles and reviews. Haught is a frequent lecturer on topics related to science, theology, and ecology. He is the founder of the Georgetown Center for the Study of Science and Religion. On Friday, April 7, at noon in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center, the Institute of Advanced Theology offers a special luncheon lecture with Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner for members and friends of the Institute: “What’s Next—We Get to Pick Your Brains: A Conversation on the Coming Attractions of the Institute for Its Members.” This lecture, discussion, and book signing is in celebration of the publication of Chilton and Neusner’s Religious Foundations of Western Civilization. The cost for the lecture (including lunch) is $15 or $12 for members of the Institute of Advanced Theology. As space is limited, preregistration is requested. A three-day conference, “Historical Knowledge in Graeco-Roman, Judaic, and Christian Antiquity: What Kinds of Questions Can We Answer?” is presented by the Institute from Tuesday, April 25, through Thursday, April 27, in the Weis Cinema of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. Participants include Alan J. Avery-Peck, College of the Holy Cross; William Scott Green, University of Rochester; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, University of Iowa; Gary G. Porton, University of Illinois; Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University; and Bard professors Bruce Chilton, Caroline Dewald, and Jacob Neusner. The conference is chaired by Professors Neusner, Chilton, and Green. Admission is free; a complete schedule will be posted on the website Concluding the spring 2006 IAT programs is a luncheon lecture series with Rabbi Lawrence Troster that explores topics of science, the environment, and religion. The series meets weekly at noon on Wednesdays from May 3 through May 17 in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. The cost for each lecture (including lunch) is $15 or $12 for members of the Institute of Advanced Theology. As space is limited, preregistration is requested. The Institute of Advanced Theology (IAT) was established to foster critical understanding based on scholarship, which aims to make true religious pluralism possible. Since its inception in 1996, the Institute’s work has focused on how religions influence history, society, and other religions, and are in turn influenced by them. The Institute gratefully acknowledges support from members of the Institute, the Crohn Family Trust, and Tisch Family Foundation, as well as grants from The Levy Economics Institute and Bard College. This program is sponsored by the Chaplaincy at Bard College. For further information or to register for the lectures, call the Institute office at 845-758-7279, e-mail, or visit the website # # # (3/6/06)

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This event was last updated on 03-21-2006