Athens and Jerusalem: God, Humans, and Nature

David NovakSince their inception in 1888, the Gifford Lectures have become the foremost intellectual event dealing with religion, science and philosophy. Lectures are given in the ancient Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

In this series of six lectures Professor David Novak (University of Toronto) explores the dynamic interrelation of reason and revelation in the history of Jewish (primarily) and Christian (secondarily) theology and Western philosophy from antiquity. Contrary to the prevalent opinion that theology (designated as “Jerusalem”) is based upon revelation while philosophy (designated as “Athens”) is based upon reason, these lectures contend that both Hebraic theology and Hellenic philosophy alike arise from revelations. These revelations constitute comprehensive ways of life, and theologians and philosophers have reasoned upon and about them respectively.

The opening three lectures explore the complex of fundamental relations between God, humanity and nature that frame the dynamic encounter between philosophy and theology. The subsequent lectures then examine three specific, exemplary encounters: Philo’s engagement with Plato, Maimonides’ engagement with Aristotle, and contemporary Jewish engagement with Kant. In each case Novak allows us to see how Jewish theological reasoning takes up the challenge of philosophy in a way that is neither obsequious nor imperialist.

The lectures will take place on April 25th and 27th, May 2nd, 4th, 9th and 11th, 2017. All lectures begin at 18:00, and the venue for the first lecture is the King's College Conference Centre, while the remainder of the lectures will be held in King's College room KCG8. There will be a reception before the final lecture in the Divinity Library, from 17:00-17:50.

Venues: The first lecture will be in the King's College Conference Centre, while the remainder will be in King's College room KCG8