College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Jeffrey Stout - Religion Unbound: Ideals and Powers from Cicero to King

Jeffrey Stout is Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

 

Event Details

Dates: 1,2, 4, 8, 9, 11 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm

The lecture may be followed by questions. Latest finishing time is 7pm.

Venue: Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS

Tickets for Event

Tickets for Professor Jeffrey Stout's Gifford Lecture Series are free of charge but need to be booked in advance.  A ticket is required for each lecture.

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Series summary

“Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?”—Martin Luther King Jr.

The religious defenders of tyranny and oppression bind religion to injustice. The remedy, Adam Lord Gifford thought, is not to secularize politics but to emancipate religion from arbitrary power. Religion is not going away. It will always have political effects. The effects are good if the religion is good and bad if the religion is bad. An ideal of ethical religion animated the abolitionists whom Gifford admired and many activists since. ‘Religion Unbound’ will trace the ideal’s history and explain how its defenders have defined and criticized religion.

Public intellectuals often posit a Great Separation of religion from politics in modernity. They differ over how the Separation was achieved, whether its effects were good, bad, or mixed, and whether it was permanent or temporary. References to a recent ‘return of religion’ assume that a Great Separation in fact took place, that we know what it was, and that it set the terms in which politics was conducted where and while it lasted. Yet religiously motivated reformers and revolutionaries have been with us all along. How would our outlook need to change if we included Milton, Wilberforce, Mott, Emerson, Gandhi, and King in the story?

 

Lecture 1 - Religion since Cicero Monday 1 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS
Lecture 2 - Early Modern Critics of Tyranny and Oppression Tuesday 2 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS
Lecture 3 - Why Religion, Faith, and Freedom Proved Hard to Reconcile Thursday 4 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS
Lecture 4 - Abolitionism, Political Religion, and Securalism Monday 8 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS
Lecture 5 - Slavishness, Democracy, and the Death of God Tuesday 9 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS
Lecture 6 - Religion and the Politics of Explanation Thursday 11 May 2017, 5.30 - 6.30pm Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS
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Series Videos

The lectures will be recorded and links will be posted in the respective pages of each lecture.

Biography

Since 1975 Jeffrey Stout has taught at Princeton University, where he holds a professorship in Religion. He is affiliated with the departments of Philosophy and Politics, the Center for Human Values, and the Center for the Study of Religion. Two of his works—Ethics after Babel and Democracy and Tradition—received the Award for Book Excellence from the American Academy of Religion, a scholarly society for which he served as president in 2007. His honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008), Princeton University's Graduate Mentoring Award (2009), and Princeton's Presidential Award for Distinguished Teaching (2010).

Stout is a secular philosopher with a background in democratic activism. He is best known for his analyses of religious involvement in politics, his criticisms of secularism and traditionalism, and his selective reworking of ideas from American pragmatism. His most recent articles are concerned with conceptions of religion and critiques of arbitrary power in the writings of Hegel, Emerson, and Lincoln. Stout’s essays on religion and film have appeared in Film Comment and The Hidden God (Museum of Modern Art).

Related Links

Find out more about Professor Jeffrey Stout on his academic profile

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Professor Jeffrey Stout - Religion Unbound: Ideals and Powers from Cicero to King

Professor Jeffrey Stout's Gifford Lecture Series is made up of six lectures under the series title 'Religion Unbound: Ideals and Powers from Cicero to King'

Business School Auditorium, 29 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9JS