College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Lectures put age-old puzzle in modern context

A renowned theologian with an interest in human societies and cultures – and how they develop – is to deliver a key lecture series.

Professor Michael Welker, of the University of Heidelberg, will explore a vital question for people of faith – what does it mean to be formed in the image of God.

Event organisers say the series will appeal to anyone who wants to better understand how an ancient theological concept might impact on human existence in today’s world.

During the Gifford Lecture series in the University’s Playfair Library, the eminent scholar will consider human potential for justice, freedom, truth and peace.  

Gifford Lectures 2019

28, 29, 31 October and 4, 5, 7 November 5.30 - 6.30pm

Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL

Tickets are free of charge but need to be booked in advance

Gifford blog

During Professor Welker’s visit, a blog will be active alongside the lectures to facilitate further discussion of the lectures online. 

Videos and audios of each lecture will be posted shortly after they have been given and a number of contributors will offer their reflections to further facilitate conversation. 

A post will be published after each lecture, reflecting on what was discussed and encouraging others to comment.

Audience members will be encouraged to pose questions during the lectures – either by emailing GiffordLectures@ed.ac.uk or tweeting with the hashtag #GiffordsEd.

Questions submitted will be put forward during the online discussion period that follows each talk.

Esteemed expert

Michael Welker is Senior Professor at the University of Heidelberg and Director of the Research Center for International and Interdisciplinary Theology (FIIT).

His research themes include anthropology, dialogue between theology and the natural sciences and Christology – Christian theology relating to the person, nature and role of Jesus.

He is a Corresponding Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and received the Medal of the University of Heidelberg, the Karl-Barth-Preis award, in 2016.

Gifford Seminar

In addition to the lectures, he Gifford Seminar will be held on Wednesday 6 November at 11.00am. 

The event is open to all and there is no need to book.

At this year's Seminar, Professor Welker will join leading academics to discuss questions from the audience arising from his Gifford Lecture Series.

Revered series

For more than a century, the Gifford Lectures have enabled international scholars to contribute to the advancement of theological and philosophical thought.

The Gifford Lectureships, which are held at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews, have been delivered annually since 1888 by a succession of distinguished scholars.

Previous speakers include former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; the Chairperson of the United Nations Internal Justice Council, Catherine O’Regan; leading French intellectual Bruno Latour; and world-renowned psychologist Steven Pinker.

Related links

Attend Professor Welker’s Gifford Lectures

Gifford Lecture Series

Gifford Lectures Edinburgh blog