Stephen Barr
"Modern Physics, Ancient Faith"

Minor Hall / University of Virginia
Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm

Why is it widely believed that religious faith has something to fear from or is somehow contradicted by modern science?  Professor Stephen A. Barr, a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute, author of Modern Science, Ancient Faith (University of Notre Dame Press) and a regular First Things essayist on the philosophy of science and religion, debunked this "science against religion" storyline by systematically explaining how there really isn't a conflict between science and Biblical religious traditions.  Instead the origin of this conflict can be traced to its source: a set of ideas he broadly identified as "scientific materialism."

According to Barr, "scientific materialism" draws most of its desciptive and explanatory symbols from 19th century scientific views of a mechanistic world.  From the perspective of 21st century science--or even early 20th century science--this materialist-mechanistic belief system is unrelated to the major theoretical and empirical achievements that define modern science.  Scientific materialism, thus, masquerades as science when, at bottom, it is a simple often totalizing ideology--vigorously promoted by some, unwittingly accepted by others.  This set of ideas contends that all of reality (including humanity) can and must ultimately be understood in terms of matter.  Like other modernist ideologies, proponents claim it to have a salvific and truth-seeking aspiration, which at some future point will ultimately enable us to possess a complete, deterministic, and predictive knowledge of the physical world, including all of humanity.

Bernard McGinn
"The Imitation of Christ and the
 Catholic Mystical Tradition"

Minor Hall Auditorium / University of Virginia
Thursday, February 12, 2009, 5:30PM

The St. Anselm Institute welcomed Bernard McGinn, Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.  Professor McGinn, a leading and still active scholar on the history of Christianity, Christian mysticism, the Doctors of the Church, and apocalyptic thought, did not disappoint his audience.
Bernard McGinn continues to research and write for  the next addition to his multi-volume work on the history of mysticism.  His latest focus is on the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471).  This thin, thought-filled book--an exemplar of the medieval devotional and among the most popular works of Christianity spirituality ever--arose out of the devotio moderna reform movement at the end of the fourteenth century.  This devotional and orthodox reform movement of the Catholic Church--led by clerics but with lay members-- 

W. David Solomon
University of Notre Dame
"The Assault on Human Dignity: Can Bioethics Do Without it?"

Thursday / April 16, 2009 / 5:30-7:00pm
McKim Auditorium / Univ. of Virginia Medical School

David Solomon is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame.  His principal areas of research include contemporary moral philosophy and medical ethics.  His numerous scholarly works center on topics of moral realism and moral dilemmas, but he is equally adept at engaging, enlightening, and elevating contemporary, public discussions that cut to the core of how we understand ourselves as individuals, as workers, as societies, and as thoughtful persons who aim to achieve both happiness and what is good.

The University of Notre Dame Alumni Club, and it local chapter, cosponsored this public talk.

2001-02 Lecture Series #1 of 4
 Hon John T. Noonan, Jr.
"Religion, Freedom, and Catholicism"
October 4, 2001: Newcomb Hall Ballroom
2003-04 Public Lecture Series #1 of 6
“Catholicism and Public Life"
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Editor, First Things
"After Nihilism"
September 30, 2003
2002-03 Public Lecture Series #1 of 6
Catholicism and the Arts
Dana Gioia, poet
“The Catholic Writer Today”
October 2, 2002
2004-05 Public Lecture Series #1 of 6
“Life, Suffering, Healing, Death”
Robert P. George, Princeton University
“The Embryo Question: Justice and Nascent Human Life”
October 5, 2004

"Dante: The Prison of Autonomy,
the Freedom of Obedience"

Our 2008-09 Distinguished Public Speaker Lecture series at the University of Virginia  continued on November 5, when Anthony Esolen, Professor of classical, medieval, and Renaissance literature in the Department of English at Providence College, visited Minor Hall. 
Like Virgil, Esolen skillfully--and with a good bit of humor, animation, poetry,and Italian erudition -- led the audience through a rich philosophical theological  treatise on human autonomy and the nature of freedom.But the journey traveled  was not framed by an arid logic; rather, it began with consideration of something close to all of us --a great tree on Jefferson's Lawn--before turning to  the classic literary terrain Esolen knows quite well, if not by heart: Dante's Divine Comedy.  Plunging quickly into -- as he put it -- the "sludge hole," Esolen directed his audience towards the most treacherous, icy and speechless scenes of Dante's Inferno, then past the condemned though admirable guardian Cato, across (with song and hope) to the Island-Mountain of the Purgatorio, where we met several individuals, including the great Italian poet Sordello who warmly welcomes Dante, a fellow compatriot from Mantua.  Ultimately, like all great guides, Esolen ended the journey at its promised ascent, a deeper admiration and gratitude for  the Beatific Vision of the Paradiso.

2007-2008 Lecture Series #4
Lamin Sanneh
The Fall of Constantinople and the Fall of the Twin Towers
March 26, 2008, 5:00 p.m.
University of Virginia,Newcomb Hall, Commonwealth Room
2007-2008 Lecture Series #3
William Mahrt, Stanford University
What Makes Music Sacred? with vocal accompaniment by early music vocal ensemble Zephryus, directed by Paul Walker, University of Virginia Music Department
February 20, 2008, 5:00 p.m.
University of Virginia,Monroe Hall 110
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