October 6,1999 - Newswire Release

by Dennis Brown

For more information, contact the Erasmus Institute at (219) 631-9346 or at erasmus@nd.edu *
p. Efforts to bridge the gap between the dominant secular culture of higher education and the intellectual traditions of Catholicism will be examined in a conference Oct. 13-14 (Wednesday-Thursday) at the University of Notre Dame.p. “Higher Learning and Catholic Traditions” has been convened in conjunction with the rededication of Notre Dame’s historic Main Building after a two-year renovation and restoration. Jointly sponsored by the Provost’s office and the University’s Erasmus Institute, the conference will take place in the McKenna Hall auditorium.p. What is often termed the “secularization of knowledge,” the effective divorce between religious belief and scholarly and scientific work, began in the 19th century. On the eve of the 21st century, that separation prevails in the major American and European universities, except in those disciplines explicitly concerned with the study of religion.p. In recent years, some progress has been made in overcoming this gap, and the conference at Notre Dame has been organized in hopes of expanding on those efforts.p. “Just as our Main Building has been restored, this conference seeks to be renovatory,” said James Turner, professor of history and director of the Erasmus Institute. “It aims to examine, deepen and perhaps extend the various recent efforts to consider possible new relationships between religious faith and the academy.”p. The conference will feature presentations from seven leading scholars. The schedule follows:
p. *Wednesday, Oct. 13

9 a.m. ? Alasdair MacIntyre, professor of philosophy at Duke University, “Catholic Universities: Dangers, Hopes, Choices.”
10:45 a.m. ? Alan Wolfe, professor of political science and director of the Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, “Catholicism and Sociology: Elective Affinity or Unholy Alliance?”
2 p.m. ? Rev. John Polkinghorne, president emeritus of Queen’s College at the University of Cambridge, “Christian Faith in the Academy: The Role of Physics.”
3:45 p.m. ? Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Yale University, “Not All the Nations Furiously Rage Together.”
Thursday, Oct. 14
8:30 a.m. ? Nicholas Boyle, head of the Department of German at the University of Cambridge, " ‘Art,’ Literature, Theology: Learning from Germany."
10:15 a.m. ? Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University, “Catholic Traditions and the Dilemmas of Universal Rights.”
Noon ? Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago, “What Have We Learned?”p. Established in 1997 and named in honor of the 16th-century Catholic scholar and reformer Desiderius Erasmus, the Erasmus Institute seeks to reinvigorate the role of Catholic intellectual traditions in contemporary scholarship by offering residential fellowships, sponsoring a publishing program, originating cooperative faculty development programs, organizing conferences and colloquia at colleges and universities nationwide, and arranging summer seminars for graduate students.p. Although the institute is primarily concerned with Catholic intellectual life, it also supports research deriving from the intellectual traditions of other Christian churches, Judaism, and Islam.

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