Lecture Books

Christianity and Civilization: Part 1, Foundations

In Foundations (1948), the first part of his two-part Gifford Lecture series entitled Christianity and Civilization delivered at the University of St Andrews, Emil Brunner attempts to justify his conviction that only Christianity is capable of furnishing the basis of a civilization which can rightly be described as human. From the outset of his work, Brunner argues that the complexity of the problem of Christian civilization forces upon us a new kind of approach that seeks to examine foundational questions.

Christianity and Civilization: Part 2, Specific Problems

In Foundations, Brunner attempts to work out something like a Christian philosophy of civilization dealing with some basic principles which underlie all civilization. In the second part, Specific Problems, the author then provides a Christian interpretation of some of the main features of civilized life.

Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter with Hellenism

The nature of the relationship between Christian theology and hellenistic thought, or ‘natural theology’, has been variously presented and debated, often with less care or subtlety than they are due. “[C]harges and countercharges of ‘Hellenization,’ together with the question of whether Hellenization represented ‘apostasy’ or ‘progress,’ have shaped theological controversy, philosophical speculation, and historical interpretation” (p. 21).

Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism

In Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism, Tanner is both critiquing and building on Max Weber’s classic thesis from The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905). Weber argued that Protestant Christianity, especially double predestinarian Calvinism, supplied a virtue-based work ethic that capitalism co-opted for its own production-driven ends. Tanner does not dispute that the capitalism of Weber’s day very well might have gained impetus from strands of Calvinist Christianity.

Collected Works, Volume III (Forthcoming)

Professor Grünbaum's Gifford Lectures have not yet been published. That said, they will be included in the third volume of his collected works. The first volume was published in 2013, and the second and third are forthcoming. Here is the description of the first volume (with reference to the second and third) from the publisher's website: 

Concordant Discord

The first chapter provides a broad overview of an approach to a natural theology derived from the study of comparative religions, which Zaehner makes the topic of his study. Zaehner pays special attention to the Second Vatican Council’s statements on non-Christian faiths, pointing out the areas in which the underlying beliefs and assumptions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam both do and do not appear to be compatible with those of Christianity.

The Construction of Reality

Since the consolidation and professionalization of the sciences, science has become increasingly isolated from philosophy (a relationship that is even more divided with regards to theology) and as a result philosophy is increasingly concerned with its ability to speak to the concrete concerns of the world. The rigid disciplinary boundaries enforced by the academe have allowed for great advances but left each increasingly isolated from the other.

Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions

Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions is based on the Gifford Lecture series delivered by Walter Burkert at St Andrews University in 1988–89. The preface reviews the mandate delivered to lecturers by Lord Gifford’s will, remarking on the developments that have occurred in the field of ‘Natural Theology, in the widest sense’ in the roughly one hundred years between the date of the will and the date of Burkert’s lecture series.

Critique of Earth

Critique of Earth continues Arend’s investigation into Marx’s transformation of the critique of religion into the critique of political economy (or the transformation from the critique of heaven to critique of earth). This second series of lectures is concerned more specifically with Marx’s transition from the critique of law and politics to his critique of political economy. In the first series, Arend had concerned himself with the exposition of the young Karl Marx. The second series concerns itself with Marx’s ‘mature’ thought.

Critique of Heaven

Critique of Heaven addresses the writings of the young Karl Marx in relation to what Arend terms ‘critical theology’. The series takes its departure from Marx’s claim that ‘the criticism of heaven is transmuted into the criticism of earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of right, and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics’.

Dealing with Darwin: Place, Politics, and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution

In this compilation of his 2014 lectures, David N. Livingstone investigates the reactions to Darwinism by groups sharing Scottish Calvinistic heritage in the decades around 1900 from a geographical perspective (p. ix). He highlights the forces at work in the different ‘speech spaces’ (p. 2) where knowledge claims are made. The fact that Darwinisim, like ‘The Enlightenment’, is not an undifferentiated whole, but an imagined unity collecting diverse ideas and movements under one banner, adds a further level of complexity to these interactions. 

Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam

Part 1 reveals the many sacred aspects of nature and society. The inherent symbolism of the many interpretations and metaphors found in the natural and society aspects are reviewed. The symbols and interpretations are often conflicting, even contradictory, as the aspects are seen from different viewpoints depending on the culture dominant in the area prior to the advance of Islam. Regional variation even leads to a given aspect or symbol being viewed quite favourably in one region but viewed negatively in another.

The Deed and the Doer in the Bible

David Daube twice presented the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh: first in 1962, and subsequently in 1964. The Deed and the Doer in the Bible consists of the ten lectures Daube delivered in 1962 (plus a supplementary chapter), prepared for publication by his longtime student Calum

The Discipline of the Cave

John Niemeyer Findlay's double series of lectures, The Discipline of the Cave and The Transcendence of the Cave, aim to convince the reader of the inseparability of the transcendent from everyday life. The first series, The Discipline of the Cave, begins this task by describing the inadequacy and deceptiveness inherent in epistemologies which do not adequately take the transcendent into account.

The Divine Flame

In the first series of lectures, published as The Living Stream, Hardy aimed to show the ways in which religious experience fits into the background of ‘our knowledge of the evolution of life.’ (p. 9) This volume, the companion to the first, aims to construct a ‘natural theology on more scientific foundation that hitherto.’ (p. 10) However, confessing his relative ignorance of theology Hardy does not attempt to put forward any judgements on the relative merits of various doctrines but rather more fundamental issues.

Divine Personality and Human Life

In Divine Personality and Human Life, his second series of Gifford Lectures, Webb examines the notion established in God and Personality, namely that a ‘Personal God’ is one with whom worshippers may enjoy a personal intercourse in relation to the various spheres of activity in which human personality manifests itself.

The Domain of Natural Science

In his series of twenty lectures, Hobson attempts to define and delimit the domain of Natural Science in order to assess its the extent to which it must influence or be influenced by the spheres of religion and philosophy. In doing so he concerns himself with its historical genesis, its functions, its possibilities and its limitations.