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Lectures

Knowledge and Faith

  • Winston Herbert Frederick Barnes
  • Winston Herbert Frederick Barnes
1968
University of Edinburgh

Concordant Discord

  • Robert Charles Zaehner
  • Robert Zaehner
1967
University of St. Andrews

“The Gifford Lectures are normally spread over two years. There is, then, a natural break between the first series of lectures (Chapters I–X in this book) and the second one (Chapters XI–XX). Apart from the first two chapters, which serve as an introduction, the first series sets the problem of the varieties of mystical experience and an attempt is made to find a solution largely from the Indian sources.

The Elusive Mind

  • Hywel David Lewis
1966 to 1968
University of Edinburgh

Professor Lewis’s book is a methodical defence of a traditional dualism against its contemporary opponents. He is thoroughly out of sympathy with many of the writers he examines – their arguments are ‘desperate, tortuous and unconvincing’ – and the general intimidating tone becomes somewhat wearisome after a while, even to one sympathetic to the position he defends.

Action and Belief

  • Thomas Malcolm Knox
1966 to 1968
University of Aberdeen

Sir Malcolm Knox delivered his Gifford Lectures in 1966–1968 at the University of Aberdeen. The series was published in two separate volumes under the titles Action and A Layman’s Quest. Knox takes up Lord Gifford’s requirements in the first series of lectures (Action, published in 1968) through a treatment of action (as the core element in ethics) and its connection with religious belief.

Historical Writing and Christian Beliefs

1965
University of Glasgow

Never published, Herbert Butterfield’s 1965 Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow are available (in draft form) from the University of Cambridge (Manuscripts/MS Butterfield 140). The library’s website gives the following detail:

Human Beliefs and the Development of Historical Writing

1965
University of Glasgow

Never published, Herbert Butterfield’s 1965 Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow are available (in draft form) from the University of Cambridge (Manuscripts/MS Butterfield 140). The library’s website gives the following detail:

The Discipline of the Cave

  • John Niemeyer Findlay
1964 to 1966
University of St. Andrews

In The Discipline of the Cave, John Niemeyer Findlay commences the project which will carry him over two series of Gifford Lectures: to argue that all descriptions of the human condition which fail to take into account the mystical and transcendental are necessarily incomplete and misleading. In this first series of lectures, Findlay sketches the methodological program he intends to follow, and then proceeds to examine the realms of physical reality and cognitive functioning in order to demonstrate the truth of his central thesis.

The Transcendence of the Cave

  • John Niemeyer Findlay
1964 to 1966
University of St. Andrews

In The Transcendence of the Cave, John Niemeyer Findlay concludes the project which has carried him over two series of Gifford Lectures: to argue that all descriptions of the human condition which fail to take into account the mystical and transcendental are necessarily incomplete and misleading. In this second series of lectures, Findlay completes his examination of phenomena which can be said to be of this world, and turns to a descriptive examination of the transcendent.

Politics

  • Charles Hendel
1962
University of Glasgow

The Deed and the Doer in the Bible

  • David Daube
1962
University of Edinburgh

The Deed and the Doer in the Bible contains the 1962 Gifford Lectures delivered by David Daube at the University of Edinburgh. In these lectures, Daube explores the nature of the responsibility of individuals for their actions in biblical legal understanding, through such topical questions as causation, intent, negligence, and instigation versus perpetration.

Authority in the Early Church

  • Henry Chadwick
1962
University of St. Andrews

Chadwick opens with two lectures on the ‘vicars of Christ’. The authority of Christ is self-evident to his disciples. With the power of the keys, entrusted to Peter, authority is delegated to all the apostles, and to the entire Church. After Christ’s ascension, the locus of authority is not likely to have been obvious. The difficulty of defining apostleship is in part connected with the difficulty of determining the role of the Twelve. Authority is linked with continuity. St Paul as a charismatic apostle does not fit the normal, i.e., Lucan picture of apostleship.

Belief

  • Henry Habberley Price
1959 to 1961
University of Aberdeen

Belief is concerned primarily with the epistemology of belief under two opponent views as to its nature: (1) the traditional view of belief as a mental event (occurrence), and (2) the view of belief as a disposition.

The Relevance of Science

  • Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
1959 to 1961
University of Glasgow

In The Relevance of Science, Weizsäcker engaged in a dialogue with intellectuals more than with the specialists in the fields he discusses. He diagnoses the ambivalence of the scientific civilization in place at the time the lectures were given.

He also aims to present practical solutions to problems raised in his theoretical work.

First, he presents an account of history from a philosophical standpoint. Then he outlines his own philosophical ideas as a basis for further discussion. He discusses the history of Western thought by examining the history of nature, seeing his lectures not primarily as giving rise to practical advice but as helping to develop our consciousness.

Benedikt Bock
University of Glasgow

Norm and Action

  • George Henrik von Wright
1958 to 1960
University of St. Andrews

Georg Henrik von Wright’s Norm and Action represents a significant step in the development of deontic logic. By introducing the ideas of action and change into the system of formal logic, von Wright is able to bring the idea of norms, especially prescriptions which govern actions, under logical consideration. Much of the volume covers the development of a formal vocabulary of symbolic logic, though careful consideration is also given to the informal language in which norms are typically expressed, as well as to the hierarchical structures within which norms are typically formulated.

The Varieties of Goodness

  • George Henrik von Wright
1958 to 1960
University of St. Andrews

Von Wright’s Varieties of Goodness is constituted by his second set of Gifford lectures, in 1960, entitled ‘Values’, which was the second section of his two-part project, ‘Norms and Values, an Inquiry into the Conceptual Foundations of Morals and Legislation’. He suggests that a full appreciation of the varieties of goodness is essential to attaining a correct philosophical grasp of morality. Thus, he regards his study as a groundwork to a study of ethics, rather than itself a work of ethics.

Psychology and Physics

  • Wolfgang Kohler
1957 to 1959
University of Edinburgh

Never published in full, an excerpt from Wolfgang Kohler’s 1957–59 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh is available in The Selected Papers of Wolfgang Kohler (Liveright, 1971: 189ff.). The full manuscript of the first and second series of Kohler’s lectures is held by the American Philosophical Society (Series V: Notes), and can be requested here.

The Psychology of Values

  • Wolfgang Kohler
1957 to 1958
University of Edinburgh

Never published in full, an excerpt from Wolfgang Kohler’s 1957–59 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh is available in The Selected Papers of Wolfgang Kohler (Liveright, 1971: 189ff.). The full manuscript of the first and second series of Kohler’s lectures is held by the American Philosophical Society (Series V: Notes), and can be requested here.

For Faith and Freedom

  • Leonard Hodgson
1956 to 1957
University of Glasgow

Oxford theologian Leonard Hodgson's first course of Gifford Lectures surveyed the revealed structures that undergird natural theology. For this his second course of lectures, published as For Faith and Freedom volume two and delivered in 1956/7, Hodgson presents a ten-part exposition of key Christian Doctrines which point to the revelation of God in the Person and Work of Christ. Hodgson argues that this revelation is evidenced in the fabric of cosmic history and epitomised by the eschatological and messianic community of the Christian Church.

The Freedom of Will

  • Austin Marsden Farrer
1956 to 1957
University of Edinburgh

Farrer’s work is a strong argument for freedom against determinism, which won wide praise from fellow philosophers, including his Oxford colleague P. F. Strawson. The work is dominated by a didactic assessment of libertarian and determinist arguments, in which the full weight of the determinist argument is given credence. Yet the fulfilment of the work places ultimate credence to the role of creativity and invention as the primary action of the will.

Physics and Philosophy

  • Werner Carl Heisenberg
1955 to 1956
University of St. Andrews

Heisenberg discusses the relationship between the experimental results and the theoretical construction of quantum physics and then to its epistemological and ontological assumptions. The investigation is carried out both from a historical and a theoretical point of view. The main ideas of quantum physics are presented through a comparison with both classical physics and the development, from early Greek philosophy to modern rationalism, of the philosophical quest for a fundamental principle of reality or structure of matter. Special attention is paid to the role played by the notions of ‘probability’ and ‘indeterminacy’ as the central notion of the ‘new’ physical universe, changing dramatically the perception that man has of the status of its reality and of his own place in it.

The Logic of Religious Thinking

  • Herbert Arthur Hodges
1955 to 1957
University of Aberdeen

These lectures consider the proper way to do natural theology in the aftermath of the revolution brought about by analytical philosophy. The traditional metaphysical inquiry characteristic of the subject promoted by Lord Gifford is abandoned in favour of an exploration of religious language and experience. Theistic belief is found to rest on choice and commitment rather than on rational inquiry, and the role of philosophical reflection lies in ex post facto understanding rather than in the genesis of belief. But though it is a sense of mystery, quest for meaning and an interpretative ‘God vision’ that must be accorded central place, theistic belief is still ‘reality asserting’ and remains a viable rival to atheistic conceptions that may appear more in accord with modern conceptions of knowledge.

Gordon Graham

For Faith and Freedom

  • Leonard Hodgson
1955 to 1956
University of Glasgow

This volume represents the first course of Leonard Hodgson's Gifford Lectures presented at the University of Glasgow in 1955/6. Hodgson presents a ten-part exposition. The first five lectures (Part I) review the author's theological and philosophical autobiography, while the second five lectures (Part II) examines the natural world as it relates to metaphysics, free will and theodicy.

History and Eschatology

  • D. Rudolf Bultmann
1954 to 1955
University of Edinburgh

History and Eschatology charts the shift away from an ancient cyclical interpretation of history to teleological and eschatological alternatives. Bultmann explains the fundamental shift in historical understanding introduced in the Judeo-Christian tradition and explains why the disappointment faced by the early church in Christ’s belated return prompted a reinterpretation of history. This brought about a teleological understanding of history which was adopted by later Renaissance and secular traditions. Even Marxism continued to hold onto this teleological approach.

On Selfhood and Godhood

  • Charles Arthur Campbell
1953 to 1955
University of St. Andrews

On Selfhood and Godhood is primarily concerned with laying the foundation for the practice of natural theology within a rationalist framework. Campbell's first approach to his subject is an attempt to define the self as a moral agent in order to demonstrate implicitly reasonable grounds for theological language regarding the soul. In the second half of the work, Campbell investigates the possibility of an objectively verifiable Theism, building parallels between the moral systems discussed in the first half and the religious systems under consideration in the second.

Systematic Theology

  • Paul Tillich
1953 to 1954
University of Aberdeen

For Tillich, theology is required to serve the needs of the Christian Church. This involves both stating the truth of the Christian message and providing a satisfactory interpretation of this truth for each generation. These lectures establish a close correlation with philosophy through the organisation of subject matter in each section. The main theological problems discussed illustrate the systematic consequences of this correlation.

The Form of the Personal

  • John Macmurray
1953 to 1954
University of Edinburgh

John Macmurray asserts the primacy of the practical over the theoretical in The Self as Agent, demonstrating that philosophical analysis should begin with the Self as an agent of action in the world. In Persons in Relation, John Macmurray extends his work in The Self as Agent, showing the Self in proper existence within a community of relational beings and asserting that ‘there can be no man until there are at least two men in communication.’

An Historian's Approach to Religion

  • Arnold Joseph Toynbee
1952 to 1953
University of Edinburgh

Toynbee heralds the historian’s view of the universe as one complementary to those of other professions. The difficulty in assessing the historical context of humankind is to look past the inherent self-centredness which is both essential for survival and sinful. Self-centredness is unavoidable, but it must be minimized when doing history. This is a challenge that plagued Greek historians and, to a lesser degree, Indian historians as well. For Toynbee the foundation of Western histories owes less to these two approaches than to the Judaeo-Zoroastrian view of history, which places the divine at the centre. However, according to Toynbee, Western ideologies have adopted the Judaic concept of being the ‘chosen people’ while discarding the complementary belief in God.

Reconciliation and Religion

  • Herbert Henry Farmer
1951
University of Glasgow

Reconciliation and Religion is the second course of Gifford Lectures given by H. H. Farmer in 1951. Left unpublished until 1998, Farmer never felt completely satisfied with the reception of these lectures, even though they provide much of the theological underpinning for his previous course of lectures, Revelation and Religion, presented in 1950. In this volume, Farmer provides a survey of the uniqueness of the Christian message of reconciliation in what continues to be an expressly Christian interpretation of religion.

Personal Knowledge

  • Michael Polanyi
1951 to 1952
University of Aberdeen

Personal Knowledge is a treatise on the nature and justification of scientific knowledge. Ultimately, it is designed to show that complete objectivity in the exact sciences is delusion and, ‘in fact’, a false ideal with crippling consequences. We inevitably see the universe from a personal point of view and this, in turn, is inevitably shaped by our human interactions. Attempts to eliminate the personal perspective from our view of the world lead to absurdity. ‘Personal knowledge’ inescapably involves the epistemic standpoint of the investigator. It is an intellectual commitment and, however hazardous, ultimately tends to liberate. To count as knowledge, it must be possible for affirmations to be false. However, items of knowledge are not arbitrary, but rather responsible and intelligent commitments based on the investigator’s epistemic standpoint, skills and human interactions.

Jon Cameron
University of Aberdeen

Reason and Belief

  • Brand Blanshard
1951 to 1953
University of St. Andrews

Reason and Belief has as its major theme the relationship between faith and reason. In the effort to contextualize his argument, the author examines the dialectic of faith and reason within the historical and theoretical contexts of the Catholic and Reformed traditions. While in the Catholic tradition, reason holds a relatively high place, Blanshard argues that it is limited by revelation.

Reason and Goodness

  • Brand Blanshard
1951 to 1953
University of St. Andrews

Reason and Goodness has as its major theme the tension between reason and feeling in western ethics. For Blanshard, the issue is of practical importance and is rooted in the ancient ethical tension between knowledge and virtue, as held by the Greeks, and love, as emphasized by the Christians.

Natural Religion and Christian Theology

  • Charles Earle Raven
1950 to 1952
University of Edinburgh

Taking as his first premise that man’s attitude to nature is intimately connected with and powerfully influences his conception of God, an examination of man’s attitude towards nature is therefore a prerequisite in any study of religion. In the first series of lectures, Raven examines man’s attitude toward nature from the time of the early Church to the present.

Heidi Poon
University of Edinburgh

The Modern Predicament

  • Herbert James Paton
1949 to 1950
University of St. Andrews

In text/lectures, Paton argues that the religious person facing the modern predicament cannot afford to sweep aside science as the scientist can sweep aside religion. Thus, he suggests that a binocular rather than a monocular vision may give the most satisfactory view of reality. Paton concludes, then, that the leap of faith—or the leap of doubt—should be made in the light of all that each person can know, not merely of science, but of action and of art and of religion itself.

Kelly Van Andel
University of Glasgow

Revelation and Religion

  • Herbert Henry Farmer
1949 to 1950
University of Glasgow

Revelation and Religion is the first course of Gifford Lectures presented by H. H. Farmer in 1950. The work offers a theologically Christian interpretation of the universal phenomenon of human religious experience and seeks to find a common ground for all religions in the revelation of God in the incarnate Christ.

Causality and Complementarity

  • Niels Henrick David Bohr
1948 to 1950
University of Edinburgh

Noted atomic physicist Niels Bohr gave the 1949 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh under the title “Causality and Complementarity.”  The lectures remain unpublished, but the audio recordings of 9 of the 10 lectures [lecture 2 is unfortunately missing] are maintained at the Niels Bohr Archive (http://nbarchive.dk). A brief summary of Bohr’s Gifford Lectures is published in Complementarity beyond Physics (1928–1962); ed. David Favrholdt; The Complete Works of Niels Bohr, vol.

Experiments in Living

  • Alexander Macbeath
  • Alexander Macbeath
1948 to 1949
University of St. Andrews

In Macbeath’s treatment of ethics and the moral life, he defends the assumption that the main structure of the moral life, the nature of the moral idea and the grounds of moral obligation are in principle the same everywhere and for all people; and that, therefore, only a theory which will account for the moral judgments of all persons can be regarded as a satisfactory ethical theory. He contextualizes his subject through the study of the moralities of contemporary primitive peoples—Trobriand Islanders, a Bantu tribe, Australian aborigines, and Crow Indians. The author draws on such groups partly in order to show the wide range of facts for which ethical theory has to account, and partly because the contrasts between the ways of life and the moral judgments of different peoples are more obvious in the simpler conditions of primitive life. In the end, Macbeath concedes that though the conclusions he arrives at about the moral life do not seem to him to derive their justification or authority from any metaphysical or theological system, they are not without metaphysical implications.

The Discovery of the Transcendental

  • John Wisdom
1948 to 1950
University of Aberdeen

John Wisdom’s lectures were never published and though his papers are held at Trinity College Library, Cambridge (Wisdom/WSDM), the archive is, for the most part, a series of fragments. While there are some incomplete manuscripts, nothing resembling the Gifford Lectures could be found. That said, discussions of the lectures can be found in Renford Bambrough, Truth and God (London: Methuen, 1969); and Stephen E. Toumlin, The Uses of Argument (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958).

The Mystery of Being: Reflection and Mystery

  • Gabriel Marcel
1948 to 1950
University of Aberdeen

Gabriel Marcel delivered two series of ten lectures on the ‘mystery of being’, comprised of ordered reflections on nature and the goal of philosophy from an existentialist standpoint. In the first volume, Reflection and Mystery, he explains that rather than proceeding by expounding a system, his philosophy proceeds in a fashion more akin to a journey. First, he examines the need for philosophy as arising from a certain exigence or disquiet in the seeker, through lived situations, expectations and truth. The lectures go on to explore the distinction between truth and universal validity alongside the relation of a sense of the ego to feeling and to situations in what he describes as our broken world. Volume I concludes with a discussion of the quality of mystery, which not only prompts philosophical enquiry but also coincides with the depths it reaches. Volume II takes the significance of mystery as its starting point, and Faith and Reality as its title. In the first four lectures, Marcel presents an existentialist response to metaphysics, outlining his understanding of existence and being and the value and purpose of ontology. He then distinguishes opinion and faith, characterising faith as ‘believing in’ rather than ‘believing that’. This leads neatly to his existentialist interpretation of Christian themes such as prayer and humility, freedom and grace, and then testimony, death and hope. He concludes by showing the boundaries of philosophy as he sees it, past which the ‘fires of revelation’ can take over.

The Mystery of Being: Faith and Reality

  • Gabriel Marcel
1948 to 1950
University of Aberdeen

Gabriel Marcel delivered two series of ten lectures on the ‘mystery of being’, comprised of ordered reflections on nature and the goal of philosophy from an existentialist standpoint. In the first volume, Reflection and Mystery, he explains that rather than proceeding by expounding a system, his philosophy proceeds in a fashion more akin to a journey. First, he examines the need for philosophy as arising from a certain exigence or disquiet in the seeker, through lived situations, expectations and truth. The lectures go on to explore the distinction between truth and universal validity alongside the relation of a sense of the ego to feeling and to situations in what he describes as our broken world. Volume I concludes with a discussion of the quality of mystery, which not only prompts philosophical enquiry but also coincides with the depths it reaches. Volume II takes the significance of mystery as its starting point, and Faith and Reality as its title. In the first four lectures, Marcel presents an existentialist response to metaphysics, outlining his understanding of existence and being and the value and purpose of ontology. He then distinguishes opinion and faith, characterising faith as ‘believing in’ rather than ‘believing that’. This leads neatly to his existentialist interpretation of Christian themes such as prayer and humility, freedom and grace, and then testimony, death and hope. He concludes by showing the boundaries of philosophy as he sees it, past which the ‘fires of revelation’ can take over.

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