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Lectures

The Mystery 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).

Religion and the Rise of Western Culture

  • Christopher (Henry) Dawson
1947 to 1949
University of Edinburgh

As the first half of a two-year series, these lectures concern the Christian cultural history of Europe with a level of detail which the lectures on 'Religion and Culture' (1947) could not accommodate. They focus on the Roman adoption of Christianity and the influence of these developments on northern European culture during the early medieval period. As the second half of a two-year lecture series, these lectures focus on the middle and late medieval periods. Contrary to their common handle, the 'dark ages' of European history constitute a verdant period of religious culture. They focus on the institutions of European society for which Christianity is largely responsible, including civic organization, universities, and professional guilds.

Religion and Culture

  • Christopher (Henry) Dawson
1947 to 1949
University of Edinburgh

Humanism fails to withstand the radical secularization of the humanist tradition. These lectures discuss the historical role of religion and religious knowledge in society, the need to study the phenomenon of religion as a source of cultural knowledge, and the potential of spiritual life to operate as an instrument of cultural change.

Christianity and Civilization

  • Emil Brunner
1946 to 1948
University of St. Andrews

In Christianity and Civilization, First Part: Foundations, Brunner attempts to work out something like a Christian philosophy of civilization dealing with some basic principles which underlie all civilization. The author approaches his task systematically, beginning with the ‘problem of being’, and then, having established God as creator the world and thus the primary reality and the world as a secondary dependent being, he turns to and builds on civilization’s relation to truth, time, meaning, man’s place in the universe and so forth.

Realms of Value

  • Ralph Barton Perry
1946 to 1948
University of Glasgow

In Realms of Value Perry discusses the fields of philosophy of the natural and social sciences, aesthetics, philosophy of education, and philosophy of religion in the context of the “realms” of value. The task of his study is to bring unity and order into these areas, relying on a fundamental definition of value, defining it as any interest in any object.

Hellenistic Religion - The Two Phases

  • Arthur Darby Nock
1939 to 1940
University of Aberdeen

According to the obituary written by E.R. Dodds and Henry Chadwick published in The Journal of Roman Studies, vol. 53, Parts 1 and 2 (1963), 168–9, "Nock was dissatisfied with these lectures: his opinions on many questions were changing, and except for the study of Posidonius, printed in JRS XLIX (1959), he withheld them from publication.

Mind and Deity

  • John Laird
1939 to 1940
University of Glasgow

'Mind and Deity' is the second course of Gifford Lectures offered by John Laird, the first being his 1939 'Theism and Cosmology'. In this, his 1940 series, Laird explores metaphysics and theism, wrestling in particular with issues relating to belief in a personal God, Divine Providence and the nature of mind and value.

The Primacy of Faith

  • Richard Kroner
1939 to 1940
University of St. Andrews

In The Primacy of Faith, Kroner tries to show that natural theology cannot be prohibited by dogmatics but also that a merely rational faith, as provided by Kant, is not tenable. According to the author, reason needs the supplement of revealed religion. As such, faith and reason do not contradict but rather complement each other. In this relationship, faith has the primacy. It surpasses the power of reason and completes its undertaking. Kroner calls this standpoint a modern conservatism. It does not inaugurate a new orthodoxy, but it shows the legitimate right of supernatural and even super-rational faith—of that faith which was and is and he trusts will ever be the basis and the source of our life. He further asserts that the tendency towards the humanization of religion is passing; it led finally to the dehumanization of humankind, and thus it refuted itself. For Kroner, faith should neither be orthodox nor heterodox; it should not be dogmatic at all. It should be universal and individual at the same time, preserving the ancient message but also reconciling it with the thinking mind of today.

Eos; ou, Platon et l'Orient

  • Joseph Bidez
1938
University of St. Andrews

Eos; ou, Platon et l’Orient investigates the influence of Eastern doctrines on Plato’s dialogues and on the Academy’s intellectual environment, with special attention to Caldean cosmology and Zoroastrian doctrines. It reconstructs the various ways in which Plato became acquainted with Eastern philosophical and religious sources to show that the mediation provided by Pythagorism can only account for part of that influence. It also analyzes Plato’s treatment of cosmological and astrological topics in several of his Dialogues to provide further evidence for the thesis that, in some of the central themes of Plato’s philosophy, an Asian influence can be detected.

The Nature and Destiny of Man: Human Nature

  • Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr
1938 to 1940
University of Edinburgh

The Nature and Destiny of Man has as its major theme the need for a synthesis of Renaissance and Reformation insights dealing with the possibilities and limits of human existence, in light of the Christian understanding of grace and forgiveness.

The Nature and Destiny of Man: Human Destiny

  • Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr
1938 to 1940
University of Edinburgh

The Nature and Destiny of Man has as its major theme the need for a synthesis of Renaissance and Reformation insights dealing with the possiblilities and limits of human existence, in light of the Christian understanding of grace and forgiveness.

Theism and Cosmology

  • John Laird
1938 to 1939
University of Glasgow

‘Theism and Cosmology’ is the first course of Gifford Lectures offered by John Laird, the second being his 1939–1940 ‘Mind and Deity’. In his 1938–1939 course, Laird explores the general subject of metaphysics and theism, with a particular interest in the relationship between the Divine and the created order.

From Morality to Religion

  • William George De Burgh
1937 to 1938
University of St. Andrews

In From Morality to Religion, de Burgh attempts to distinguish the difference between morality and religion. Having shown (in chap. 1) the nature of the distinction between morality and religion, and (chaps. 2, 3, 4) the dualism arising from within ethical experience, the author turns to consider first the positive approach to religion furnished by that experience (chap. 5), and second, the answer given by religion to the unsolved problems of ethics, and especially that of the relation between duty and goodness (chap. 6). In the end, through an illustration of the Christian elements in present-day morality from the concepts of personality and humanity, each of which, in its modern usage, is a legacy from Christianity, de Burgh argues that when severed from its source in religion, morality degenerates into an empty form. Subsequently, once a developed system of morals has become autonomous, the author contends that it reacts against religion and questions the value of religious praxis, despite the fact that religion enjoys a prerogative as theoria and that it claims not to destroy but to fulfil morality. In conclusion, then, de Burgh observes the relativity of moral judgments contrasted with religious theoria of God as the absolute good.

Man on His Nature

  • Charles Scott Sherrington
1937 to 1938
University of Edinburgh

In setting out on his study of Man on His Nature, Sherrington establishes that his purpose is assessing the advances of the natural sciences as a frame for the development of natural theology. In establishing this as his intention, it makes sense that he should orientate his work around a study of the sixteenth-century physician Jean Fernel. Beginning with Fernel’s own philosophical penetrations into the understanding of the nature of man and then drawing on a variety of philosophical theories, Sherrington uses the study as a point of reference for his own physiologically enlightened study of the body and the mind and their place in the universe. Ultimately, Sherrington argues that science has cleared away a superstitious and dependent universe. This leaves humanity with ultimate responsibility, recognition of which he hopes will lead to altruism.

The Knowledge of God and the Service of God according to the Teaching of the Reformation

  • Karl Barth
1937 to 1938
University of Aberdeen

Barth presents a series of twenty lectures divided into two sections. The first is concerned with Reformed teaching on the knowledge of God, and the second on the Reformed teachings on the service of God. While the primary intention of Lord Gifford was for the lectures to be delivered on the subject of natural theology, Barth presents a sermon on Reformed theology as it stands in direct conflict with the tenets of natural theology. Drawing on Articles from the Scottish Confession of 1560, Barth details the knowledge of God and man we can have and the manner in which we might know it according to Reformed theology. Knowledge of the nature of God and man’s nature and relation to God can only be established in the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. The potential worth and purpose of man can only be understood in light of this, according to Barth. In Part II, Barth explores Reformed teachings on the service of God as must be undertaken through the one true Church, which has Jesus Christ as its founder, sustainer and figurehead. From the revelation of God springs the Church that serves God in order to meet this revelation anew. For the Reformed theologian, the foundation for all knowledge of God is prayer, and it is in this claim that Barth locates the principle antagonism with natural theology.

Fact and Destiny

  • William Hocking
1936 to 1937
University of Glasgow

William E. Hocking’s Gifford Lectures, titled ‘Fact and Destiny’, were originally scheduled for the 1936-1937 academic year, but according to the minutes of the University Senate (dated 21 January 1937 and 18 March 1937) were actually delivered to the University of Glasgow between 20 April and 20 May 1938 and in January 1939. 

The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers

  • Werner Jaeger
1936 to 1937
University of St. Andrews

Jaeger’s basic thesis is that the thought of the pre-Socratic ‘philosophers’ is more recognisably theology than philosophy. Their concerns were with the nature of the divine, and their speculations about the origin of the world were intimately bound up with accounts of the origin of the divine. Thales gives an account of the gods within physical objects; Anaximander defines the divine as ‘the boundless’; Xenophanes pictures God as omnipotent and impassible.

Christian Morality

  • Herbert Hensley Henson
1935 to 1936
University of St. Andrews

In Christian Morality, Henson argues that the moral presuppositions of Western civilization are historically Christian and that Christianity is confessedly that version of natural religion which is the most highly developed. The author contextualizes his discussion of Christian morality within New Testament authority and criticism, the Jewish legacy and ancient and modern history. More specifically, he examines Christian morality in relation to sex, race, the State and industrialism, and he suggests that Christian morality influences and is influenced by the economic system and therefore proves fundamental to the ‘franchises of humanity’. In the end, Henson posits Jesus as the norm of Christian personal morality, though he acknowledges the interpretative difficulties of assessing that norm as well as the fact that the natural religiousness of humankind is not without challenge.

Foundations of Ethics

  • William David Ross
1935 to 1936
University of Aberdeen

In his twelve-lecture series, Ross explores several debates regarding the core issues in moral theory. Moral life, he observes, has been regarded as either obedience to laws or as a striving after goods. Moral theories have been further subdivided into reaction and causal theories regarding the meaning of ethical terms. The third distinction he examines separates moral theories into the naturalistic and non-naturalistic. The notion of right is given primacy over the good in the order of discussion, and examined in light of various accounts of it. The nature of obligation is examined in relation to the concept of right, and the accounts of the rightness of an action are raised following from this. Questions of knowledge and motive arise in relation to what the concept of right is. Indeterminacy and determinism are assessed as to their bearing on moral philosophy, forming an interlude before the nature of goodness is examined. A notion of ‘goodness’ is essential in the study of ethics, and Ross explores its nature as a predicate, its meaning and the sort of property it is. The final lecture builds upon this to present an account of moral goodness: the types of things that constitute the class of the morally good. Though goodness and rightness are independent, a completely good act must be a right act.

The Human Situation

  • William McNeile Dixon
1935 to 1937
University of Glasgow

Delivered in Glasgow from 1935–1937, Dixon’s course of Gifford Lectures, entitled The Human Situation, explores the life of the human soul and contrasts a rationalist/scientific understanding of the world with Dixon’s own poetic/spiritualist understanding. Alongside Plotinus and Leibniz, he asserts that all nature is animate with endless congeries of monads that are ever in pursuit of becoming.

The Problem of Natural Theology and Natural Ethics

  • Albert Schweitzer
1934 to 1935
University of Edinburgh

Albert Schweitzer, Albert Schweitzer: An Anthology, ed. Charles R. Joy. Boston: Beacon, 1947 contains the following note on Schweitzer's first course of lectures:

Symbolism and Belief

  • Edwyn Robert Bevan
1932 to 1934
University of Edinburgh

Symbolism and Belief and Holy Images, based on Bevan’s Gifford Lectures, examines the relationship of symbolical conceptions to unseen Reality or Divine Being, explaining how religious beliefs have been interpreted literally or/and symbolically. He reviews the different approaches to religious symbols from the ancient Greek philosophy through the medieval period to contemporary world religions. Symbolism is well balanced in the sense that it analyzes concrete symbols like height, time, light, spirit and the wrath of God, while discussing general theories of religious symbols and concluding that belief in God can be justified not by reason but by faith alone. Holy Images deals with idolatry and image-worship in ancient paganism and in Christianity.

Holy Images

  • Edwyn Robert Bevan
1932 to 1934
University of Edinburgh

Symbolism and Belief and Holy Images, based on Bevan’s Gifford Lectures, examines the relationship of symbolical conceptions to unseen Reality or Divine Being, explaining how religious beliefs have been interpreted literally or/and symbolically. He reviews the different approaches to religious symbols from the ancient Greek philosophy through the medieval period to contemporary world religions. Symbolism is well balanced in the sense that it analyzes concrete symbols like height, time, light, spirit and the wrath of God, while discussing general theories of religious symbols and concluding that belief in God can be justified not by reason but by faith alone. Holy Images deals with idolatry and image-worship in ancient paganism and in Christianity.

Nature, Man and God

  • William Temple
1932 to 1934
University of Glasgow

In Nature, Man, and God, Archbishop Temple sets the groundwork for his “Philosophical Theology” by exploring issues related to the study of mind, and concluding with the person and work of Christ in what can be described as a Christocentric metaphysic.

Sacraments of Simple Folk

  • Robert Ranulph Marett
1930 to 1932
University of St. Andrews

In Sacraments of Simple Folk, Marett explores sacraments anthropologically and defines them ‘as any rite which by way of sanction or positive blessing invests a natural function with a supernatural authority of its own’. He further says that by ‘ritual’, an anthropologist understands an organized technique, approved by the society concerned, for dealing with the incalculable element in any critical situation of human life. Having situated his text within an anthropological framework, in the remainder of his work, Marett examines particular natural rituals—eating, fighting, mating, educating, ruling, judging, covenanting, healing and dying—and argues for their religious significance.

The Living God

  • Nathan Söderblom
1930 to 1931
University of Edinburgh

Söderblom’s The Living God is an intensive study of the phenomenology of religious practice and experience. He declares his purpose to have been ‘an attempt to indicate the universal application of the belief in revelation’. Touching on primitive religions, Vedic traditions, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Söderblom focuses on the relation of religion and history; the pursuit of salvation through either self-attainment or devotion to a deity; the tolerance of polytheism and the intolerance of monotheism; religious experience and ascetic practice; and the uniqueness of a theology of incarnation for understanding divine revelation. Ultimately, he suggests the three most import factors in the history of religions are: genius, history and spiritual personality.

The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy

  • Etienne Henri Gilson
1930 to 1932
University of Aberdeen

The central thesis of Etienne Gilson’s Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy is that, contrary to the commonly held view, the Middle Ages did indeed have a distinctive philosophy of its own and that philosophy was the distinctively Christian one. Through comparisons with Plato and Aristotle, he principally examines Aquinas, Augustine, Duns Scotus and St Bonaventure. He is concerned with the relation of faith to reason in light of the very concept of a Christian philosophy, and shows how the mediævals drew upon but radically recast Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics of being, necessity and contingency in light of the spirit of Christianity. Through accounts of nature and beings as created by being itself, Gilson demonstrates that the mediævals’ accounts of providence, liberty and morality are rational yet distinctively Christian in inspiration. Though the spirit of mediæval philosophy floundered, Gilson suggests that that is where we should look in order to resurrect a Christian philosophy.

The Heritage of Idealism

  • John Alexander Smith
1929 to 1931
University of Glasgow

John Alexander Smith’s two courses of Gifford Lectures (1929–1930 and 1931) were never published. An outline (see Summary) from the Glasgow University archives is all that is available.

The Philosophy of the Good Life

  • Charles Gore
1929 to 1930
University of St. Andrews

In The Philosophy of the Good Life, Gore examines the concept of the good life as it is entertained by the famous moral leaders of humankind—Zarathustra, the Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Socrates, Plato and the Stoics, the Jewish prophets and, finally, Jesus Christ. Gore also considers the function of faith in all knowledge and the special function of faith in the moral life. In the end, the author argues for Jesus’ claim on faith and the spirit of intellectual humility.

The Quest for Certainty

  • John Dewey
1928 to 1929
University of Edinburgh

The Quest for Certainty addresses the relationship between philosophy’s theories of knowledge and scientific discoveries in the natural world. Dewey argues that philosophy has failed in its modern sense to properly engage and rationalise the division between scientific advancement and its own theories of knowledge. He advocates that a process of ‘experimental inquiry’ should be enlisted, using the empirical analysis of a scientific model, to formulate reflective knowledge of human experience. Such a process would equip society for revolutionary change in moral, social and economic dimensions of daily life. Moreover, Dewey argues that philosophy has been too reflective, focusing on accommodating the conclusions of science and long-held belief systems, rather than constructively looking forward to develop achievable paths to what society might become.

Process and Reality

  • Alfred North Whitehead
1927 to 1928
University of Edinburgh

First published in 1929, Whitehead’s Process and Reality was his magnum opus and the product of his Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1927-1928. The work itself is a kind of speculative metaphysics which attempts to set forward “a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted” (p. 3). On Whitehead’s account, however, attending to the reality of the world entails that there can be no position above or outside of the process of becoming.

Scientific Theory and Religion

  • Ernest William Barnes
1927 to 1929
University of Aberdeen

The World Described by Science and Its Spiritual Interpretation

In his series of twenty lectures, Barnes presents an informed philosophical overview of contemporary scientific theory. In light of common responses to science in light of religious considerations, he aims to give a sober account of the rationality of religious belief in light of the developments of scientific theory.

The Faith of a Moralist, vol. 1

  • Alfred Edward Taylor
1926 to 1928
University of St. Andrews

In volume one of The Faith of a Moralist, Taylor examines whether ethics is a wholly autonomous science, neither requiring support or completion from religion nor affording any grounds for religious and theological convictions. For Taylor, the question at stake is whether the moral life presents us with functions which demand the “other world” as an environment, i.e., whether the “good” is such that it cannot be obtained “in this life”. If the moral life is marked by the tension between the temporal and the eternal, there must be an element of otherworldliness in practical moral living, and Taylor insists that we have to ask what kind of otherworldliness is morally legitimate. For him, otherworldliness is either the death of all morality or the vital breath of moral life. In the end, according to the author, we only come to a right understanding of this world by incorporation of patterns originally felt to belong to the “other” and “unfamiliar”, such as loving rightly and contemplation.

The Faith of a Moralist, vol. 2

  • Alfred Edward Taylor
1926 to 1928
University of St. Andrews

In volume two of The Faith of a Moralist, the theme of Taylor’s text/lectures is natural theology and the positive religions. At the outset, in connection to his previous lectures, the author points out that there are three great supernatural implications for the moral life: God, grace and eternal life. Taylor argues that these may be called the central themes of the great historical world religions. In the end, Taylor posits that the source of the apparent incompatibility of so many of the central themes of the great positive religions with a rationalistic metaphysic seems to lie in a rooted prejudice of the metaphysical mind against ascribing reality and significance to the historical. The positive religions ascribe so much more reality to the temporal than is conceded by many metaphysicians. Thus, the author argues, there exists the ultimate tension between history and religion, the temporal and the eternal, reason and faith.

The Nature of the Physical World

  • Arthur Stanley Eddington
1926 to 1927
University of Edinburgh

Chapters 1–11 of these lectures expound recent advances in physics in non-technical language, while chapters 12–15 discuss their philosophical implications. Eddington believes that physical theories are about relating numerically measurable quantities, and that their structure reflects the structure of human thought itself. He further argues that the substratum of everything is mental in character.

The Sciences and Philosophy

  • John Scott Haldane
1926 to 1928
University of Glasgow

In The Sciences and Philosophy Haldane discusses in 20 lectures the relation between the sciences and philosophy. The first part of the book, “The Sciences”, gives an account to the axioms or general conceptions of different parts of knowledge or science. In the second part “Philosophy” the different and apparently contradictory conceptions of the sciences and religion are discussed, focusing on their relations to each other.

Essays and Addresses on the Philosophy of Religion

  • Friedrich von Hügel
1924 to 1926
University of Edinburgh

In this edited series of lectures, von Hügel examines the inter-connectedness between finite aspects of human existence (reason) and the reality of the existence of God. Von Hügel aims to offer an analysis of this tension as examined by different historical philosophers and theologians, addressing the issue from different angles, namely epistemology, ethics, and institutional religion.  The lectures, intended for a religious audience, do not attempt to prove the existence of God; much rather, they seek to reveal the link between belief in God and patterns of the mind.

The Attributes of God

  • Lewis Richard Farnell
1924 to 1925
University of St. Andrews

In his The Attributes of God, Lewis Farnell characterizes himself as interested in mediaeval theology, as a positivist, and as someone guided by the spirit of comparative religion. His task is to discover the origins which may influence religious faith and how changing attributes ascribed to divine nature evolved. In his first section, Farnell studies the early emergence of theism. The author shows that although there has been an overall linear progression form polytheism to monotheism, polytheistic elements often remain embedded in higher religions.

The Place of Minds in the World

  • William Mitchell
1924 to 1926
University of Aberdeen

Mitchell gave two courses of Gifford Lectures, the first examining ‘The Place of Minds in the World’, and the second offering a treatise on their power. The published volume, however, incorporates material from the second course into the first. He begins his enquiry into the place of minds by noting their three places and the tension between them. Minds are in the world around us, and they are in the ‘cavity of the skull. They are also in a third place that is neither of these: the mind’s own place. There are gulfs between thoughts in the head and minds, between phenomena and nature and between knowledge and its objects. Mitchell examines such gulfs, their hold over us and how they might be overcome. The evolution of mental life, he concludes, advances nature to a world of objects and their power. Yet nature does not simply exist in the mind; rather, he ends with the thought that a growing thing is known from what it grows to.

The Power of Minds in the World

  • William Mitchell
1924 to 1926
University of Aberdeen

According to David Boucher, 'The first volume of [William Mitchell's] Gifford Lectures, published in 1933, when he was seventy-two ... was almost impenetrable.... The typescript of the second volume of the Gifford Lectures was destroyed in the Blitz, and despite trying to reconstruct it into old age Mitchell was unable to accomplish this task.' David Boucher, 'Mitchell, William (1861–1962)', in Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Philosophers, vol. 2, ed. Stuart Brown (Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 2005), 688–9.

The Nature of Religion

  • William Paterson Paterson
1923 to 1925
University of Glasgow

W. P. Paterson’s The Nature of Religion assesses the place and importance of religion—its diversity and sometimes seeming incoherence—in human history and experience. Beginning from the history of religions, Paterson argues toward the practical efficacy and truthfulness of theism. In a manner faithful to his role and stature as a Scottish divine, his apologetic issues with particular regard for the Christian faith but also with noted interest in the other theistic religions of the world. He recognizes the complexity of religion in its relation to the immense variety of human personality, temperament, experience and individual and social motivations.

The Worship of Nature

  • James George Frazer
1923 to 1925
University of Edinburgh

James George Frazer approached his Gifford Lectures from the perspective of an anthropologist. He focused on rituals involving Sky-, Earth- and Sun-worship in ancient and contemporary ‘civilizations’. His favourite ancient examples are based on classical texts from Vedic, Babylonian, Greek and Roman scholars. Frazer’s contemporary examples, however, are drawn largely from accounts given by missionaries travelling across ‘uncivilized’ Africa and isolated parts of India during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, recounting the rituals of local ‘tribes’ they met. Basing his theories on classical and missionary accounts combined, Frazer explains how it is that various religious communities throughout time and space have deified the Sky, Earth and Sun. The ubiquity of such nature-worship throughout human history leads him to conclude that all societies, at some point in time, attempt to explain the world around them by ascribing meaning and personality to natural phenomena. Frazer notes that, in this regard, the ‘civilized’ ancient Greeks and Romans are no different from the ‘uncivilised’ Bantu ‘savages’ living across Africa. This proves, he says, that Europeans and their ancestors are not as different from the ‘savages’ as his early twentieth-century audience might have been apt to think. As an anthropologist, Frazer was one of the first Gifford Lecturers to use the series as a space in which to describe and compare various religious ‘gods’ as opposed to engaging in a theological discourse about the ultimate nature and meaning of any one particular ‘God’.

Theism and Thought

  • Arthur James Balfour
1922 to 1923
University of Glasgow

Following the warm and enthusiastic reception of his first course of Gifford Lectures, Balfour was asked to give a second course some nine years later, following the end of the First World War, entitled Theism and Thought. The lectures which make up the majority of the volume Theism and Thought complete the project begun in his first course (published in the volume Theism and Humanism in 1914), by buttressing his initial argument with a thorough defence of common sense philosophy and the reliability of sense perception.

Emergent Evolution

  • Conwy Lloyd Morgan
1921 to 1922
University of St. Andrews

The theme of Lloyd Morgan’s text, as the title suggests, is emergent evolution. According to the author, emergent evolution works upwards from matter, through life, to consciousness which attains in humankind its highest reflective or supra-reflective level.

Studies in the Philosophy of Religion

  • Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison
1921 to 1923
University of Edinburgh

Part 1 of this volume is a discussion of aspects of religion in general: moral, social, magical. Part 2 is an account of the development of the religion of the people of Israel to Temple Judaism, and of the influence on its formulation of law, prophecy, and eschatology. Part 3 is a historical analysis of the development of Christianity from the ‘historic Jesus’ to ‘the Christ of the Creed’.

The Idea of Immortality

  • Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison
1921 to 1923
University of Edinburgh

In this volume, Pringle-Pattison gives a historical review of how the idea of immortality is expressed in different ages, and examines the corresponding foundation for the hope of immortality for each period. He defines ‘eternal life’ as experienced through the participation in the being of Christ; it is a spiritual attitude intended for the here and now.

The Domain of Natural Science

  • Ernest William Hobson
1920 to 1922
University of Aberdeen

Hobson’s series of twenty lectures are concerned with establishing how the relation between the complex of knowledge and ideas denoted by the term Natural Science ought to relate to the other factors of human experience with which religion and philosophy are concerned. Hobson first gives a general account of what is essentially involved in the scientific outlook, surveying its methods as a means to establishing its domain.

A Faith That Enquires

  • Henry Jones
1919 to 1921
University of Edinburgh

In A Faith That Enquires, Sir Henry Jones seeks to demonstrate the importance of a rational and scientific investigation into Religion.  The structure upon which he builds his argument finds its foundation in Lord Gifford’s injunction that Religion should be pursued and studied both logically and scientifically in order to prove whether it is true or false.  Without relying upon special revelation or supernatural intervention, this type of enquiry has the benefit of allowing both adherents and non-adherents to verify whether religious faith is indeed something

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