Moral Values and the Idea of God

  • William Ritchie Sorley
1913 to 1915
University of Aberdeen

The subject of WR Sorley's Gifford Lectures is the relation between existence and goodness. Their aim is to make plausible a reversal of the order in which fact and value are normally related, making the world of value fundamental and seeking to establish on its basis the intelligibility of a world of fact. Thus, instead of beginning with science and drawing ethical or evaluative conclusions on the strength of its findings, Sorley bases the nature of ultimate reality on an investigation into value. This amounts to claiming that a knowledge of how reality is, can only be arrived at by asking first how ideally it ought to be.

Sorley identifies happiness, truth, beauty and goodness as the four fundamental values, and pays particular attention to the relation between these and persons. Other important themes discussed include the contrast between intrinsic and instrumental value, the nature if imagination, and pluralism versus monism.

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.

Reconciliation and Religion

  • Herbert Henry Farmer
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 Left unpublished until 1998, Farmer never felt completely satisfied with the reception of these lectures, even though they provide much of the theological underpinning for his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.

The Concept of Nature

  • John S. Habgood
2000 to 2001
University of Aberdeen

The Concept of Nature is an expanded version of John Habgood’s Gifford Lectures delivered at the University of Aberdeen in 2000. The book explores the concept of ‘nature’ under a broad range of considerations. Attention is given to questions concerning the multiple meanings of the concept of ‘nature’, the use of the concept in the natural sciences, the concept in relation to the question of environmentalism and the concept with regard to its meaning in the field of morality. These considerations are brought together and considered in relation to the traditional beliefs about God. Nature is ultimately analysed as ‘a means through which the grace of God can be discerned and received’.


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