Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world

The Invention of God

Who invented God? And what does “inventing” a god mean? This talk will trace the evolution of the deity of the great monotheisms―Yhwh, God, or Allah―by tracing Israelite beliefs and their context from the Bronze Age to the end of the Old Testament period in the third century BCE. We will draw on a long […]

Theology and the Public University

[This event will be hosted in the Social Science Matrix, located at 820 Barrows Hall.] For the past two years, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, has convened a series of workshops and seminars concerning, broadly speaking, the place of theology in the university. From the outset, […]

Critical Public Theology: How to Use and Not to Use the Bible in Contemporary Public Issues

The Bible sometimes plays a major role in current, political discourses, especially in the United States. As a project, public theology supports efforts to let the Bible speak to contemporary, public concerns. But using the Bible in this way involves many potential traps. How can a 2000 year old book provide guidance for social and […]

What’s Theology Got to Do with It? An Eighteenth-Century Chinese Emperor Debating Religions and Christianity

In his Lettres chinoises, indiennes et tartares, Voltaire republished “a note by the good Kangxi Emperor to the Peking Jesuits” as follows: “The emperor is surprised to see you so stubborn in your ideas. Why would you worry so much about a world where you have not been yet? Enjoy the present. Your God must […]