Advancing creative and critical scholarship on religion in the world

Public University, Public Values |  The Politics of Truth: A Way Forward

To truly understand the current political landscape, we may need new ways — and a new willingness — to confront the question of “values.” How can scholars in the humanities and social sciences contribute to these efforts? If humanistic study is to make a contribution to public life, do academics need to confront the subject of […]

Theology and the Public University

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, our goal was to challenge narrow conceptions of both secular learning and “theology,” in hopes […]

Public University, Public Values | Maggie Nelson

Public University, Public Values is a new series of talks and conversations co-organized by BCSR and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. The series is prompted by the recognition that the current moment of crisis in the liberal democracies of Europe and North America is, among other things, a crisis of value. The “political” focus […]

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 […]

Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance

Lecture details are forthcoming. Jan Assman is Professor Emeritus, Egyptology Institute, University of Heidelberg and the Department of History and Sociology, University of Konstanz. His English-language books include Moses the Egyptian (1997), The Search for God in Ancient Egypt (2002), Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt (2006), and The Price of Monotheism (2009). The Berkeley […]

"Doing" Political Theology Today: Promises and Pitfalls

Lecture details forthcoming. Ruth Marshall received her DPhil in Politics from Oxford University, and joined both the Department for the Study of Religion and Political Science in 2008, after having spent 8 years living and researching in West Africa. She is the author of Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria (U. Chicago Press, 2009) […]