What Is Christian Humanism And Why Is It Important?

By March 4, 2013Faith, Issues

By Jennifer Watton. Trinity Western University (TWU) professor of English and modern languages, Jens Zimmermann, Ph.D., has held the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Interpretation, Religion and Culture since 2006. His research examines the role of theories of interpretation in assessing the interrelation of religion and culture. One of his particular interests is the role of religion in providing ethical guidelines and definitions for our essential humanity in post-Christian Western culture. During the 2012-2013 academic year, together with history professor, Darren Provost,, Ph.D., he is co-hosting the lecture series Re-invisioning Christian Humanism and Higher Education.

The free public lectures are intended to help Christians and non-Christians understand humanism as a religiously founded concept that has shaped Western values—specifically the ethos of education and the humanities.

The invited speakers will explore current cultural issues related to humanism, the humanities and the university, as informed by history, literature, theology and philosophy, and speak to the plausibility and need for humanistic education in the present global pluralistic environment.

Zimmermann explains that the goals of the lectures are twofold—“first, to create an understanding that Christian humanism, throughout its patristic, medieval, Renaissance and modern variations, seeks to unfold the basic gospel message that God became human, lived and died, so that we could become fully human.” The second goal is, “to suggest the importance of Christian humanism for current discussions about higher education,” he said.

“Western university education is rooted in Christian humanism,” said Zimmermann. “The liberal arts, together with the originally Christian universities, and even the Enlightenment university, depended on the idea that human intellectual work and scholarship participate in God’s restoration of our humanity.”
The series brings world-renowned scholars to Trinity Western to explore the roots of Western culture and to un-pack questions like why Christian universities are needed, whether there are fundamental values for democracy, and what justice really means.

The Re-envisioning Christian Humanism and Higher Education Lecture Series runs from March 4 – 18 at Trinity Western University. Sponsored by the Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture, the lectures are free and open to the public.

Trinity Western University

Northwest Auditorium

6 – 7:30 pm, followed by light refreshments.

Torrance Kirby, Ph.D., McGill University

The Place of Patristic Thought in Christian Humanism in Early Modern England

Monday, March 4, 2013

Martin Schlag, Ph.D., Pontifical University

Christian Humanism from a Catholic Perspective

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Ph.D., Yale University

The Christian Humanism of John Calvin

Monday, March 18, 2013

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