Political Philosopher will be keynote speaker at 2009 Faith Forward Symposium

Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain is the TWU 2009 Faith Forward keynote speaker. She will be speaking on “The Myth of the Sovereign Self” and “Religion, Enlightenment, and the Common Good.”

Three years ago a group of Trinity Western University professors whose interests lie in politics and religion began the Religion, Culture, and Conflict Research Group. The Research Group’s purpose was to seek ways to explore religious traditions in their entirety, and their relation to the larger culture.  Besides their individual research and teaching, the group also began an annual symposium called Faith Forward in partnership with television broadcaster JoyTV 10. For three years now the group has brought together the most educated and earnest representatives from different faiths, and explored the ways in which doctrinal essentials and particulars of faith practice transcend culture or are bound up with it.

The 2009 Faith Forward Symposium called “Religion, Secularism and Politics” will feature keynote speaker Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain. Bethke Elshtain is Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago, and Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Chair in the Foundations of Freedom at Georgetown University. She is a leading expert in the fields of public ethics, religion, and political theory. Her work as a public intellectual and scholar is widely recognized and she is a frequent commentator on issues of religion, ethics, and public life in both popular and scholarly journals, including Dissent, The New Republic, and the Journal of Democracy. She is the author of numerous books, including Sovereignty: God, State, and Self (2008), Just War against Terror (2003), Who are We? (2000), Democracy on Trial (1993), Women and War (1987), and Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought (1981).

When asked why Bethke Elshtain was chosen as keynote speaker for this year’s Faith Forward, Research Group Member and Associate Professor Dr. Paul Rowe says,Jean Bethke Elshtain does not shy away from the difficult religious and ethical issues that have arisen over the past three decades. She approaches them with a consistent and strident vision rooted in the tradition of democratic debate and reasoning. She demands that we see politics through the lens of our responsibility to one another. She combines a respect for democracy with an insistence that we stand by the values that make us human. She is provocative, intelligent, strident, and eminently reasonable.”

The Research Group and TWU invite the public to hear as Bethke Elshtain makes two keynote lectures during her visit to TWU. On Wednesday evening September 23rd, she will be speaking on “They Myth of the Sovereign Self,” and on Thursday evening September 24th will share thoughts on “Religion, Enlightenment and the Common Good”.

What will audiences take away from the 2009 Faith Forward? Rowe responds, “We expect participants to be challenged to understand politics and authority in a new light. We hope that they will respond by thinking through the way our religious and ethical responsibilities relate to political choices. We hope to spark discussions and debates among those who come.”

For more information on the Faith Forward and the Religion, Culture and Conflict group members visit www.twu.ca/rcc

Event at a Glance

What: Public lecture by Jean Bethke Elshtain on "The Myth of the Sovereign Self"

When: Wednesday September 23rd

Time: 7:30 - 9:30 PM

Location: Block Hall, Trinity Western University

Cost: free to attend




What: Public lecture by Jean Bethke Elshtain on "Religion, Enlightenment, and the Common Good"

When: Thursday September 24th

Time: 7:30-9:30 PM

Location: Block Hall, Trinity Western University

Cost: free to attend

Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C., is a provincially chartered, independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university, enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers 42 undergraduate majors, ranging from biotechnology, education, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include nursing, counseling psychology, business, theology, linguistics, and leadership, and interdisciplinary degrees in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Dead Sea Scroll Studies, Developmental Genetics and Disease, and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.


Last Updated: 2009-09-16
Author: Erin Mussolum