Saturday, August 07, 2004

Austin Farrer Centenary Conference

Although not dealing with his contributions to Biblical Studies, which is my main area of interest in his work, this conference to celebrate the centenary of his birth is, of course, most welcome:

Austin Farrer Centenary Conference

“Austin Farrer was, by common consent, one of the most remarkable men of his generation. He possessed the qualities of originality, independence, imagination and intellectual force to a degree amounting to genius.” (Basil Mitchell). The conference to be held in Oxford to mark the centenary of his birth is designed to celebrate his achievements as philosopher and theologian, and to explore the continued relevance of his work.

When Farrer chose as the topic for his Gifford Lectures The Freedom of the Will, it was because the nature of the human person was central to his philosophical theology. It provided the key analogy to the nature and activity of God. With this clue were associated in his mind, a range of further questions: about the place of images in religious and much other thinking; about the relation between human and divine activity; the role of science in the understanding of the mind and, more generally, the relationship between religious and scientific thinking; the place of evil in the created world as understood by the sciences. All these questions will be addressed in this conference.

The speakers have all done original work on the themes Farrer addressed and will explore his continued relevance in the fields of theology, metaphysics and the philosophy of science. Nancey Murphy is well known for her work on science and religion; David Brown has produced two startlingly original books on tradition and imagination. Douglas Hedley has written illuminatingly on Coleridge’s philosophical theology and is currently working on imagination. Brian Hebblethwaite has made significant contributions to philosophy and theology and has done much to stimulate interest in Farrer in the United Kingdom and Europe, while Ed Henderson is prominent among those who have maintained a thoughtful dialogue with Farrer in the United States. Basil Mitchell was a close friend and colleague of Farrer’s whose own work has always acknowledged his influence and example.

Further enquiries and/or registration to Conference Director:

Dr. Margaret Yee, Nuffield College, Oxford, OX1 1NF, UK


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