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2011 Seminars

Cognitive Science of Religion and Christianity
July 25 - August 5, 2011

Directed by
Dr. Justin L. Barrett, Oxford University

Funding provided by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust

Seminar Description

The seminar will equip participants to conduct research in the area of cognitive science of religion particularly as applied to Christianity.  As such it represents an attempt to catalyze scholarly engagement between cognitive science of religion and Christian belief, practice, and theology.  Secondarily, it represents a tactical move to develop a multi-disciplinary community of Christian scholars who have the requisite expertise to (1) participate in the cognitive science of religion (CSR) area, (2) critically respond to implications drawn from the area, and (3) teach their constituencies about the area from an informed and balanced perspective instead of a defensive and divisive posture so that productive dialog between Christianity and these new scientific approaches to studying religious phenomena may be encouraged.   

About the Director

Justin L. Barrett is senior researcher at University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology & Mind, and a lecturer in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology.  He is a research fellow of Regent’s Park College, Oxford.  He specializes in the cognitive science of religion, psychology of religion, and cognitive approaches to the study of cultural phenomena.  His research interests and activities range from the origins of religion in human pre-history to the origins of religion in children, and also include general considerations of how humans understand non-human agents, virtue development, and cognition of the visual arts.  He is author of Why Would Anyone Believe in God? (AltaMira, 2004) and the forthcoming Born Believers: The Science of Childhood Religion (The Free Press) and Cognitive Science, Religion, & Theology (Templeton Press).

Guest Speakers

Dr. Kelly James Clark (PhD, Notre Dame) is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College. He has been visiting professor at Oxford University, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Notre Dame. A member of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, he is program director of Values and Virtues in China, 2010-2013, and was program director, Science and Religion in China from 2006 to 2009. He is the author, editor, or co-author of more than fourteen books and author of over fifty articles; his books include Return to Reason, The Story of Ethics, and 101 Key Philosophical Terms of Their Importance for Theology. He has edited a series of books for Chinese audiences, including Faith, Knowledge and Naturalism, Reading Thomas Aquinas, Happiness, and Human Nature in Chinese and Western Culture.

Glenn Weaver is currently serving as the psychology department chair at Calvin College. He grew up in New Jersey, received a BA in psychology from Wheaton College (Illinois), MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, and MA and PhD in experimental and social/personality psychology from Princeton University. In addition to his academic work, he is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.  Professor Weaver has research interests in the areas of Alzheimer's dementia, addiction recovery, psychological and theological understandings of human persons, and the nature of explanation in psychological science. He has recently spent time in Northern Ireland studying psychological and theological issues in efforts to promote reconciliation and peace between Protestant and Catholic Christians.

Application Information

Applicant Information, including who may apply and how to apply can be found here. The application deadline was February 4, 2011. We are no longer accepting applications.

2011 Seminars Index

Seminars @ Calvin
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seminars@calvin.edu.