The Areopagus Lectures

Inviting our neighbors in central Virginia to join MARS HILL AUDIO in a continuing conversation about the Church’s role in a post-Christian society.

Spring 2018 Areopagus Lecture

What: Gisela H. Kreglinger — “Victorian Wisdom for Contemporary Plights: George MacDonald, Gender, & Freedom”

When: Friday, April 13 at 7:30 pm

Where: The Covenant Upper School 175 Hickory Street, Charlottesville VA 22902

This spring’s Areopagus Lecture featured theologian Gisela H. Kreglinger. Dr. Kreglinger discussed how George MacDonald’s lesser-known fairy tale, The Day Boy and the Night Girl, exposed unhelpful gender stereotypes operating in Victorian society. By contrasting MacDonald’s treatment of gender in his story with that of the popular Victorian ballad, “The Lady of Shalott,” Dr. Kreglinger argues that MacDonald avoids the increasing Victorian tendency to over-sexualize gender differences while teaching his readers that both sexes suffer within forms of confinement, the freedom from which cannot be achieved without the aid of the other. Stream and listen to the entire lecture below or from the MARS HILL AUDIO app.

Gisela Kreglinger on George MacDonald and gender

Gisela H. Kreglinger

Gisela Kreglinger holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of St. Andrews and is the author of Storied Revelations: Parables, Imagination, and George MacDonald’s Christian Fiction (Pickwick Publications, 2013). Dr. Kreglinger grew up on a family-owned winery in Franconia, Germany where her family has been crafting wine for many generations. Kreglinger was featured on Volume 134 of the Journal, where she discussed her recent book The Spirituality of Wine (Eerdmans, 2016).

If you would like to listen to this interview, Volume 134 can be purchased individually as a digital download.


Since 1993, MARS HILL AUDIO has sought to encourage the pursuit of wisdom concerning the cultural consequences of the Gospel. Toward that end, the hundreds of interviews distributed by MARS HILL AUDIO have explored two principal questions: 1) What are the distinctive features of the culture of modernity? and 2) How are those features in conflict with Christian cultural faithfulness? 

One such feature is the assumption that a “religion” is an essentially private, subjective, and non-rational set of beliefs and practices. Thus public life (which is presumed to be a neutral space) must be cleansed of all religiously grounded contaminants. The past several decades have witnessed a more extensive commitment to the de-Christening of the West — the quest for a society freed of interference from Christian claims about human nature and social order. As a result, many Christians are more perplexed than ever about the public consequences of the Gospel.

We believe this is a time for the Church to recognize and remedy the mistake of assenting to the separation of theology from public life. Because the radical privatizing of the claims of Christ is contrary to the ends of human nature and the purposes of God in history, the modern project of radical secularization is inevitably destined to fail. As its failure becomes more obvious (either with a bang or a whimper) the institutions that sustain social, political, and economic life will be open to re-imagination and re-configuration in ways that acknowledge that in Christ, all things hold together. 

In launching the Areopagus Lectures, MARS HILL AUDIO hopes to stimulate conversation among our neighbors about how to navigate this time in the Church’s history with wisdom, courage, and hope. 

Previous Lectures

For our first lecture, pastor-theologian Peter J. Leithart joined us to discuss the topic of “The Cultural Consequences of Christian Division.” Dr. Leithart focused on the pivotal role that the 1529 Marburg Colloquy played in Christian division among Protestants, particularly in the debate between Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli over the Real Presence in the Eucharist. As a result of the impasse between Luther and Zwingli (and their subsequent refusal to commune at the Lord’s table), the Colloquy of Marburg shifted the Eucharist from something that Christians primarily do together to something about which Christians think or believe a certain way.

Last fall’s lecture featured canon-theologian Simon Oliver on the often-misunderstood topic of the doctrine of creation. Dr. Oliver focused on the patristic and medieval understanding of creation ex nihilo and discussed how developments in the early modern period deviated from this traditional account of creation.

Follow the links below to read more about our previous lecturers and to access recordings of their talks.

Spring 2017 Areopagus Lecture

Fall 2017 Areopagus Lecture