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Enlightenment

MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 35

Glorious Abasement: John Betz on the Prophetic Critique of J. G. Hamann

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Theologian John Betz discusses the eighteenth-century philosopher and translator, Johann Georg Hamann, critic and contemporary of Immanuel Kant and other prominent figures of the German Enlightenment. Hamann, even from the early stages of the Enlightenment, saw and argued that the project of modernity would lead to its own destruction. Hamann argued that reason could not, by itself in a pure form, give a complete account of reality, for he saw that the modern ideal of “pure reason” is a fiction. Reason, he argued, is always embedded within an historical culture and language from which one can never fully be detatched. In his evaluation, Hamann anticipated the postmodern critics of the twentieth century; however, he avoided the nihilism of postmodernism by observing the revelatory character of language and history. By focusing on the divine kenosis or humility of God, who creates, reveals, and condescends to humanity through His Word, Hamann maintained that man’s pursuit of truth is always contingent on God’s Word in special and general revelation through history and creation. Throughout the interview, Professor Betz describes the centrality of God’s condescension in Hamann’s understanding of knowledge and reason. It is through the humility of God in his condescension to communicate to man that Hamann recognizes the Promethean project of modernity to attain enlightenment from man’s resources alone. $6

Areopagus Lecture 2

Simon Oliver: Creation, Modernity, & Public Theology

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Many contemporary discussions that make reference to creation are framed in light of assumed conflicts between science and religion and are frequently concerned with giving an account of the earth’s origins. But is talking about origins synonymous with what the church fathers meant by the act of creation? Does providing scientifically plausible accounts of how the earth began or pointing to staggering probabilities as evidence for intelligent design provide an adequate understanding of the relationship between God and creation? Do we as modern Christians truly understand what the church fathers meant by “nothing” in the phrase creation ex nihilo? In this Areopagus Lecture, Simon Oliver explains the traditional understanding of the doctrine of creation and how some of our modern divisions and disputes are products of an insufficient framework for creation that developed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. $4.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 115

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Guests on Volume 115: Arlie Russell Hochschild, on how the reliance in personal life on professional consultants establishes market-shaped models for imagining personal identity; Andrew Davison, on why a fully Christian approach to apologetics requires a Christian understanding of reason; Adrian Pabst, on why only a Christian understanding of God and Creation can provide the ground for understanding the order of reality; Gary Colledge, on the centrality of Christian belief to the writings and social concerns of Charles Dickens; Linda Lewis, on how Charles Dickens assumed in his readers a basic Biblical literacy, and so constructed his stories in a sort of conversation with the teaching of Jesus; and Thomas Bergler, on how the Church's captivity to youth culture eclipses concern for (or even a belief in the possibility of) Christian maturity.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 108

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Guests on Volume 108: Thomas Albert Howard, on why many nineteenth-century Europeans were nervous about the shape of American religious life; Jean Porter, on how natural law provides a rationale for the rule of law and for legislative and judicial authority; Peter Augustine Lawler, on how neither ancient philosophy nor modern science explains human nature (but the Logos does); Hans Boersma, on why Christians should reject the modern separation of Heaven and Earth and recover a "sacramental ontology"; Felicia Wu Song, on how online communication systems shape relationships and community; and Elias Aboujaoude, on how life online makes us think we’re bigger, badder, and smarter than we really are.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 96

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Guests on Volume 96: David A. Smith, on the beginnings of the National Endowment for the Arts and the capacity of the arts in a democracy for combatting atomistic individualism; Kiku Adatto, on how images, words, and ideas interact in a visually saturated culture and on how the image of a person's face in a photograph has the capacity for intimate representation of inner personhood; Elvin T. Lim, on how presidential speeches have been dumbed down for decades and why presidents like it; David Naugle, on the deeper meaning of happiness, the disordering effects of sin, and the reordering of love made possible in our redemption; Richard Stivers, on the technologizing of all of life; and John Betz, on the critique of the Enlightenment offered by Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788), and why it still matters to us.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 83

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Guests on Volume 83: Barrett Fisher, on film noir and its revealing portrayal of human moral confusion; Dick Keyes, on contemporary cynicism, how it's destructive, and how it might be resisted; Richard Lints, on a distinctively theological approach to understanding human identity; Paul McHugh, on how the discipline of psychiatry needs to mature, and on "stories" as diagnostic tools; Paul Weston, on lessons from Lesslie Newbigin on interfaith dialogue and the attacks on Christianity from scientism; and Paul Walker, on how the forms of Renaissance choral music communicate rich theological concerns.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 63

Guests on Volume 63: Charles M. Sennott, on the dwindling Christian presence in the Middle East; Nicholas Orme, on the nature of childhood in the Middle Ages; J. Budziszewski, on the testimony of conscience and What We Can't Not Know; Albert Borgmann, on the necessity of deliberate reflection about how technology shapes everyday life; James A. Herrick, on The Making of the New Spirituality: The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition, and on Mormonism, gnosticism, and the significance of Luke Skywalker; Darrell Cole, on contemporary cynicism about the possiblity of justice and the just war tradition; and Jackson Lears, on the deeper cultural roots of contemporary attitudes toward gambling.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 58

Guests on Volume 58: Hubert Dreyfus, on the limits of artificial intelligence; Francis Fukuyama, on biotechnology and the arrogance of "participatory evolution"; Gordon Preece, on the underlying assumption of Peter Singer's ethical ideas; Gijs van Hensbergen, on the marvelous architecture of Antoni Gaudí; Ted Prescott, on why the idea of beauty was rejected in the 20th century, and how it is returning; and Bradley J. Birzer, on the mythic roots of Middle Earth in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion and on Tolkien's idea of myth.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 52

Guests on Volume 52: Tom Shippey, on J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century; Jeffrey Meyers, on George Orwell’s illuminating use of language; Ralph McInerny, on natural theology and the "subjective turn" in philosophy; Daniel Ritchie, on William Cowper and how we know the world; Ian Ker, on John Henry Newman and the purpose of education; Mark Schwehn, on teaching, community, and virtue; Gilbert Meilaender, on ways to think about work; and Tiina Nunnally, on the prose of Sigrid Undset.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 49

Guests on Volume 49: David Lyon, on the reconfiguration of religion against the backdrop of communication technologies and consumerism; Christopher Wolfe, on homosexuality in American public life; Patrick Fagan, on how sexuality became separated from parenthood; Joseph E. Davis, on the struggle to preserve the self in a fragmenting era; Morris Berman, on The Twilight of American Culture; Frank Burch Brown, on Good Taste, Bad Taste, and Christian Taste: Aesthetics in Religious Life; Robert K. Johnston, on neglected opportunities for film and theology to interact; and Ralph C. Wood, on the peculiar heroism of Frodo Baggins of Bag End.

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