New College Lectures
In 1986 the College set up a Trust to conduct an annual series of public lectures. This resulted in the formation of the New College Lectures. Each New College lecturer is asked to take up some important issue or aspect of contemporary society and to comment on it from the standpoint of their Christian faith and professional expertise. These lectures have become an important public event and have attracted large interest and generated much discussion.
2015 New College Lectures
Taking Flesh: Christology, Embodiment and the Arts
The most basic of Christian claims about the world is that its Creator has himself taken flesh and dwelt among us. These lectures will trace resonances between this claim and the realities of our shared human condition as manifest in the arts.
Tues 12 May
Opening Event - 6:00pm
Lecture 1 - ‘Clayey lodging’: being human and why matter matters - 7:30pm
The opening lecture considered the peculiar ‘predicament’ of being human; straddling the spheres of material and non-material creaturehood. Trevor Hart argued that the doctrines of incarnation, resurrection and ascension help us to understand that meanings associated with the arts furnishes a healthier picture of human knowing.
Wed 13 May
Lecture 2 - Earthy epiphanies: the incarnation of meaning and the meaning of incarnation in the arts - 7:30pm
In some modern theorizing and criticism surrounding the arts, there are tendencies to grant the meanings and experiences they generate an exalted status. Yet, no matter how sublime or transcendent their semantic freight, all works of art trade in earthy and fleshy realities even as they grant epiphanies transcending materiality. These concepts were considered in relation to painting, music and theatre.
Wed 14 May
Lecture 3 - Heavenly bodies: why Wagner was right about art and wrong about God - 7:30pm
Richard Wagner had a radical vision for the arts that was theologically informed and inspired. Although his beliefs were unorthodox, his quest for a ‘total work of art’ grapples more seriously with the nature and implications of our embodied condition than most contemporary Christian worship, which remains predominantly verbal, individualistic and cognitivist. Might the true ‘hallowing’ of things by God’s creatures necessarily involve a multi-sensory and imaginative ‘total’ engagement?
The Rev Dr Trevor Hart
Trevor Hart is the Rector of St Andrew's Episcopal Church and an Honorary Professor in the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has had a distinguished career (B.A. Durham; Ph.D. Aberdeen), Professor of Divinity and formerly Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, St Andrews. Together with Jeremy Begbie, Hart founded the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, serving as its first Director from 2000-2013. He delivered the 20008 New College Lectures: God & the Artist.
Trevor teaches and publishes in Christian doctrine and systematic theology. His academic interests include the contemporary reformulation of the Christian tradition and the engagement of Christian theology with other disciplines. One of his major research interests has been the nature and roles of human imagining. He is completing a book which explores the claim that imagination may be a primary focus of God’s redemptive action.
Trevor’s main role is now pastoring his Church. He remains an Honorary Professor in the University of St Andrews and continues in scholarship, lecturing and publishing as time permits.
Trevor is married to Rachel, and they have two adult children (Jonathan and Naomi), one teenager (Deborah) and a Border Terrier (Grizzle).
New College Lectures History
Many of the New College Lectures have been published in a variety of ways.
- View a Complete List of the Previous New College Lectures
- View a Complete List of the Published Outcomes
The inaugural New College lectures were delivered in 1987 by Professor Malcolm Jeeves of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. In subsequent years lecturers have come from Australian and overseas universities as well as the wider community. The 2005 New College Lecture series received much attention as it broached the important topic of ‘Church and State’ addressed by The Hon John Anderson, The Hon Kevin Rudd and Rev Dr Andrew Cameron (Moore College). Over 850 people attended over two nights to hear this landmark lecture series. The New College Lectures continue to grow and in 2013 the lectures were attended by more people than ever before with delegates coming from near and far to hear Professor Stanley Hauerwas.