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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. 

2014 New College Lectures: Exploring the Territories of Science and Religion

Professor Peter Harrison 9th -11th Sept 2014 

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Overview

Some see science and religion as in direct competition with one another, offering incompatible explanations for the same phenomena.  Conflict is seen as inevitable.  Projecting this idea back in time, the whole of Western history can be understood as a protracted battle between science and religion.  Science is now winning the battle, in spite of minor religious resistance. 

But historians of science have demolished this idea of a perennial conflict between science and religion, instead demonstrating how science has been supported by Christian ideas and assumptions.  In part, this reflects a different understanding of the boundaries of science and religion.  The 2014 New College Lectures will focus on the changing boundaries of science and religion, and consider how these positive interactions of the past, offer insights into science-religion relations in the present.

New College Lecturer, Professor Peter Harrison

Lecture 1: Is Christianity a Religion?  

Lecture 2:  The Invention of Modern Science

Lecture 3:  Relating Science and Religion

Speaker:  Peter Harrison BSc, BA (Hons), PhD (Qld), MA (Yale), MA, DLitt (Oxford), FAHA. 

Peter Harrison was educated at the University of Queensland and Yale University. In 2011 he moved back to Queensland from the University of Oxford where he was the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. At Oxford he was a member of the Faculties of Theology and History, a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre where he continues to hold a Senior Research Fellowship. He has published extensively in the area of cultural and intellectual history with a focus on the philosophical, scientific and religious thought of the early modern period. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Yale, and Princeton, is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2011 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.

New College Lectures History

Many of the New College Lectures have been published in a variety of ways.

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.