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New College Lectures

Personal Identity

Traditionally, a person’s identity was more predetermined than it is today: where they would live, what they would do, the type of person they would marry, their basic beliefs. In recent years, identity has increasingly become a personal project, enabled by social media to project a person’s chosen image to the outside world. Despite the attractive possibilities that these new opportunities present, many modern factors weigh against a satisfying sense of self: perceptions of personal significance, relationship breakdown, the pace of life itself, multiple careers, consequent social mobility. For increasing numbers of people, modern life has become an environment of identity angst: “being true to yourself” can seem more like a cruel taunt than a piece of realistic advice. 

The 2017 New College Lectures will consider the thorny issue of personal identity.

While exploring commonly-held beliefs that underpin much of modern life, the three lectures will consider the Bible’s answers to the most pressing and personal questions of the postmodern world: 

Who are you? What defines you? What makes you, you?

Tues 12 Sep

Opening Event - 6:00pm

Complimentary canapés will be served. Entry is FREE | RSVP Essential

Lecture 1 - Identity Angst: Unstable Foundations - 7:30pm

Wed 13 Sep

Lecture 2 - The Relational Self: You are a social being - 7:30pm

Thurs 14 Sep

Lecture 3 - The Narratival Self: You are your story - 7:30pm

Dr Brian Rosner

Dr Brian Rosner BA (Hons), ThM (Dallas), PhD (Cambridge)is Principal of Ridley College in Melbourne, having lectured previously at Moore Theological College and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.  He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, the Pillar commentary on 1 Corinthians, Greed as Idolatry, Paul and the Law, and most recently, Known by God: A Biblical Theology of Personal Identity.  Heis a member of the Christian Standard Bible Translation Revision Committee and a Humboldt research fellow in Germany.  He is also passionate about promoting the Christian faith in the public sphere and is a fellow of The Centre for Public Christianity. In recent years his articles have appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian and he has been interviewed on Compass and The Spirit of Things.

You can view a summary of 2016's lectures and download audio here.

New College Lectures History

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.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. 

Lecture summaries and audio from the more recent New College Lectures are available under previous lectures.