Philosophy professor to lecture on justice at EMU

Nicholas Wolterstorff, professor emeritus of philosophy at Yale University and currently a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, will give two lectures on “justice” Thursday, Nov. 13, at Martin Chapel of the seminary building at Eastern Mennonite University.

The first presentation, at 3:30 p.m., will be, “Why Are Christians Suspicious of Justice?” Dr. William Hawk, professor of philosophy at James Madison University, will respond, followed by open discussion. The second, at 7 p.m., will be, “Re-Thinking Love in the New Testament.” Dr. Ted Grimsrud, professor of theology and peace studies at EMU, will give a response, followed by open discussion.

Wolterstorff, a well-known Christian philosopher, has written numerous books on philosophy of religion, political philosophy, aesthetics, education and grief. His most recent book is “Justice: Rights and Wrongs” (Princeton University Press, 2008).

One of his most poignant works is “Lament for a Son,” written as a response to the loss of his 25-year-old son in a mountain climbing accident. His reflections in the wake of that tragedy are deeply personal, expressed with a prayerful anguish with which most bereaved parents will identify. In the book, Wolterstorff refuses to turn from the “demonic awfulness” of death and, as he moves faithfully through grief, discovers new meaning in the Beatitudes, together with a new understanding of a suffering God.

Wolterstorff received his BA from Calvin College in 1953 and his PhD in philosophy from Harvard University in 1956. Prior to retirement, he was Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology. Before that, he taught for 30 years at his alma mater, Calvin College.

The lectures, sponsored by EMU’s Bible and religion department and the EMU Provost’s office, are free and open to the public.


Story by Jim Bishop

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