Gifford Lectures

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Gifford Lectures
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The Gifford Lectures are an annual series of lectures which were established in 1887 by the will of Adam Gifford, Lord Gifford. Their purpose is to "promote and diffuse the study of natural theology in the widest sense of the term â€“ in other words, the knowledge of God." A Gifford lectures appointment is one of the most prestigious honors in Scottish academia. The lectures are given at several Scottish universities: University of St Andrews, University of Glasgow, University of Aberdeen and University of Edinburgh. They are normally presented as a series over an academic year and given with the intent that the edited content be published in book form. A number of these works have become classics in the fields of theology or philosophy and the relationship between religion and science.

List of lectures



  • 1891 George Gabriel Stokes Natural Theology
  • 1896–98 Cornelis Tiele On the Elements of the Science of Religion, {{ISBN|0-404-60480-3}}
  • 1900–02 William James The Varieties of Religious Experience, {{ISBN|0-679-64011-8}} (several editions in print)
  • 1909–10 William Warde Fowler The Religious Experience of the Roman People, {{ISBN|0-8154-0372-0}}
  • 1911–12 Bernard Bosanquet The Principle of Individuality and Value, {{ISBN|0-527-10036-6}}
  • 1913–14 Henri Bergson The Problem of Personality
  • 1915–16 William Mitchell Ramsay Asianic Elements in Greek Civilization, {{ISBN|0-89005-173-9}}
  • 1919–21 George Stout Mind and Matter pub. 1931
  • 1921–23 Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, {{ISBN|0-404-60474-9}}
  • 1923–25 James George Frazer The Worship of Nature {{ISBN|1-56459-532-3}}
  • 1926–27 Arthur Eddington The Nature of the Physical World, {{ISBN|0-472-06015-5}}
  • 1927–28 Alfred North Whitehead Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology, {{ISBN|0-02-934570-7}}
  • 1928–29 John Dewey The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action, {{ISBN|1-4179-0845-9}}
  • 1934–35 Albert Schweitzer The Problem of Natural Theology and Natural Ethics (unpublished)
  • 1937–38 Charles Sherrington Man on His Nature, {{ISBN|0-521-06436-8}}
  • 1938–40 Reinhold Niebuhr The Nature and Destiny of Man: A Christian Interpretation , (2 vol set): {{ISBN|0-664-25709-7}}
  • 1947–49 Christopher Dawson part 1:Religion and Culture {{ISBN|0-404-60498-6}} part 2: Religion and the Rise of Western Culture (1950) {{ISBN|0-385-42110-9}}
  • 1949–50 Niels Bohr Causality and Complementarity: Epistemological Lessons of Studies in Atomic Physics, {{ISBN|1-881987-14-0}}
  • 1950–52 Charles Earle Raven Natural Religion and Christian Theology
  • 1952–53 Arnold J. Toynbee An Historian's Approach to Religion, {{ISBN|0-19-215260-2}}
  • 1954–55 Rudolf Bultmann History and Eschatology: The Presence of Eternity, {{ISBN|0-8371-8123-2}}
  • 1961–62 John Baillie The Sense of the Presence of God
  • 1973–74 Owen Chadwick The Secularisation of the European Mind in the 19th Century, {{ISBN|0-521-39829-0}}
  • 1974–76 Stanley Jaki The Road of Science and the Ways to God, {{ISBN|0-226-39145-0}}
  • 1978–79 Sir John Eccles The Human Mystery, The Human Psyche, {{ISBN|0-387-09954-9}}
  • 1979–80 Ninian Smart "The Varieties of Religious Identity", published as Beyond Ideology: Religion and the Future of Western Civilisation, {{ISBN|0-06-067402-4}}
  • 1980–81 Seyyed Hossein Nasr Knowledge and the Sacred, {{ISBN|0-7914-0177-4}}
  • 1981–82 Iris Murdoch Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, {{ISBN|0-14-017232-7}}
  • 1983–84 David Daiches God and the Poets, {{ISBN|0-19-812825-8}}
  • 1984–85 Jurgen Moltmann God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God, {{ISBN|0-8006-2823-3}}
  • 1985–86 Paul Ricoeur "Oneself as another", {{ISBN|0-226-71329-6}}
  • 1986–87 John Hick An Interpretation of Religion, (2nd ed.): {{ISBN|0-300-10668-8}}
  • 1987–88 Alasdair MacIntyre Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: {{ISBN|0-7156-2337-0}}
  • 1988–89 Raimon Panikkar Trinity and Theism: {{ISBN|978-1-57075-855-3}}
  • 1989–90 Mary Douglas Claims on God: published (much revised) as In the Wilderness: {{ISBN|1-85075-444-6}}
  • 1991–92 Annemarie Schimmel Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam: {{ISBN|978-0791419823}}
  • 1993–94 John Polkinghorne Science and Christian Belief: Theological Reflections of a Bottom-up Thinker, {{ISBN|0-281-04714-6}}
  • 1995–96 G. A. Cohen If you're an Egalitarian, how come you're so Rich?, published by Harvard University Press under the same title: {{ISBN|0-674-00693-3}}
  • 1996–97 Richard Sorabji Emotions and How to Cope with Them, published as Emotion and Peace of Mind: From Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation, {{ISBN|0-19-825005-3}}
  • 1997–98 Holmes Rolston III Genes, Genesis and God, {{ISBN|0-521-64674-X}}
  • 1998–99 Charles Taylor, Living in a Secular Age, published as A Secular Age: {{ISBN|0-674-02676-4}}
  • 1999–2000 David Tracy This side of God
  • 2000–01 Onora O'Neill Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics
  • 2001–02 Mohammed Arkoun Inaugurating a Critique of Islamic Reason
  • 2002–03 Michael Ignatieff (The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror), {{ISBN|0-691-11751-9}}
  • 2003–04 J. Wentzel van Huyssteen Alone in the World? Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology, {{ISBN|0-8028-3246-6}}
  • 2004–05 Dame Margaret Anstee, Stephen Toulmin, and Noam Chomsky, delivering a series of lectures dedicated to Edward Said who was scheduled to give the 2004–05 series before his death in 2003.
  • 2005–06 Jean Bethke Elshtain Sovereign God, Sovereign State, Sovereign Self
  • 2006–07 Simon Conway Morris Darwin 's Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation and Jonathan Riley-Smith The Crusades and Christianity
  • 2007–08 Alexander Nehamas "Because it was he, because it was I": Friendship and Its Place in Life
  • 2008 Robert M. Veatch, Hipprocratic, Religious and Secular Medical Ethics: The Point of Conflict
  • 2008–09 Diana Eck The Age of Pluralism [April–May 2009]
  • 2009–10 Michael Gazzaniga Mental Life [October 2009]
  • 2009–10 Terry Eagleton The God Debate [March 2010]
  • 2010–11 Professor Peter Harrison Science, Religion and the Modern World, published as The Territories of Science and Religion {{ISBN|978-0226184487}}
  • 2010–11 Rt Hon Gordon Brown The Future of Jobs and Justice
  • 2011–12 Lord Sutherland of Houndwood David Hume and Civil Society
  • 2011–12 Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch Silence in Christian History: the witness of Holmes' Dog. In 2012 the Gifford Lectures also supported a one-off joint lecture between the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, Jim Al-Khalili Alan Turing: Legacy of a Code Breaker
  • 2012–13 Bruno Latour "Once Out of Nature" - Natural Religion as a Pleonasm
  • 2012–13 Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and HumanityWEB

, 2012-13 Gifford Lecture
, Professor Steven Pinker: "The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity"
, University of Edinburgh College of Humanities and Social Science website
,weblink August 4, 2013
  • 2013–14 Baroness Onora O'Neill From Toleration to Freedom of Expression
  • 2013–14 Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth Making representations: religious faith and the habits of language
  • 2013–14 Justice Catherine O'Regan "What is Caesar's?" Adjudicating faith in modern constitutional democracies
  • 2014–15 Professor Jeremy Waldron One Another's Equals: The Basis of Human Equality
  • 2014–15 Professor Helga Nowotny Beyond Innovation. Temporalities. Re-use. Emergence.
  • 2016–17 Professor Richard English Nationalism, Terrorism and Religion
  • 2016–17 Professor Jeffrey Stout Religion Unbound: Ideals and Powers from Cicero to King
  • 2017–18 Professor Dr Agustín Fuentes Why We Believe: evolution, making meaning, and the development of human natures
  • 2017–18 Professor Elaine Howard Ecklund Science and Religion in Global Public Life
  • 2018–19 Professor Mary Beard The Ancient World and Us: From Fear and Loathing to Enlightenment and Ethics


St Andrews




  • Stanley Jaki, Lord Gifford and His Lectures: A Centenary Retrospect (1987). Scottish Academic Press, {{ISBN|0-7073-0465-2}}.
  • Larry Witham, The Measure of God: Our Century-Long Struggle to Reconcile Science & Religion (2005), HarperSanFrancisco hardcover: {{ISBN|0-06-059191-9}}; reprinted as The Measure of God: History's Greatest Minds Wrestle with Reconciling Science and Religion (2006), paperback: {{ISBN|0-06-085833-8}}.

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