Gifford Lectures

History of the Gifford Lectures

The educator and historian Jacques Barzun described the Gifford Lectures as virtuoso performances and "the highest honor in a philosopher's career." For over a hundred years the Gifford Lecture series has been one of the foremost lecture series dealing with religion, science and philosophy. In his 1885 will the jurist Adam Lord Gifford, convinced that true, felt knowledge of God when acted upon generated human well-being and progress, bequeathed £80,000 to the four Scottish universities (Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and St. Andrews) for the establishment of a series of lectures dealing with the topic of natural religion. In dealing with their particular area of interest and expertise, lecturers are to discuss natural theology as a science, that is, "without reference to or reliance upon any supposed special exceptional or so-called miraculous revelation." The lectures began in 1888 and, with the exception of the years during World War II, 1942-1945, have been delivered continuously since that time. Presenters were to be appointed for a period of two years and could be reappointed for two additional periods of two years each, but for no more than six years in a given city. In this manner the subject was to be examined and promoted by different minds.
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  1. The Knowledge of God and the Service of God According to the Teaching of the Reformation

    Karl Barth

    Wipf and Stock / NOV 2005

    "These lectures on that teaching [of the Reformed church on natural theology] will not take the form of an independent outline, but will be connected with a 'document' of the Reformation. Further,... read more »
  2. The Moral Order of the World in Ancient and Modern Thought

    Alexander Balmain Bruce

    Wipf and Stock / FEB 2004

    A.B. Bruce's second series of Gifford Lectures, delivered in Glasgow (1898) focus on an historical survey of the Moral Order. The first series of lectures had been on Providential Order, which... read more »
  3. The Providential Order of the World

    Alexander Balmain Bruce

    Wipf and Stock / MAR 2004

    A.B. Bruce's first series of Gifford Lectures, delivered in Glasgow (1897), has in view several thoughts: that God cares for humans individually and collectively; that His nature is such, and that... read more »
  4. The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers

    Werner Jaeger

    Wipf and Stock / SEP 2003

    The new and revolutionizing ideas which the early Greek thinkers developed about the nature of the universe had a direct impact upon their conception of what they called, in a new sense, 'God' or... read more »

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