Education Week 2017 — Humanities & Belief

Date(s) - 08/21/2017 - 08/25/2017
1:50 pm - 2:45 pm

W-111 BNSN




The Humanities Center will sponsor three tracks at BYU’s Education Week this year. The classes will feature BYU faculty from the College of Humanities and highlight various topics. Please join us August 21 – 25, 2017 at 1:50 PM in W-111 Benson Building (BNSN)


Humanities & Belief


Tuesday –Martha Peacock; “Finding Females and Faith in Dutch Art”

My research, which has centered on the relationship of art to the lives of women in the Dutch Republic, has led me on a lifetime journey of integrating the enlightenment I regularly receive from a loving Father in Heaven with my investigations into cultural history.  The moral principles and eternal truths that guide my religious life also help shape the questions I ask and the perspectives I form in regards to the art of the past.  As a result, I find that my research often investigates aspects that are overlooked and under-researched by other scholars.  Nevertheless, I feel that a more eternal perspective allows me to look beyond what is merely fashionable in order to develop a more profound understanding of human history and its shaping of society in both positive and negative ways.  In turn, these insights lead me to apply the moral ramifications of learned history to my own time and to my own eternal obligation to help shape the society around me for the better.

Wednesday — Matt Wickman; “The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb, or, What It Means to Be a Scholar of Faith”

The French philosopher, sociologist, and theologian Michel de Certeau drew upon a long tradition of Christian thought in identifying the empty tomb as the arch symbol of Christian faith. But for de Certeau, the empty tomb represented an enigma. On one hand, the tomb was a concrete place, at once historical and material; and yet, on the other, nothing was there, nothing was present. Its meaning had fled — Christ had fled — requiring believers to become perpetual wanderers in search of the truth. My presentation at Education Week will address what this idea of “faithful wandering” means in three contexts — that of the humanities generally (which exemplifies the pursuit of truth as a kind of searching), that of Latter-day Saint thought concerning the enigmatic union of faith and intellect (where we must seek after truth — seek revelation), and that of my own journey (at once fraught and fulfilling) as a scholar of faith. Read a write-up of this lecture here.


Thursday — Stan Benfell; “What a Medieval, Catholic Poet Taught Me about Being a Latter-day Saint”

When I was in graduate school, I was casting around for a final class one semester, and my adviser suggested that I take a course on Dante’s Divine Comedy.  I agreed.  I loved the course and Dante’s poem, at first appreciating it as a stunning intellectual achievement.  As I began to read it more and more closely, however, I began to see that it had things to teach me about my own religious life, even as I found that my own reading of Dante was profoundly influenced by my religious beliefs and background. The presentation will explore this relationship between my scholarship and my religious faith.

Friday — Mary Eyring; “Models and Mentors: My Journey as a Scholar of Faith”

In my presentation at Education Week, I’ll discuss the ways my scholarship has been shaped by the influence of two extraordinary mentors I was fortunate enough to have in graduate school—neither of them members of the Church but both people of great faith—who modeled rigorous and ethical scholarship and directed me to the writings of great thinkers who found fodder for faith in philosophical inquiry. One of these great thinkers, Adam Smith, wrestled with the self-interested individual’s moral obligation to others in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a book that had a deep impact on me as a graduate student and which motivated the questions that frame my book Captains of Charity: The Writing and Wages of Postrevolutionary Atlantic Benevolence. In this talk, I’ll trace the influence of inspired mentors and models of critical thinking on my research and my own efforts to live a humane, compassionate life.


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