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News from the Hill March 31, 2009 | back to index

Theologian Philip Sheldrake to deliver Jonathan Edwards Lecture April 27th

Dr. Philip Sheldrake

Philip Sheldrakes’s Edwards Lecture, entitled “Spirituality and Social Change: Rebuilding the Human City” will be given on Monday, April 27, 2009, at 5 p.m. in Wilson Chapel on the Andover Newton campus in Newton Centre, MA.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available.

Professor Sheldrake, a well known authority on Christian spirituality, was appointed William Leech Professorial Fellow in Applied Theology at Durham University in the U.K. in 2003. He has been a senior fellow or visiting professor at a number of American universities and theological schools, including the University of Notre Dame.

Sheldrake has been described by Boston College Magazine as “a practiced, lucid, and attentive lecturer, with gifts for both aphoristic directness—‘the desert fathers did not think of themselves as monks: they were just serious Christians’—and teasing fan dance (‘Ignatius wrote an autobiography—well, perhaps he didn’t—we’ll come to that in a minute—in any case, there is an autobiography’).

Trained in history, philosophy, and theology at the universities of Oxford and London, Sheldrake has “a long-standing interest in the history and theology of Christian spirituality, in later medieval Church history, constructive theology and ecumenical studies.” His recent research has included investigations of the public dimensions of spirituality and “spirituality in relation to cities, combining historical, theological and urban studies perspectives.”

The author, among other books, of A Brief History of Spirituality (Blackwell, 2007),  Sheldrake sees spiritual practice, in classic Christian understanding, as a means of gaining “perspective on the nature of, and remedies for, human disorder—and for using that understanding to achieve transformation” rather than as a comforting balm, a notion he considers of very recent vintage.