Alongside the ‘descending theme’ of Christian influence on governance and law in the western world, I intend also to explore an ‘ascending theme’ which comes to prominence from the time of St Thomas Aquinas and is developed in the Dominican tradition in a variety of ways. This theme is focused on an emphasis on the person as a moral and spiritual agent, leading to a greater recognition of agency, conscience, choice and consent. As is increasingly acknowledged, such a view is itself rooted in the biblical witness and, particularly, in the thought of St Paul. I hope to go on to ask about its relevance for the debate about ‘natural rights’ in the early modern period and its relation to Enlightenment thought, both moderate and radical. I shall then consider whether a proper view of fundamental freedoms is best safeguarded by relying on reason alone, as argued for by some Enlightenment and modern thinkers or whether cumulative tradition is a better guide. There will, of course, also be a consideration of personhood in relation to moral debates today about embryology, abortion, assisted suicide, PVS and human relationships.
The schedule for the course is:
Tuesday, 21 February 2023, 16.30-18.15 (Aula 10)
Wednesday, 22 February 2023, 10.30-12.15 (Aula 15)
Friday, 24 February 2023, 14.30-16.15 (Aula 10)
Monday, 27 February 2023, 8.30-10.15 (Aula 15)
Wednesday, 1 March 2023, 10.30-12.15 (Aula 15)
Thursday, 2 March 2023, 10.30-12.15 (Aula 15)
Msgr. Michael James Nazir-Ali is a former Anglican bishop who served as the 106th Bishop of Rochester from 1994 to 2009 and, before that, as Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan. He holds both British and Pakistani citizenship and has both a Christian and a Muslim family background. From 1999 he was a member of the House of Lords where he was active in a number of areas of national and international concern. He is currently President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue (OXTRAD).
In 2021, he was received into the Catholic Church.
If you wish to participate in the course please contact us at: [email protected]
Cover photo, credit: Wilberforce Academy
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