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'Ethical Formation in a Post-Secular Age' is Topic of 2012 Orr Forum

Posted: March 28, 2012

CHAMBERSBURG, PA – Dr. Jennifer Herdt, an author and professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, will deliver three presentations as part of this year’s Orr Forum on Religion at Wilson College: Ethical Formation in a Post-Secular Age.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE:
March 28, 2011
CONTACT: Dr. David True, Associate Professor of Religion
Phone: 717-264-4141, Ext. 3396
Email: david.true@wilson.edu

CHAMBERSBURG, PA – Dr. Jennifer Herdt, an author and professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, will deliver three presentations as part of this year’s Orr Forum on Religion at Wilson College: Ethical Formation in a Post-Secular Age.

Orr Scholar Herdt will describe how stories, both sacred and secular, work to shape a form of personal character that respects individual autonomy, yet is capable of contributing to the greater good, according to Dr. David True, Wilson associate professor of religion and organizer of the annual Orr Forum.

Orr Forum events, which are free and open to the public, will be held Monday and Tuesday, April 16 and 17. All presentations will be held in the Harry R. Brooks Complex for Science, Mathematics and Technology.

On April 16, Herdt will begin at 5 p.m. with an introduction entitled “Autonomy after Virtue." “I distinguish among four conceptions of autonomy and argue that the contemporary turn to tradition, given its self-conscious character, is best understood not as a repudiation of autonomy but as ‘tradition-constituted autonomy,’” Herdt said.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, she will present “Scripture (Secular and Sacred) in the Task of Ethical Formation.” Here, Herdt will reflect on the role that secular literature — especially the novel — and sacred scripture play in ethical formation, and how these might be understood in relation to one another.

She will conclude the forum that evening at 7 with a presentation entitled “Forming a More Perfect Union: Democratic Virtues, Proximate Goods and Christian Formation.” In it, “I ask whether and how the retrieval of virtue ethics and the turn to tradition-constituted autonomy might contribute to improving the quality of public life in American society today,” Herdt said.

Reservations are requested. To RSVP or to learn more, visit www.wilson.edu/orrforum or contact Gretchen Babendreier at 717-264-4141, Ext. 3203, or gretchen.babendreier@wilson.edu.

Herdt joined Yale Divinity School after 11 years on the faculty of theology at the University of Notre Dame. Her primary interests are in early-modern and modern moral thought, classical and contemporary virtue ethics, and contemporary Protestant social ethics and political theology.

She is the author of Religion and Faction in Hume’s Moral Philosophy and Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices. Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals, including the Journal of Religious Ethics, theJournal of Religion, Modern Theology, Soundings, Studies in Christian Ethics, and the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.

Herdt has a bachelor’s degree in religion and biology from Oberlin College and a master’s degree and doctorate, both in religion, from Princeton University.

The Orr Forum at Wilson College is supported by an endowed fund established by Thomas J. Orr, a friend of the college, in honor of his parents William and Mary Orr. This respected academic event is dedicated to the rigorous study of religion. As such, it provides Wilson College and the entire community an annual forum in which to discuss fascinating, profound — and sometimes provocative — aspects of religion.

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Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a liberal arts college dedicated to the education of women. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Chambersburg, Pa. Wilson offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 areas and master’s degrees in education and the humanities. The college’s 2010-11 enrollment in the College for Women and the Adult Degree Programs was 796 and included students from 21 states and 13 foreign countries. Visit www.wilson.edu to learn more.

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Last Updated: March 28, 2012