Throughout recorded history people have consistently looked to nature as a source of knowledge about God. Robert Boyle shared this view and the Lecture series he founded became synonymous with such natural theology; however most in the West now consider that such speculations are illegitimate. Dr Russell Re Manning's Boyle Lecture looks again at the history of natural theology to contest the dominant narrative of its rise and fall and to suggest some new directions for its future development.
This is the 2015 Annual Boyle Lecture. The Boyle lectures address topics which explore the relationship between Christianity and our contemporary understanding of the natural world.
Please note that, due to unforeseen circumstances, this will replace the lecture originally scheduled, on 'Exploring the Influence of Theology on Scientific Research Programmes: Natural Theology in Reverse' by Professor Robert Russell.
Russell Re Manning is a philosopher of religion with wide-ranging research and teaching interests in modern and contemporary philosophy and theology.
His research engages four related areas: the intellectual history of natural theology; theologies of culture; philosophy of religion; and topics in science and religion. Current projects include work on contemporary revivals of natural theology, a study of the Boyle Lectures (1692-1732), an analysis of the use of the concept of emergence in Christian theology, and development of a critical edition of the works of Paul Tillich in English.
Dr Re Manning is Visiting Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He was co-chair of the American Academy of Religion Group 'Tillich: Issues in Theology, Religion, and Culture' and is past-President of the North American Paul Tillich Society.
In November 2011, Dr Re Manning presented The Paul Tillich Lecture at Harvard University, with the title: 'The Religious Meaning of Culture: Paul Tillich and Beyond.'
In June 2012 Dr Re Manning was awarded a grant from the Uses and Abuses of Biology Grant Programme to fund a two-year investigation ('Emergence: From Biology to Theology') into the uses (and abuses) of the concept of emergence in contemporary theology.
Recent publications include The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology (OUP, 2014), Science and Religion in the Twenty-First Century (SCM, 2014) and The Cambridge Companion to Paul Tillich (CUP, 2009). He has also edited two books in the Barnes & Noble ‘30-Second’ series: his 30-Second Religion (2011) has sold over 58,000 copies worldwide and been translated into seven languages, and his 30-Second Bible was published in 2013. He is co-editor (with Michael Byrne) of Science and Religion in the Twenty-First Century: The Boyle Lectures at St Mary-le-Bow (2013).
Louise is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Ethics at Newman University, Birmingham. She is the editor of "Reviews in Science and Religion", the journal of the UK's Science and Religion Forum, and of Chance and Providence: Religious Perspectives on Divine Action (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014). She has published several articles and chapters in books more noteably on late eighteenth-century thought and is currently writing a monography entitied Eighteenth Century Dissesnt and Cambridge Platonism.