Can medieval ideas solve modern problems?
Dalhousie University has invited Dr. Carlos Fraenkel of McGill University to deliver the inaugural public lecture in the Shaar Shalom Lecture Series titled: The Law of God and the Law of Nature - An Alternative Paradigm from the Abrahamic Religions. Dr. Fraenkel is a professor of philosophy and Jewish studies at McGill.
Though modern issues of climate change and ecological catastrophe were centuries away from the minds of medieval Muslim and Jewish philosophers, the teachings of philosophers such as Averroes (d. 1198) and Maimonides (d. 1204) may help us frame solutions to today's problems.
Technology has evolved in a way that allows us to exploit natural resources, partly to increase the material prosperity many seek. This exploitation is done in a way that is not ecologically sustainable. Dr. Fraenkel believes we may be able to learn how to integrate well-supported scientific and moral views into our modern day religious traditions from the two philosophers.
Dalhousie's Department of Classics, the College of Sustainability, and the Shaar Shalom Synagogue are premiering the Shaar Shalom Lecture Series on September 20, 2012 at 7 p.m. in the Scotiabank Auditorium -- Marion McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue.
The Shaar Shalom Lecture Series supports the academic and community outreach components of the Riva & Simon Spatz Chair in Jewish Studies at Dalhousie. The Spatz Chair is envisioned as one of three chairs devoted to the Abrahamic Religions within Religious Studies at Dalhousie.
"If Averroes and Maimonides could persuade us that pursuing wisdom is more important (and enjoyable!) than making money and buying things, we surely would be able to downsize to a sustainable economy. It isn't clear, however, that they can persuade us. Some of their metaphysical views about God and human nature will likely prove difficult to defend today as will some of their moral-political views about how to order the community. But even if this is true, they may still be helpful in a different way." -- Dr. Carlos Fraenkel, lecturer, Shaar Shalom Lecture Series
"Many believe that the attitude to nature found in Genesis 1.28 where God commands humankind to subdue the earth and exercise dominion, when enabled by modern technology, is central to our destruction of nature and the conditions of human life. Does the same religious tradition to which this attitude belongs also have counters to our destructiveness? As it becomes clearer that the solutions to our devastation of the environment are either not technological, or not technological only, this question which Dr. Fraenkel will address becomes urgently pressing." -- Dr. Wayne Hankey, Chair, Department of Classics
|Dr. Carlos Fraenkel|