On the Nature of the Atonement

Eleonore Stump, who is the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, will speak at Gordon on Thursday, November 13, at 4 p.m. in the Ken Olsen Science Center (DEC Loggia and Chairman’s Room). The lecture, “The Nature of the Atonement,” is free and open to the public. Hosted by Gordon’s Center for Faith and Inquiry, Stump’s address is this year’s fourth in the Faith Seeking Understanding series.

“Stump clarifies the questions we need to ask by pointing out the deficiencies in the predominant ways the Christian tradition has explained the atonement,” Gordon Professor of Philosophy Ian DeWeese-Boyd said. “Noticing that being one with God is the aim only leaves wondering in what sense we’re not at one with God, how this unity might be restored, and why such unity is so valuable in the first place.”

Dr. Stump’s research and writing have been largely in the areas of medieval philosophy, philosophy of religion, and metaphysics. She received a B.A. in classical languages from Grinnell College in 1969, a master’s degree from Harvard University in 1971, and a Ph.D. in medieval studies and medieval philosophy from Cornell University in 1975.  She taught at Oberlin College, Virginia Tech and the University of Notre Dame before coming to Saint Louis University in 1992.

Dr. Stump is editor-in-chief of the Yale Library of Medieval Philosophy and was section editor for the philosophy of religion for the new Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Her publications include Boethius’s De topicis differentiis (1978, reprinted 1989), Boethius’s In Ceceronis Topica (1988), Dialectic and Its Place in the Development of Medieval Logic (1989), the Cambridge Companion to Aquinas (1993),Reasoned Faith (1993), Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions (1998), the Cambridge Companion to Augustine (1999) and Aquinas in the Arguments of the Philosophers series (2003). She also is the author of more than ninety articles dealing with her research interests—medieval philosophy, the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. Her Gifford Lectures, entitled ‘Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering’, are forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Dr. Stump has held grants from the American Association of University Women, the Mellon Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame and the National Humanities Center. Among her other honors, she is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers and of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and presented the 2003 Gifford Lectures in Aberdeen, Scotland.

“I find her work valuable because it takes our existential struggle not only with sin but also with suffering and evil as something any valid account of the atonement must address,” DeWeese-Boyd said. “[The lecture] suggests that we need to turn back to the biblical narratives themselves, specially those treating the passion and death of Christ, to gain a more richly textured and existentially satisfying account of the atonement.”

For more information on the Center for Faith and Inquiry or the Faith Seeking Understanding lectures, contact: Susanne McCarron, program coordinator, at 978.867.4365 or via email at [email protected]. The next public interview in the Faith Seeking Understanding lectures series, will feature Peter Berger, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Sociology and Theology and Director, Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, on December 2, 2014. Berger will be interviewed by Gregor Thuswaldner, associate professor of German and Linguistics and Fellow at the Center for Faith and Inquiry.