Past Stob Lectures

The Stob Lectures are audio or video taped for viewing on your computer. We post them here within two weeks of the event. The Lectures are also published in partnership with William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Information on publications is posted when they become available.

  • Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung
    Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, Calvin College (show | hide)

    Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include the Seven Deadly Sins, Thomas Aquinas, Ethics, History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. She is author of Overcoming Sin; The Seven Deadly Sins: A Survival Guide; Aquinas's Ethics: Metaphysical Foundations, Theological Context, and Moral Theory (co-authored with Colleen McCluskey and Christina Van Dyke); and her latest title, Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies.

    The Vice of Vainglory
    Part I: "The Vices Tradition: Roots and Fruits"
    Part II: "A Vainglory Story: Image is Everything"
  • David Steinmetz
    David Steinmetz, Duke Divinity School
    John Calvin: Reshaping Christian Tradition in Reformation Europe
    Calvin and the Impotent God
    Calvin and Spiritual Real Presence
  • Gilbert Meilaender
    Gilbert Meilaender, Valpariaiso University (show | hide)

    Professor Meilaender is an associate editor for the Journal of Religious Ethics. He has taken a special interest in bioethics and is a Fellow of the Hastings Center and is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. His books include Bioethics: A Primer for Christians (1996, 2005), Body, Soul, and Bioethics (1995) and The Way That Leads There: Augustinian Reflections on the Christian Life (Eerdmans, 2006). He edited (together with William Werpehowski) The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics.

    Human Dignity
    Personal Dignity
  • Marianne Meye Thompson
    Marianne Meye Thompson, Fuller Theological Seminary (show | hide)

    Marianne Meye Thompson is George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Her areas of expertise are the Gospel of John, the historical Jesus, the Gospels, issues in New Testament interpretation, God in New Testament theology, and biblical theology. Thompson is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

    The Way to Jesus

    While discovering the "historical Jesus" remains perpetually interesting to scholars and lay persons alike, attempts to recover Jesus "as he really was" through "purely historical means" - a goal pursued by scholars of very different convictions - are impossible to carry through. Such attempts wrongly limit the identity of Jesus to a figure of the past, and so also limit the method appropriate to uncovering his identity.

    What are you looking for?

    The goal of the "quest for the historical Jesus" is often phrased as the quest to discover Jesus "as he was," an enterprise which typically entails finding Jesus without and apart from the church and confessions about him. This "historical" pursuit of Jesus "as he was" is undertaken both by those who wish to debunk Christian confessions of Jesus and those who hold those confessions. Scholars of all persuasions find it uncommonly difficult to adhere to this historical method, narrowly defined, and consequently the Jesus who is recovered by scholars in the interests of finding the historical figure mirrors their own sensibilities.

    Why do you seek the living among the dead?

    The quest of the historical Jesus virtually by definition leaves aside that conviction which is most basic for Christians; namely, that Jesus is among the living and not among the dead. The lecture suggests that an appropriate model for understanding and pursuing the quest is that of religious pilgrimage, in which the pilgrim's convictions, shared with an historic community of faith, provide not only the motivation but also the appropriate context for pursuing this pilgrimage - which is not merely a pilgrimage to the past.

  • Alan Jacobs
    Alan Jacobs, Wheaton College (show | hide)

    Alan Jacobs is professor of English at Wheaton College. His chief research interests lie at the intersection of literature and Christian theology. Recent publications include Shaming the Devil: Essays in Truthtelling, a series of essays that explore how hard it is to tell the truth about the world of culture — and how central that task is to the Christian life, and A Theology of Reading: The Hermeneutics of Love.

    Looking Before and After: Testimony and the Christian Life was published by Eerdmans in 2008

    Testimonies: The Stories of the Christian Life
    Looking Before and After
    View Lecture (begins at 5:15 of the recording)

    The theme of the first lecture is retrospection and prospection: looking back into the past in order to make sense of experience and projecting oneself forward into a future. The faculties of memory and imagination are crucial to the Christian life, but individual Christians, and Christian communities of faith, do not think often enough about the disciplines and virtues necessary to the proper exercise of those faculties.

    Despair, Presumption, and Hope
    View Lecture (begins at 7:35 of the recording)

    The second lecture explores the pitfalls of memory and imagination, the constant temptations to assign false meanings to the stories of our lives: to discern unreasonably comforting narratives, or to write for oneself a false tragedy, or to fail to discern any narrative at all. We will conclude with a meditation on hope as, so to speak, the narrative virtue — the virtue that enables us to tell the right stories about our lives and to tell them wisely, for our benefit and that of our fellow Christians.

  • Ellen T. Charry
    Ellen T. Charry, Princeton Theological Seminary (show | hide)

    Dr. Charry is the Margaret W. Harmon Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. She joined the Princeton faculty in 1997, having been an assistant professor of theology in the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Her most recent books are Inquiring After God: Classic and Contemporary Readings (2000) and By the Renewing of Your Minds: Pastoral Function of Christian Doctrine (1997). Dr. Charry is also the author of many scholarly and popular articles and is editor of Theology Today and editor at large for The Christian Century.

    Dr. Charry serves on the Academic Advisory Committee of the Institute for American Values and on the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. She has received the Alan Richardson Fellowship at Durham University's Department of Theology for Spring 2006.

    Dr. Charry received her MA and Ph.D. in Religion from Temple University (Philadelphia), an MSW from Yeshiva University (New York) and a BA in Sociology from Columbia University (New York).

    God and the Art of Happiness was published by Eerdmans in 2010

    God and the Art of Happiness
    The Art of Happiness
    View Lecture (begins at 2:40 of the recording)

    Christianity has lost its teaching on happiness and with that the dominant culture has lost a morally and psychologically compelling vision of the same. St Augustine created the Christian doctrine of happiness that lost its voice with the advent of modernity, leaving contemporary culture without a link between goodness and happiness.

    Reconstructing the Art of Happiness

    Christian reclamation of the art of happiness will chart a mediating path between an inordinately eschatological Christian treatment that has difficulty embracing happiness in this life and an inordinately political treatment of happiness that has difficulty embracing the spiritual dimensions of happiness. Happiness is the by-product of wisdom and skills for adroit self-use garnered from the habit of knowing, loving, and enjoying God.

  • William Lane Craig
    William Lane Craig, Talbot School of Theology (show | hide)

    William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. At the age of sixteen, Dr. Craig first heard the message of the Christian gospel and yielded his life to Christ. Dr. Craig pursued his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College (B.A. 1971) and graduate studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A. 1974; M.A. 1975), the University of Birmingham (England) (Ph.D. 1977), and the University of Munich (Germany) (D.Theol. 1984). He has written extensively on the cosmological argument, Christian apologetics, divine omniscience and divine eternity.

    His work has appeared in the Journal of Philosophy, Faith and Philosophy, Religious Studies, the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.

    Dr. Craig lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Jan and their two teenage children.

    Christian Apologetics
    Christian Apologetics -- Who Needs It?
    View Lecture (begins at 8:00 of the recording)

    Is the practice of Christian apologetics necessary? The question is not as simple as it first appears. Necessary for whom? And for what? This lecture will explore the aims and fruit of Christian apologetics with a view toward answering these questions, as well as assessing the usefulness of this discipline for Christians in contemporary Western society.

    Advice to Christian Apologists
    View Lecture (begins at 11:10 of the recording)

    Suppose someone feels a call to engage in Christian apologetics or even to become vocationally a Christian apologist. What positive steps should such a person take and what pitfalls should he or she look out for? This lecture seeks to both encourage and admonish those who embark upon so fearful a task.

  • Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen
    Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Eastern University (show | hide)

    Dr. Van Leeuwen is a professor of psychology and philosophy at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pennsylvania, and resident scholar for the Center for Christian Women in Leadership. She was a professor at Calvin from 1985-1993. Her published works include: My Brother’s Keeper: What the Social Sciences Do (and Don’t) Tell Us About Masculinity (InterVarsity, 2002); After Eden: Facing the Challenge of Gender Reconciliation (co-authored with Annelies Knoppers, Margaret Koch, Douglas Schuurman and Helen Sterk) (Eerdmans, 1993); and Gender and Grace: Love, Work and Parenting In A Changing World (Intervarsity Press, 1990) (11th English printing 2003). Van Leeuwen has also served as contributing or senior editor for Books and Culture, Radix, The Reformed Journal and Christianity Today.

    When not writing books or articles, Mary enjoys music, reading mysteries and teaching Scottish dancing. She is married to an Old Testament scholar and has two adult sons.

    Quick with Hospitality, Fruitful for the Kingdom: Family and Gender Relations in the 21st Century Church
    The subject of these lectures is the shape of gender and families relations, how these have changed as we have moved from a pre-industrial to an industrial and now to an increasingly post-industrial society, which of these changes Calvinist-leaning Christians might want to endorse (or not) and why.
    Whose Hospitality? Whose Kingdom?

    A critique of the doctrine of separate spheres for women and men (domestic versus public), using historical, theological and social scientific resources, with special reference to recent research on the benefits of equally-shared parenting. Van Leeuwen will talk about some of the results of Abraham Kuyper’s view of gender and family relations, particularly the functional reduction of parenting to mothering and the problematic withdrawal of fathers from domestic life. This lecture includes research from both industrial and pre-industrial cultures which shows the positive advantages of having fathers, along with mothers, highly involved in hands-on, nurturant yet appropriately authoritative child care.

    The Cradle and the Lecturn
    Listen to Lecture (begins at :30 of the recording)

    An examination of America's lack of public policy support for men and women doing both waged work and family work, with an agenda for future change. This lecture looks ahead to the future, concentrating on structural changes that are needed in our own society if this kind of co-parenting is once again to become the norm, as it was prior to the industrial revolution, and as Van Leeuwen believes is reflected by the spirit of the cultural mandate set out in the first creation account of the Bible.

  • Miroslav Volf
    Miroslav Volf, Yale University (show | hide)
    Miroslav Volf

    Dr. Volf is Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale University. An internationally recognized human rights activist and theologian, his areas of specialty include ecclesiology, Trinity, and theological perspectives on economy and culture. His publications include Exclusion and Embrace, a reflection on conflicts that are raging around the question of identity, and After Our Likeness, an exploration of the Trinitarian nature of ecclesial community.

    The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World was published by Eerdmans in 2006

    Love's Memory

    Note: The broadcast of the lectures were a revised version of the intended lectures. The original set of lectures is described here.

    There is a broad cultural agreement on the need to remember evils committed and suffered—remember them all and always. At the same time we are increasingly becoming aware that such memories can be extraordinarily dangerous as perpetrators often appeal to the memory of their own past victimization to justify their present violence. The pursuit of memory is a highly ambiguous affair. The primary goal of these lectures is to look for theological resources to disambiguate memories of evil suffered and committed, to make memories a source of healing people and their relationships rather than of deepening of pain and animosity.

    Quick Forgetting, Obligatory Remembering

    At the end of 20th and at the beginning of 21st centuries there is an heightened sense of importance of memories of evil suffered and committed. The lecture will explore the importance of such memories in contemporary cultural situation.

    Truthfulness, Integration, Exemplarity

    The purpose of this lecture is to start constructing a framework for salutary remembering. I will argue that remembering needs to be guided by virtue of truthfulness and pursued both for the sake of helping actors come to terms with themselves and draw lessons in relation to analogous situations in the present.

    Memory of Liberation, Memory of Reconciliation

    The purpose of this lecture is to suggest a broader theological framework for remembering rightly. I will suggest that the memory of Israel’s Exodus and of Christ’s passion ought to serve as the proper framework for pursuit of memories.

  • Oliver O'Donovan
    Oliver O'Donovan, Oxford University (show | hide)

    Oliver O'Donovan is Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford and Canon of Christ Church. His interests lie in the field of Christian ethics, especially Christian political thought, contemporary and historical.

    Common Objects of Love: Moral Reflection and the Shaping of Community was published by Eerdmans

    Common Objects of Love: Moral Reflection and the Shaping of Community

    "A people, we may say, is a gathered multitude of rational beings united by agreeing to share the things they love." So Augustine famously challenged the classical definition of a republic articulated by Cicero, replacing an idealist understanding of organized social life with a realist one, which would allow for radical criticism without dissolving the political phenomenon altogether.

    My purpose in this year's Stob Lectures is not to explore the expository questions surrounding Augustine's proposal, nor to discuss the merits of realist and idealist political theories. It is, rather, to exploit the understanding that Augustine holds out to us, by reflecting on a range of common moral and social phenomena characteristic of life in late-modern society, and holding them up to the light of his suggestion.

    Objects of Love

    The Augustinian thesis that the primary mode of knowing is loving. Our experience of knowing the world.

    Agreeing to Share

    Communication as the basis of society. Material and intellectual communications. Representation.

    A Multitude of Rational Beings United

    The problem of representation in our age. The eschatological overheating and trivialization of communications.

  • Richard Mouw
    Richard Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary (show | hide)
    He Shines in All That's Fair: Culture and Common Grace
  • John Hare
    John Hare, Calvin College (show | hide)
    God's Call: Moral Realism, God's Commands, & Human Autonomy
  • Seeking Understanding was published by Eerdmans in 2001

    This omnibus volume collects under one cover all of the Stob Lectures from Lewis Smedes' inaugural talks in 1986 to Eleonore Stump's lectures in 1998:

    • 1998
      The Problem of Evil
      Eleonore Stump
    • 1997
      Sin or Sickness: The Problem of Human Dysfunction
      J. Harold Ellens
    • 1996
      The Soul of the Christian University
      Arthur F. Holmes
    • 1995
      The Ghost in the Ivory Tower: Can a Philosopher Find Happiness in a Haunted House?
      George I. Mavrodes
    • 1994
      Conflict: Its Resolution and the Completion of Creation
      The Honorable John Feikens
    • 1993
      Happiness: Goal or Gift? Two Lectures on the Relationship Between Knowledge, Goodness, and Happiness in Plato and Calvin
      Dewey J. Hoitenga, Jr.
    • 1992
      What New Haven and Grand Rapids Have to Say to Each Other
      Nicholas P. Wolterstorff
    • 1991
      The Practices of Piety and the Practice of Medicine: Prayer, Scripture, and Medical Ethics
      Allen D. Verhey
    • 1990
      Denominations Near Century's End
      Martin E. Marry
    • 1989
      The Twin Pillars of Christian Scholarship
      Alvin Plantinga
    • 1988
      Two Arguments from the Heart for Immortality
      Peter Kreeft
    • 1987
      Varieties of Moral Discourse
      James M. Gustafson
    • 1986
      Making and Keeping Commitments in Contemporary Society (Read (pdf))
      Lewis Smedes