Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

September 30, 2004

Yale Theologian, Noted Christian Philosopher to Present Whitworth Lecture Oct. 14

Leading Christian philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff has a vision of faith-based higher education: that students are responsible agents in whom college faculty need to cultivate a critical consciousness and empathy for suffering people in the world.

Wolterstorff, the Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale University, will explore these topics in a lecture, "Educating for Shalom: What Are Our Goals?" on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre, Weyerhaeuser Hall, at Whitworth College. A reception will follow the lecture. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777- 3702.

During his lecture, Wolterstorff will draw from his book Educating for Shalom: Essays on Christian Higher Education (2004), a collection of 25 essays Wolterstorff wrote during the past 25 years that address the purpose of Christian higher education and the nature of academic learning. The collection was edited by Clarence Joldersma and by Gloria Goris Stronks, a former professor of education at Calvin College who is currently serving as Scholar in Residence at Whitworth; Stronks has edited all of Wolterstorff's many publications.

"Nicholas Wolterstorff's vision of teaching and living for shalom (an ideal in which peace combines with justice) suggests that we need to teach students how to cope with unjust social structures, showing them how to sustain hope, how to keep the struggle against injustice alive even when it seems futile, and how to delight in the traces of shalom already present in the world," Stronks says. "People who have a passion for justice will want to hear this noted speaker."

Too often people feel they must choose between serving the poor and being a successful lawyer, engineer or artist, says Julia Stronks, Whitworth professor of politics & history and daughter of Gloria Goris Stronks.

"Wolterstorff reminds us that every discipline has something to contribute to God's call to do justice," Julia Stronks says. "Outstanding academics, which is something every college strives for, finds its purpose in the seeking of shalom in a broken but redeemed world."

Wolterstorff received a bachelor's degree from Calvin College in 1953 and a doctorate in philosophy from Harvard University in 1956. He taught for 30 years at Calvin College, and then for two years at Yale University, before assuming his current position as Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale.

After concentrating on metaphysics at the beginning of his career, Wolterstorff spent many years working primarily on aesthetics and philosophy of art. In recent years, he has been concentrating on epistemology, philosophy of religion and political philosophy. He has served as president of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division), and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

In addition to his recent collection of essays, Wolterstorff's publications include Works and Worlds of Art, Art in Action, Lament for a Son, Until Justice and Peace Embrace, Reason within the Bounds of Religion, and On Universals. He regularly teaches lecture courses in aesthetics and philosophy of religion, and seminars in epistemology and hermeneutics.

Wolterstorff's lecture is funded by the Murdock Lives of Commitment grant and the Whitworth College Office of Academic Affairs.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Gloria Goris Stronks, Scholar in Residence, Whitworth College, (509) 468-5233 or stro@calvin.edu.

Julia Stronks, professor of politics & history, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4577 or jstronks@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

Related Links

Center for Faith & Christian Learning >

Politics & History Home Page >

Philosophy Home Page > Department Spotlight >

Theology Home Page > Department Spotlight >

Whitworth Press Release Index