Sunday, December 02, 2007

Doubt: A lecture by Jennifer Michael Hecht

As part of Science & Religion lecture series at Hampshire College, Jennifer Michael Hecht gave a lecture on Doubt - Where you'd least expect it on October 25, 2007. Here is the abstract for her talk and below you will find the full video of her lecture:

The recent "God wars" hide how long these issues have been around. On both the religious and the atheist side, no one seems to know the history of religious and philosophical doubt. Indeed, they think it doesn't exist. But in fact, there has been doubt throughout history. There are instances of complete and lasting rejection of the idea of God or an afterlife in the Hebrew Bible, in the medieval Moslem world, among Western scholars during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The idea of a past wherein people could not imagine a world without God is essentially wrong, a 20th century misunderstanding of the contribution of the Enlightenment. Doubt is older than most faiths and full of paragons of bravery, intellect, and character. Also, in history, doubters have a much better sense of humor than do today's famous atheists. Hecht will get us thinking, talking, and especially, laughing.

Jennifer Michael Hecht is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at The New School, New York. She is the author of Doubt: A History, The End of Soul, and The Happiness Myth along with her poetry books, The Next Ancient World and Funny