Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lecture on October 25th: "Doubt - Where you'd least expect it" by Jennifer Michael Hecht

As part of Hampshire College Lecture Series on Science & Religion, we will have Jennifer Michael Hecht on October 25th for a talk titled, Doubt - Where you'd least expect it. She is a historian of science and is the author Doubt: A History, The End of Soul and The Happiness Myth. She is also a poet and her poetry books include The Next Ancient World and Funny. I read Doubt last year, and its a very well-written book. Her chapter on Muslim and Jewish skeptics of the Middle ages is fascinating and I think she will be touching a bit on that in her talk at Hampshire College (Added: you can also listen to a podcast of her interview on Speaking of Faith - thanks to Nizam for the link). If you live in/near western Massachusetts, please join us at the lecture. As usual, we will also be recording the lecture and I will post the video when its available.

Here is the full announcement:
Hampshire College Lecture Series on Science & Religion Presents

Doubt - Where You'd Least Expect It
Jennifer Michael Hecht

Thursday, October 25, 2007
5:30p.m., Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
Hampshire College

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

Upcoming lectures:
  • George Saliba, Thursday, March 6, 2008
  • George V. Coyne, S.J., Friday, March 28, 2008
About the Hampshire College Science & Religion Lecture Series:
This is the second year of a three-year lecture series that aims to bring together philosophers, theologians, historians and scientists to discuss topics in science & religion. The themes for the lecture series are as follows:

2006-2007: Nature, Belief & the Supernatural
2007-2008: A History of Conflict & Cooperation
2008-2009: A Matter of Origins & the Meaning of Life

For more information on the Lecture Series, please visit

The Hampshire College Integrated Science & Humanities Initiative
Hampshire College Office of the President
Hampshire College Office of the Dean of Faculty
The Schools of Cognitive Science, Natural Science, and Humanities, Arts & Cultural Studies


Nizam said...

I wish I could be there in person, but I'm looking forward to at least being able to see the video afterwards.

I first heard of Hecht and her book on the public radio progam "Speaking of Faith" earlier this year. The podcast recording of that interview is available here:

Salman Hameed said...

Thanks for the link. I have added that to the post.

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