Margaret Farley tapped as first to deliver Taylor Lectures under new format

by Gustav Spohn

Margaret Farley, the Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics, will deliver the Nathaniel W. Taylor Lectures on Feb. 23, 28, and March 1 on the topic “Freedom, Obligation, and Love.” Beginning this year, the Taylor and Shaffer lectures will take place in alternate years during the spring semester, marking a departure from the traditional October setting for the two lecture series.

FarleyThe switch in timing for the two lectures comes as a result of a survey of alumni and recommendations from a task force of the Alumni Board that reviewed the Convocation and Reunion program and proposed several changes—including shortening the annual event by one day and offering a greater range of activities.  The Beecher Lectures will remain the featured lectures for the fall Convocation, while the Taylor and Schaffer lectures will be offered in the spring semester.

Delivery of Farley’s Taylor Lectures, all in Niebuhr Hall, will take place as follows:

  • Lecture I, “Embodiment, Choice, and Action,” Thursday, February 23, 5:30 pm
  • Lecture II, “Desires, Loves, and Reasons,” Tuesday, February 28, 5:30 pm
  • Lecture III, “Morality and Self-Determination,” Thursday, March 1, 5:30 pm

Addressing questions of the meaning and possibility of human freedom of choice, Farley’s lectures will speak to problems raised by scientists, philosophers, and theologians. The central element will be a descriptive analysis of the experience of free choice—not the question of whether there can be free choice, but on the structure of what we choose when we choose, raising the further question of whether every choice is ultimately a choice of what and how to love.

The Nathaniel W. Taylor Lectureship in Theology was created in 1902 by a gift from Rebecca Taylor Hatch of Brooklyn, New York, in memory of her father, who was Dwight Professor of Didactic Theology from 1822 to 1858.

The Shaffer Lectureship was established in 1929 by a gift from John C. Shaffer of Chicago, IL as a memorial to his son, Kent Shaffer ’07 Ph.D. to sponsor lectures on the life, character, and teachings of Jesus.


Date Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 8:50pm