The seventh “Center for Christian Studies – First Things Lecture” is now in the books. Once again, the event was a great success.
On Monday evening, September 11, about 200 people came out to hear Kyle Harper, Professor of Classics and Letters at the University of Oklahoma and author of four books. The lecture topic was “Christianity and the Idea of Human Dignity.”
Harper began by noting that artificial intelligence may not recognize human dignity now or in the future. Some contemporary thinkers, indeed, reject the idea or simply believe it is too ambiguous to be of use. Most people, however, assume universal human dignity; it forms the basis of modern secular expressions of human rights. But where did the idea come from? Harper noted the classical pagan background, especially in Stoicism, but the concept of human dignity began to flourish especially in the emerging Christian culture of late antiquity. Harper offered several examples, including Gregory of Nyssa’s call for the manumission of slaves, the first of its kind in history.
We at the Center for Christian Studies are grateful to Kyle Harper for sharing his insights with our community, and we are grateful again to First Things magazine for co-sponsoring the event. We look forward to future collaboration with First Things.
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