Discussion to examine history, future and power of religion

SIFK gathers scholars and thought leaders for Feb. 5 event at Logan Center

The Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at the University of Chicago will bring together leading scholars and thought leaders for a Feb. 5 discussion examining the past, present and future of religion as a human enterprise.

Religion, Identity and the Construction of Faith” will tackle important questions about religious phenomena, social and natural science, and our most deeply-held beliefs. The free public event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Logan Center for the Arts.

Prof. David Nirenberg, an interdisciplinary historian and interim dean of the Divinity School at UChicago, will moderate a discussion with commentator Reza Aslan, the award-winning author of Beyond Fundamentalism; controversial philosopher of science and culture Daniel Dennett, author of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon; and Prof. William Schweiker, a respected religious ethicist at UChicago who is also an ordained minister. A Q&A will follow.

“We will be bringing together three acclaimed scholars in the history of religion to discuss questions with impact and relevance to the lives we live: Why does religion exist? What is the relationship between religion and ethics, and between religion and violence? And what is the future of monotheism in this time of ‘many worlds?’” said Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics and the Program in Gender Studies at UChicago, the director of the SIFK. “We look forward very much to hearing the open exchange of views.”

Launched in 2015, the SIFK brings faculty together from across the University to study the process of knowledge formation, from antiquity to the present, and in correlation, to explore how this history shapes our modern world. By rigorously exploring the cultural, political and social influences on what is accepted as true, the SIFK aims to understand the basis of human values, provide insight into contemporary issues, and offer the means for more effective discourse and unexpected solutions.

To register or learn more about the event and its co-sponsors, visit the SIFK website.