Lunch with Nicholas Wolterstorff

Nicholas Wolterstorff is coming to APU. He’s a very distinguished Professor of Philosophy, most recently teaching at Yale. He’s written extensively on religion and reason, on the rationality of Christian faith, and on the possibility of aesthetics in art. He’ll be giving two lectures, tonight and tomorrow night, both in Munson Chapel, starting at 7PM. Tonight’s lecture is titled “Speaking up for the Wronged”, and tomorrow night is “Love and Justice.” Come if you’re interested.

But the thing I’m really excited about is happening tomorrow at noon. I’m having lunch with Wolterstorff. Well, me and the rest of the music faculty, but I’m still gonna pretend that the two of us are on a date. He’ll see by my eager smile and witty repartee that the rest of these people are mere distractions, and the two of us will escape away together to a pine-covered hillside, where we’ll talk for hours about realism in art, epistemology and religious experience, universals and their implications for ethical norms, just the two of us …

… did it just get awkward? Why the uncomfortable silence, everyone?

Anyway, I’m throwing this out to our wide reading audience, those of you who troll by the RSS feed and keep tabs on us from afar. I know many of you have read Wolterstorff’s writing. In fact, it was a reader here who first introduced me to his writing. If you were sitting down to lunch with him, what would you ask? Any burning questions about ethics, art, religious knowledge, any of those kinds of things?

I promise to dutifully report back to you every sparkling gem of wisdom that falls from his hand. And to leave out the awkward intellectual man-crush stuff.

9 thoughts on “Lunch with Nicholas Wolterstorff

  1. Doug

    I am going to try to be at the lecture tonight. I note that Wolterstorff was born in a tiny Minnesota town about 9 miles from my own hometown. You might say that Bigelow, his hometown, was a suburb of Worthington, my home. Aside from shared roots, he hung out with a bunch of Dutch Calvinists (Calvin College) so he has been exposed to good theology. I got to hear this guy.

  2. michael lee Post author

    The lecture last night was fantastic. He talked about “Speaking up for the Wronged”, and about how duty-based ethical language speaks to the obligation of the acting party, and rights-based ethical language speaks to the inherent dignity of the acted-upon party. I particularly liked his explanation of the abuse of moral language. He gave the example of the Afrikaners abusing benevolence and charity language in justifying apartheid, which defended as a protective scheme for the benefit of the black population. He said a similar kind of abuse is made by those who use “rights” language to insist on certain entitled goods.

    I think I’ll write up a summary of the whole thing. It was really great.

  3. Laura

    I would talk to him about his son, Eric. When my son was killed 8 years ago, I read his book “Lament for a son” . He expressed so much of my grief and sorrow. I keep this book near. I think about him and his family. I know he is further down the road than I am. My life is not the same. I know it took him 12 years to write of his grief. I thank him for writing the book. I have passed it on to another grieving father I met in the cemetary I am interested in anything else he has written. Laura

Comments are closed.