Past Lectures

Past Orr Lectures

Invited Speaker Lecture Title Date
C. Pierce Salguero, The Abington College of Pennsylvania State University Meditation Sickness Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Amy-Jill Levine, Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Hartford International University for Religion and Peace Jesus and Judaism: How Bad History Creates Bad Theology Thursday, April 20, 2023
William Chester Jordan, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University Now Avenge Us: Jewish Martyrdom and the First Crusade Thursday, October 16, 2022
Abdullahi An-Na'im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory Law, and senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University The Islamic State is a Post-Colonial Mirage Thursday, May 12, 2022
Robert Wilson-Black, CEO, Sojourners The End of College: Religion Departments and the Battle Over An Ideal Thursday, January 13, 2022
Eddie S. Glaude, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Chair, Department of African American Studies, Princeton University The Third American Founding: Re-imagining America After Donald Trump Thursday, February 20, 2020
Edward Slingerland, Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Asian Studies and associate member of the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology, University of British Columbia Mind, Body, and the Myth of Holism in Early China Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Judith Weisenfeld, Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion, Princeton University Spiritual Madness: Race, Psychiatry, and African American Religions Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Christine Helmer, Professor of Religious Studies & German, Northwestern Universty How Luther Became the Reformer Monday, November 6, 2017
David Shulman, Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem Meditations on Wickedness from South India and South Hebron

Thursday, May 4, 2017

E. J. Dionne, Jr., Paul Elie, Marian Ronan, Simone Campbell, Jeffrey N. Steenson Vatican II: Past, Present & Future Thursday, October 29, 2015
Robert A. F. Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion, Columbia University


Buddha: Scientist, Realist, Educator, Social Reformer Thursday, October 23, 2014
Farid Esack, Head, Department of Religion Studies, University of Johannesburg The Contemporary Democracy & The Human Rights Project: Challenges for the Progressive Muslim Intellectual Thursday, April 24, 2014
Robert Bellah, Elliott Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley The Modern Project in the Light of Human Evolution Thursday, May 9, 2013
Anthony Aveni, Russell B. Colgate Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology and Sociology, Colgate University  The End of Time: Maya Apocalypse Soon? Monday, January 30, 2012
Adam Nicolson, author of God's Secretaries: The Making Of The King James Bible God's Secretaries: The Making Of The King James Bible Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Gary Dorrien, the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion at Columbia University Turbo Capitalism, Social Ethics, & Economic Democracy Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Ian Buruma, The Henry R. Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Religion: Friend or Foe of Democracy? Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Annette Gordon-Reed '81, Wallace Stevens Professor of Law, New York Law School; Winner, 2009 Pulitzer Prize in History Slavery, the Enlightenment, & Religion at Monticello Thursday, May 6, 2010
Rudiger Schmitt, Harris Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Munster Magic, Ritual Healing, and the Discourse on Ritual Authority in the Hebrew Bible Thursday, February 18, 2010
Mark Jordan, Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School Christian Moms Beat Homosexual Recruiters Over and Over Again Friday, April 17, 2009
Randall Balmer, Professor of American Religious History, Barnard College, Columbia University God in the White House: Faith and the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Dale Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University The Christian Case Against Marriage Tuesday, May 1, 2007
James H. Cone, Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree Thursday, April 20, 2006
Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government, Department of Anthropology, Political Science & International Affairs, Columbia University Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: The Politics of Culture Talk Thursday, October 19, 2006
Elaine Pagels, Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion, Princeton University The Secret Gospel of Thomas: Conflicting Images of Jesus in Early Christianity Thursday, April 28, 2005
Steven Pinker, author The Blank Slate, The Noble Savage, and the Ghost in the Machine Monday, November 5, 2001
Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge Tolerance and Religion Monday, October 29, 2001
Karen Armstrong, author The Sacred, Disaster, and the Media Monday, October 22, 2001
Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley The Theology of the Touch: Merleau-Ponty and Malebranche Tuesday, October 9, 2001
Gita Mehta, author Religion and Literature: Religion and Culture at the Start of the Twenty-First Century Monday, October 1, 2001
Robert J. Wuthnow, Professor of Sociology, Princeton University   Tuesday, October 12, 1999
Talal Asad, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York  Agency and the Suffering Body Tuesday, October 27, 1998
Bruce Lincoln, Professor of History of Religions, University of Chicago   October, 1997
Richard Rorty, Professor of Philosophy, University of Virginia Religious Belief, Intellectual Responsibility, and Romance Tuesday, October 10, 1995
Martha Nussbaum, Professor of Philosophy, Brown University  Citizens of the World: A Classical Defense of Radical Reform in Higher Education Thursday, October 13, 1994
Donald Davidson, Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley

Can Values be Objective?
The Grounds of Objectivity
Agreements and Disputes

Tuesday-Thursday, November 2-4, 1993
Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School Will the Real Mortal Please Stand Up? Myths of Divine Disguise and Adultery Monday, May 10, 1993
Thomas Lawson, Professor of Religion, Western Michigan University   April, 1992
R. C. Lewontin, Professor of Biology and Zoology, Harvard University Biology as a Social Weapon Tuesday, May 7, 1991
Carolyn Walker Bynum, Professor of History, University of Washington, Seattle Attitudes Toward the Female Body in Medieval Religion Thursday, April 7, 1988
Marshall Sahlins, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago The Cosmology of Capitalism: The Trans-Pacific Sector of the World System Tuesday, May 5, 1987
Edward Shils, Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago

The Limits of Religious UniversalismThe Internal and External Expansions of Transcendental Knowledge

Wednesday, October 17, 1984
Michael Harrington, Queens College, City University of New York   Wednesday and Thursday, October 19 and 20, 1983
Mary Douglas, Professor of the History and Literature of Religion, Northwestern University Perceptions of Danger in Modern Times, Part 1 and Part 2 Wednesday and Thursday, October 14 and 15, 1981
Mary Daly, Boston College The Metaethics of Radical Feminism Wednesday and Thursday, October 17 and 18, 1979
René Girard, James M. Beall Professor of French and Humanities, The Johns Hopkins University Primitive Religion, Sacrifice and Judaeo-Christian Scriptures Tuesday, May 15, 1979
Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University The Genetic Evolution of Social Behavior Tuesday, October 18, 1977
Peter Gay, Yale University Defenses and Aggressions in Imperial Germany Wednesday and Thursday, October 13 and 14, 1976
Sydney Ahlstrom, Yale University The Making of a Redeemer Nation: The Rise and Decline of the American Patriotic Tradition Wednesday, October 21, 1975
Paul Ricoeur, Professor of Philosophy, University of Paris, and John Nuveen Professor at the University of Chicago The Conflict Between Explanation and Interpretation in the Human Sciences Wednesday, November 13, 1974
Lionel Trilling Art, Will, and Necessity 1973
Mircea Eliade Sacred City, Sacred Time 1972