A three-year research project working toward a comprehensive Christian vision for human flourishing in a world of technology

 
 

Involving scholars from Canada, the USA, Germany, and the UK, this collaborative project aims to provide a comprehensive theological assessment of recent technologies' impact on human nature and human life. The research program has three main objectives. First, to establish, in critical dialogue with philosophy, biology, and sociology, a modern theological anthropology in continuity with classic orthodox Christian theology in all three major confessions (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant). Second, to evaluate visions of human flourishing represented by technological culture, from social media to bio-genetic, enhancement technologies, including transhumanist dreams of transcending the body. Third, to provide a theologically grounded perspective on human flourishing in an age of technology. All research results will be published in print and internet media.

 

Featured Post: Videos from “Being Human — Being a Person”

In December of 2018, several scholars met at Oxford to discuss what it means to “be a person.” The conference featured international perspectives from five participants all of whom reflected on contemporary discourses and technological advancements that have destabilized traditional definitions of human being, human dignity, and personhood. Drawing from a range of modern, premodern, and more recent thinking on the subject, the scholars in question formed theological and philosophical arguments for an historically aware and thus integrated and complex notion of the human person in this age of rapid scientific and technological change. See the descriptions and videos below for their takes on “being human-being a person.”

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PROJECT LEADERS


Director

Prof. Jens Zimmermann

Jens Zimmermann is Canada Research Professor for Interpretation, Religion, and Culture at Trinity Western University and Visiting Professor for Philosophy, Literature, and Theology at Regent College. He is a Visiting Fellow of the British Academy at the University of Oxford, and Research Associate at the Center for Theology and Modern European Thought in Oxford.

This project, generously supported by a grant arranged through the Issachar Fund, extends Zimmermann's previous research on Christian humanism, theology, and hermeneutic philosophy by examining how technology shapes our conceptions of human identity and perception, of who we are and how we know, and how human relations, policies, and institutions are impacted, in turn, by these changes in human identity and perception.


Co-Director

Dr. Michael Burdett

Michael Burdett is Assistant Professor in Christian Theology at the University of Nottingham, a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford and an associate of the Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford. Before becoming an academic, he worked in the aerospace and robotics industries with a firm that had contracts with NASA and JPL.

As part of this project he is advancing his work begun in Eschatology and the Technological Future by focusing on how death and glory are experienced and related to in highly technological societies and how our perception of both are conditioned by the forces of science and technology today. Throughout he analyses how death and glory are inseparably related to one another in humanist, transhumanist and Christian thought. 


CONTRIBUTING SCHOLARS


Professor of Patristics. St. Vladimir’s Seminary, New York

Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

Professor of Philosophy, Trinity Western University

Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Schreiner University

 

Karl Jaspers Professor for Philosophical Foundations of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Heidelberg, Germany

Lecturer in Philosophy of Education, Strathclyde University

Senior Lecturer in Theological Ethics, University of Aberdeen

Lecturer in Theology and Ethics, University of Winchester; Lecturer in Ethics, Regent's Park College, Oxford

 
 

McDonald Postdoctoral Fellow in Christian Ethics and Public Life, Christ Church, University of Oxford

Jerry and Mary Joy Stead Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Garrett-Evangelical Seminary