Yale Scholar Miroslav Volf to Give Harry Vaughan Smith Lectures


MACON — Dr. Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, has been named the 2013 Harry Vaughan Smith Visiting Distinguished Professor of Christianity in Mercer University's Roberts Department of Christianity. He will deliver three lectures as part of his appointment on Tuesday and Wednesday built around the theme “Faith and Globalization.” All three lectures will be held in Newton Chapel on the Macon campus and are free and open to the public.

Dr. Volf's first lecture, titled “Faiths in a Globalized World,” will be held Tuesday at 10:50 a.m. He will then deliver a lecture, titled “Religious Exclusivism and Political Pluralism,” at 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, at 10 a.m., Dr. Volf will give his final lecture, titled “Globalization and Reconciliation.”

“Miroslav Volf's world view was forged in the tensions that led to the Bosnian wars,” said Dr. Richard F. Wilson, Columbus Roberts Professor of Theology and chair of the Roberts Department of Christianity. “He knows first-hand what happens when ethnic identity pollutes the positive hopes of a politically pluralistic society. He knows, too, the importance of cultivating cultural and religious distinctives as a way to build social and political alliances that respect diversity as a foundation for lasting peace. Over the long run of the Harry Vaughan Smith Lectures we have had the privilege of welcoming outstanding presenters. In 2013 we will have the chance to experience another, one who will raise the bar for all future visiting scholars.”

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Dr. Volf's life has been stamped by change, both locally and globally. At each turn he has offered insights and guidance for Christians and others who strive to be reconcilers in a world of conflict and hostility.

Dr. Volf is a prolific author, having written or edited more than 60 scholarly articles and 16 books. He is the author of Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation (1996), which won the 2002 Grawemeyer Award; and After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (1998), winner of the Christianity Today book award. More recently he has focused on the common good and on the relationship between Christians and Muslims in A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good (2011), Allah: A Christian Response (2011), and A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Loving Neighbor (2009).

A member of both the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. and the Evangelical Church in Croatia, Dr. Volf has been involved in international ecumenical dialogues with the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and interfaith dialogues, serving on the executive board of C-1 World Dialogue. He is an active participant in the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum and is a fellow of Berkeley College. A native of Croatia, he regularly teaches and lectures in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and across North America.

Dr. Volf earned his B.A. from the Evangelical-Theological Faculty in Zagreb, Croatia, his M.A. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his doctorate in theology from the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.