Gifford Lectures

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The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford (d. [1887). They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported by science and not dependent on the miraculous. The lectures are given at the Scottish universities: University of St Andrews, University of Glasgow, University of Aberdeen and University of Edinburgh.

A Gifford lectures appointment is one of the most prestigious honors in academia. They are normally presented as a series over an academic year and given with the intent that the edited content be published in book form. A number of these works have become classics in the fields of theology or philosophy and their relationship to science.

Notable lectures


  • 1898–00 Josiah Royce The World and the Individual
  • 1936–38 Karl Barth The Knowledge of God and the Service of God according to the Teaching of the Reformation
  • 1951–52 Michael Polanyi Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, ISBN 0-226-67288-3
  • 1953–54 Paul Tillich Systematic Theology (3 vols.): ISBN 0-226-80337-6, ISBN 0-226-80338-4, ISBN 0-226-80339-2
  • 1965-1967 Raymond Aron La Conscience historique dans la pensée et dans l'action
  • 1973 Hannah Arendt Life of the Mind
  • 1982–84 Richard Swinburne The Evolution of the Soul, ISBN 0-19-823698-0
  • 1984–85 Freeman Dyson Infinite In All Directions, ISBN 0-06-072889-2
  • 1989–91 Ian Barbour Religion in an Age of Science, ISBN 0-06-060383-6
  • 1992–93 Jaroslav Pelikan Christianity and Classical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the Christian Encounter With Hellenism, ISBN 0-300-06255-9
  • 1994–95 John W. Rogerson Faith and Criticism in the Work of William Robertson Smith, 1846-1894
  • 1994–95 M. A. Stewart New Light and Enlightenment
  • 1994–95 Peter Jones Science and Religion before and after Hume
  • 1994–95 James H. Burns The Order of Nature
  • 1994–95 Alexander Broadie The Shadow of Scotus
  • 1997–98 Russell Stannard The God Experiment
  • 2000–01 John S. Habgood The Concept of Nature
  • 2003–04 John Haldane Mind, Soul and Deity
  • 2003 Eleonore Stump Wandering in the Darkness


  • 1891 George Gabriel Stokes Natural Theology
  • 1900–02 William James The Varieties of Religious Experience, ISBN 0-679-64011-8 (several editions in print)
  • 1909–10 William Warde Fowler The Religious Experience of the Roman People, ISBN 0-8154-0372-0
  • 1911–12 Bernard Bosanquet The Principle of Individuality and Value, ISBN 0-527-10036-6
  • 1913–14 Henri Bergson The Problem of Personality
  • 1915–16 William Mitchell Ramsay Asianic Elements in Greek Civilization, ISBN 0-89005-173-9
  • 1919–21 George Stout Mind and Matter pub. 1931
  • 1921–23 Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, ISBN 0-404-60474-9
  • 1923–25 James George Frazer The Worship of Nature ISBN 1-56459-532-3
  • 1926–27 Arthur Eddington The Nature of the Physical World, ISBN 0-472-06015-5
  • 1927–28 Alfred North Whitehead Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology, ISBN 0-02-934570-7
  • 1928–29 John Dewey The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action, ISBN 1-4179-0845-9
  • 1934–35 Albert Schweitzer The Problem of Natural Theology and Natural Ethics (unpublished)
  • 1937–38 Charles Sherrington Man on His Nature, ISBN 0-521-06436-8
  • 1938–40 Reinhold Niebuhr The Nature and Destiny of Man: A Christian Interpretation , (2 vol set): ISBN 0-664-25709-7
  • 1947–49 Christopher Dawson part 1:Religion and Culture ISBN 0-404-60498-6 part 2: Religion and the Rise of Western Culture ISBN 0-385-42110-9
  • 1949–50 Niels Bohr Causality and Complementarity: Epistemological Lessons of Studies in Atomic Physics, ISBN 1-881987-14-0
  • 1952–53 Arnold J. Toynbee An Historian's Approach to Religion, ISBN 0-19-215260-2
  • 1954–55 Rudolf Bultmann History and Eschatology: The Presence of Eternity, ISBN 0-8371-8123-2
  • 1973–74 Owen Chadwick The Secularisation of the European Mind in the 19th Century, ISBN 0-521-39829-0
  • 1974–76 Stanley Jaki The Road of Science and the Ways to God, ISBN 0-226-39145-0
  • 1978–79 Sir John Eccles The Human Mystery, The Human Psyche, ISBN 0-387-09954-9
  • 1979–80 Ninian Smart "The Varieties of Religious Identity", published as Beyond Ideology: Religion and the Future of Western Civilisation, ISBN 0-06-067402-4
  • 1980–81 Seyyed Hossein Nasr Knowledge and the Sacred, ISBN 0-7914-0177-4
  • 1981–82 Iris Murdoch Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, ISBN 0-14-017232-7
  • 1984–85 Jurgen Moltmann God in Creation: A New Theology of Creation and the Spirit of God, ISBN 0-8006-2823-3
  • 1986–87 John Hick An Interpretation of Religion, (2nd ed.): ISBN 0-300-10668-8
  • 1987–88 Alasdair MacIntyre Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: ISBN 0-7156-2337-0
  • 1993–94 John Polkinghorne Science and Christian Belief: Theological Reflections of a Bottom-up Thinker, ISBN 0-281-04714-6
  • 1995-6 G. A. Cohen If you're an Egalitarian, how come you're so Rich?, published by Harvard University Press under the same title: ISBN 0-674-00693-3
  • 1997–98 Holmes Rolston III Genes, Genesis and God, ISBN 0-521-64674-X
  • 1998–99 Charles Taylor, Living in a Secular Age, published as A Secular Age: ISBN 0-674-02676-4
  • 1999–2000 David Tracy, This side of God
  • 2000–01 Onora O'Neill, Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics
  • 2001–02 Mohammed Arkoun, Inaugurating a Critique of Islamic Reason
  • 2002–03 Michael Ignatieff The Lesser Evil - Political Ethics in an Age of Terror, ISBN 0-691-11751-9
  • 2003–04 J. Wentzel van Huyssteen Alone in the World? Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology, ISBN 0-8028-3246-6
  • 2004–05 Dame Margaret Anstee, Stephen Toulmin, and Noam Chomsky, delivering a series of lectures dedicated to Edward Said who was scheduled to give the 2004–05 series before his death in 2003.
  • 2005–06 Jean Bethke Elshtain, Sovereign God, Sovereign State, Sovereign Self
  • 2006–07 Simon Conway Morris Darwin 's Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation and Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades and Christianity
  • 2007–08 Alexander Nehamas, TBA and Robert M. Veatch, Hipprocratic, Religious and Secular Medical Ethics: The Point of Conflict


  • 1888–92 Friedrich Max Müller 1888: Natural Religion vol. 1 & 2; 1890: Physical Religion; 1891: Anthropological Religion: 1892: Theosophy or Psychological Religion
  • 1892–96 John Caird The Fundamental Ideas of Christianity Vol.1&2
  • 1896–98 Alexander Balmain Bruce The Moral Order of the World, The Providential Order of the World
  • 1914 Arthur Balfour Theism and Humanism ISBN 1-58742-005-8
  • 1916–18 Samuel Alexander Space, Time, and Deity, volume one: ISBN 0766187012, volume two: ISBN 0766187020
  • 1922 Arthur Balfour Theism and Thought
  • 1927–28 J. B. S. Haldane The Sciences and Philosophy, ISBN 0-404-60479-X
  • 1932–34 William Temple] Nature, Man and God
  • 1952-54 John Macmurray The Form of the Personal vol 1: The Self as Agent ISBN 1573923370 vol 2: Persons in Relation ISBN 1573926256
  • 1959 Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker The Relevance of Science
  • 1970 Richard William Southern The Rise and Fall of the Medieval System of Religious Thought
  • 1985 Carl Sagan The Search for Who We Are, published in 2006 as The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God, ISBN 1-59420-107-2
  • 1988 Don Cupitt Nature and Culture
  • 1988 Richard Dawkins Worlds in Microcosm
  • 1992 Mary Warnock Imagination and Understanding, published as Imagination and Time, ISBN 0-631-19019-8
  • 1993–94 Keith Ward Religion and Revelation ISBN 0-19-826375-9 (ISBN 13: 978-0-19-826375-3)
  • 1995–96 John Hedley Brooke Reconstructing Nature
  • 1997–98 R J (Sam) Berry Gods, Genes, Greens and Everything
  • 1999–00 Ralph McInerny Characters in Search of Their Author
  • 2001 Lynne Baker The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding
  • 2003–04 Simon Blackburn Reason's Empire

St Andrews


  • Stanley Jaki, Lord Gifford and His Lectures: A Centenary Retrospect (1987). Scottish Academic Press, ISBN 0-7073-0465-2.
  • Larry Witham, The Measure of God: Our Century-Long Struggle to Reconcile Science & Religion (2005), HarperSanFrancisco hardcover: ISBN 0-06-059191-9; reprinted as The Measure of God: History's Greatest Minds Wrestle with Reconciling Science and Religion (2006), paperback: ISBN 0-06-085833-8.

External links