Full Professor Inaugural Lecture, Kent Clarke
Full Professor Inaugural Lecture, Kent Clarke, PhD, Religious Studies Department,
“Expressions of Doubt and Notions of Certainty: What Enlightenment Skepticism can Teach us about Christian Faith”
With its emphasis upon such ideals as human reason, progress, and autonomy, the 18th Century Enlightenment is often considered the single greatest influence in the development of Christian skepticism and doubt.
The theological dualism between the material and the transcendent that has originated out of contemporary Christianity’s encounter with the Enlightenment, has often left individuals of faith uncertain about the traditional premises of their beliefs.
Christian skepticism and doubt are becoming even more pronounced in light of clear indications that biblical and theological illiteracy are on the increase within the context of Western Christendom. This lecture will seek to explore how faith might thoughtfully interact with concepts of doubt and certainty by examining the thought of two controversial yet important Enlightenment skeptics—Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) and David Hume (1711-1776).
Kent Clarke is the Brooke Foss Westcott Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism, Greek Studies, and Hermeneutics at Trinity Western University.
He has been a full-time faculty member of the Religious Studies Department at the University since 2002. Clarke’s primary research and teaching interests include Jewish and Hellenistic backgrounds to early Christianity, New Testament textual criticism and canon formation, Hellenistic and Koine Greek grammar and syntax, hermeneutics and exegesis, and the development of modern biblical criticism and theology with reference to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment (this latter interest serving as the topic of his Ph.D. thesis completed at Trinity College, University of Bristol, UK in 2002).
Clarke serves as the Chair of the Religious Studies Department (since 2013), and Coordinator of the Biblical Studies Program (since 2012). He is also the Director of the Reuben J. Swanson Biblical Manuscript Image Collection at TWU (the largest collection of its kind in Canada), is the Academic Project Leader of the Bible Works Manuscript Transcription Project.
Clarke derives great enjoyment from his profession as a biblical scholar, and has a deep passion for intellectual and personal growth; not only for himself, but for the students he is privileged to teach. To this end, it is one of his greatest desires to integrate, both for himself as well as his students, the “life of the mind” and the “life of the Spirit.”
Clarke has been married to his wife Lauren for twenty-six years, and has two incredible sons, Kieran (19) and Jamie (16).
RSVP: Natalia Melikhova