Jennifer Herdt — Meet the Speakers of Exploring Personhood: Human Formation

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How are humans formed? What factors shape our identities as humans? And what practices lend themselves to human and spiritual formation? Academic disciplines answer this question in increasingly different ways. Yet how we understand human formation affects everything.

Join us as we advance the conversation at our second-annual Exploring Personhood conference, presented by the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on Feb. 2-3, 2023.

In this post, get to know one of our speakers, Dr. Jennifer Herdt.

Meet Jennifer Herdt

Jennifer Herdt is Gilbert Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale University Divinity School.  She has published widely on virtue ethics, ethical formation, and political theology in the context of early modern and modern moral thought.  Her most recent book, Assuming Responsibility: Ecstatic Eudaimonism and the Call to Live Well, was published this year by Oxford University Press.  Her 2019 book Forming Humanity: Redeeming the German Bildung Tradition, was supported by a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Institute.  One of her earlier books, Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices, was recognized as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2008.  In 2021, she served as President of the Society of Christian Ethics, and sits on the editorial boards of a number of journals, including the Journal of Religion and the Journal of Religious Ethics.  Under the auspices of a grant funded by the Templeton Foundation, she is now pursuing a project on “The Animality of Moral Agency: Theological Anthropology and the Pre-Reflective Elements of Ethical Life.”

Lecture Topic

In the Furnace of Charity: Formed for Love

What sort of formation is required in order to flourish as human creatures?  We are called to abundant life, yet we do not at the outset of our journey know how to find it, nor would we be able to recognize it if we did.  We need therefore to approach popular contemporary “flourishing” talk with caution.  For Augustine, the formation we need is to be found only “in the furnace of charity.”  For theologian Willie Jennings, it involves our unmaking in the space of the body of Christ.  Clashing wills and warped desires prevent us from being at peace either with ourselves or with one another.  We flourish together or not at all, and formation is always de-formation and re-formation, ordered finally to an unfamiliar joy.

Join us for Exploring Personhood: Human Formation

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Center for Faith and Culture

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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