The St Andrews Gifford Lectures – from 1889 to the present

To date there have been over fifty series of Gifford Lectures delivered in the University of St Andrews. As well providing the occasion for some of the finest thinkers of their times to set out their ideas on questions of philosophy, theology, ethics, culture and science, and on the connections between these, the lectures have provided an occasion for staff and students from different disciples to gather and meet together with members of the general public.

The first series of Gifford Lectures to be delivered in the University of St Andrews was given in 1888-89 by Andrew Lang under the title The Making of Religion.

Lang was a Scot, born in Selkirk in 1844 where his father was Town clerk. He was educated at Selkirk grammar school, Edinburgh Academy and Balliol College, Oxford, where he subsequently became a fellow of Merton College.

He was well known in his own day for the breadth of his interests and the range of his talents. His literary output was considerable, as a journalist, poet, critic, historian, translator, and editor. Among his principal concerns, and those for which he now best known, were the fields of folklore, myth and the anthropology of religion.

His Gifford Lectures are largely concerned with the origins and development of religious ideas including those of soul and God. He also observes a deep connection between religion and ethics, writing that ‘Even in its rudest forms Religion was a moral force, the powers that man reveres were on the side of social order and moral law; and that the fear of the gods was a motive to enforce the laws of society.’

2019 Mark Johnston The Hard God: Ontotheology as an Antidote for Idolatry.
2017 Michael Rea Though the Darkness hide Thee
2015 Linda Zagzebski Exemplarist Virtue Theory
2012 Denis Alexander Genes, Determinism and God
2010 Roger Scruton The Face of God
2007 Sir Martin Rees Cosmic Perspectives
2002 Peter van Inwagen The Problem of Evil
2000-01 Stanley Hauerwas The Grain of the Universe
1998-99 Robert Adams God and Being
1998-99 Marilyn Adams The Coherence of Christology
1996-97 Michael Dummett Thought and Reality
1994-95 Nicholas Wolterstorff Thomas Reid and the story of Epistemology
1992-93 Roger Penrose Physical Reality
1992-93 Arthur Peacocke Nature, God and Humanity
1990-91 Hilary Putnam Renewing Philosophy
1988-89 Walter Burkert Tracks of Biology
1986-87 Antony Flew The Logic of Mortality
1984-85 Adolf Grunbaum Psychoanalysis and Science
1983-84 John Macquarrie In Search of Deity
1982-83 Donald Charlton New Images of the Natural
1980-81 Gregory Vlastos Socrates: Ironist / Philosopher
1977-78 David Stafford-Clark Myth, Magic and Denial
1975-77 Reijer Hooykaas Fact, Faith and Fiction in Science
1973-73 Alfred J. Ayer The Central Questions of Philosophy
1969-71 William Thorpe Animal Nature and Human Nature
1967-69 Robert Zaehner Concordant Discord
1964-66 John Findlay The Discipline and Transcendence of the Cave
1962-64 Henry Chadwick Authority in the Early Church
1960-62 Steven Runciman The Great Church in Captivity
1958-60 George Von Wright Norm, Action and the Varieties of Goodness
1956-58 Vigo Demant The Penumbra of Ethics
1955-56 Werner Heisenberg Physics and Philosophy
1953-55 Charles Campbell On Selfhood and Godhood
1951-53 Brand Blanshard Reason, Belief and Goodness
1949-50 Herbert J. Paton The Modern Predicament
1948-49 Alexander MacBeath Experiments in Living
1946-48 Emil Brunner Christianity and Civilisation
1939-40 Richard Kroner The Primacy of Faith
1938 Joseph Bidez Plato and the Orient
1937-38 William G. de Burgh From Morality to Religion
1936-37 Werner Jaeger Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers
1935-36 Herbert Henson Christian Morality
1930-32 Robert R. Marret Faith, Hope & Charity in Primitive Religion
1929-30 Charles Gore The Philosophy of the Good Life
1926-28 Alfred Taylor The Faith of a Moralist
1924-25 Lewis Farnell The Attributes of God
1921-22 Conway L. Morgan Emergent Evolution
1919-20 Lewis Farnell Greek Hero Cults
1917-19 William Inge The Philosophy of Plotinus
1914-16 John Thompson The System of Animate Nature
1911-13 James Frazier The Belief in Immortality
1907-09 James Ward The Realm of Ends
1902-04 Richard Haldane The Pathway to Reality
1899-01 Rodolfo Lanciani New Tales of Old Rome
1894-96 Lewis Campbell Religion in Greek Literature
1890-02 Edward Caird The Evolution of Religion
1889-90 Andrew Lang The Making of Religion