Being Human in a Technological World: Pointers from Patristic Anthropology
Being human in our technological age requires not merely technical skills but—more importantly—intellectual capacity to navigate a rapidly changing philosophical milieu. Join us this winter for our online lecture series, Human Flourishing in a Technological Age, to learn from leading scholars about key aspects of what it means to be human in a technological age: personhood, embodied cognition, leisure, transhumanism and more.
Please join us on Friday, February 5 as we welcome Very Rev. Dr. John Behr who will give the lecture "Being Human in a Technological World: Pointers from Patristic Anthropology."
In this lecture, Father Behr will examine what challenges the erasure of death from the horizon of sight in the modern Western world raises for our understanding of ourselves as embodied human beings. As Hervé Juvin notes in the last lines of his study, The Coming of the Body (2010), which examines the various ways in which our experience of embodiment has changed over the last century: ‘Alone, the body remembers that it is finite; alone it roots us in the limits, our last frontier (for how long?); and even if—especially if—it forgets, the body alone still prevents us from being God to ourselves and others.’ Bringing together insights from Martha Nussbaum (‘Transcending Humanity’) and his own recent work on the Gospel of John and the theology of Irenaeus, Behr will argue that the technological advances of the past century provide a unique, and precious, opportunity for us to recognize the important connection between mortality, being human, and the incarnation of God.
Very Rev. Dr. John Behr is Professor of Patristics, teaching courses in patristics, dogmatics and scriptural exegesis at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and also at Fordham University, where he is the Distinguished Lecturer in Patristics. After completing his first degree in Philosophy in London in 1987, Fr. John spent a year studying in Greece. He finished an M.Phil. in Eastern Christian Studies at Oxford University, under Bishop Kallistos (Ware), who subsequently supervised his doctoral work, which was examined by Fr. Andrew Louth and Rowan Williams, now Archbishop of Canterbury. While working on his doctorate, he was invited to be a Visiting Lecturer at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in 1993, where he has been a permanent faculty member since 1995, tenured in 2000, and ordained in 2001. He served as Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary from 2007 to 2017, and in 2016 he was also appointed as the first (part-time) holder of the Metropolitan Kallistos Chair of Orthodox Theology at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. His published works include The Way to Nicaea (SVS Press 2001), The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death (SVS Press 2006), and Becoming Human: Meditations on Christian Anthropology in Word and Image (SVS Press 2013).