SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University philosophy Professor Doug Kries has received a $154,548 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in collaboration with two other universities to present a 2014 Summer Institute for College and University Teachers at Gonzaga, titled “Medieval Political Philosophy: Islamic, Jewish, and Christian.”
The Institute will be held at Gonzaga’s Foley Center Library from June 16 through July 11. Kries will serve as a co-director along with Joshua Parens of University of Dallas and Joseph Macfarland of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. Kries also will serve as a lead faculty member with Professors Haim Kreisel of Ben Gurion University in Israel and Charles Butterworth at University of Maryland.
Some two-dozen teachers in higher education nationwide will be NEH Summer Scholars for the Institute. Up to three of the teachers may be doctoral students preparing to teach in college. Kries expects the Summer Scholars will be teachers of political philosophy or political theory.
The Institute will prepare the scholars to teach undergraduate courses addressing all three of the religious traditions within which medieval political philosophy emerged: Islamic, Jewish, and Christian. Kries said medieval political philosophy is especially important because it was when ancient political philosophy encountered the three revealed religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
“Studying the appropriation of Plato and Aristotle within the context of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity helps students see the relevance of medieval thought to political problems human beings always face. We can see that all around the world the relationship of religion to political life is a major issue, but studying such questions through the eyes of the great authors of the Middle Ages has been on the wane,” he said. “We hope to begin to reverse that trend by preparing teachers at our NEH Institute.”
Among those authors to be studied are Alfarabi, Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas.
The Institute will advance the NEH’s goal of building bridges between cultures by comparing the medieval monotheistic religions on such questions as the nature of religious law and the relationship between political regimes and religious assemblies. The NEH conducts a number of similar institutes each summer. A complete list is posted on the NEH website.
For more information, please contact Professor Kries at (509) 313-6720 or via email.