Georg Toepfer — Unity or Diversity? Christian Origins of and Resistance to Valuing DiversityTuesday, April 5, 2022 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm CEST/GMT+2
A guest lecture hosted by the Science and Religion Project
The current discourse on diversity and its evaluation has not one root, but many. It ties together developments in the fields of biology and bioethics, aesthetics and economy, law and global justice. Somehow the concept ‘diversity’ has managed, in particular in the arena of politics, to bring the heterogenous problems associated with these diverse fields under one heading. An important background for this success story is the rich cultural history of ‘diversity’. It comprises ancient narratives about divine creation, paradise and Noah’s ark as well as political ideas of cultural pluralism, egalitarianism and non-hierarchical representation of individuals. In his talk, Toepfer will focus on the Christian elements in this long history. They refer, among other things, to a more respectful attitude toward animals than the Romans had in ancient times, to debates about the emergence of a “diversity” of ecclesiastical orders, each with different rules (diversitas statutorum), in Medieval times, and the “diversity images” in the physico-theological context of Early Modern times that put the logic of diversity into the visual sphere by showing an egalitarian, non-hierarchical representation of diverse living things.
Georg Toepfer is co-director of the research area “Lebenswissen” at the Leibniz-Center for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL) in Berlin. He studied biology and philosophy and received his diploma in biology from the University of Würzburg, his PhD in philosophy from the University of Hamburg and a post-doctoral degree (habilitation) in philosophy from the University of Bamberg. His principal area of research is the history and philosophy of the life sciences, with a special focus on the the transfer of concepts between biology and other fields. Major publication: Historisches Wörterbuch der Biologie. Geschichte und Theorie der biologischen Grundbegriffe (3 vols., Metzler 2011).
This event is part of a series of seminars organized by the BCB Science & Religion Project, a part of the Oxford-led project "New Horizons for Science and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe" with support from the Templeton Foundation.
Email: [email protected]