Harvard University
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The End of Violence

A Christian and a Secular Humanist discuss human nature and the possibility of peace

Sponsors: AACF • ABSK • BCFCI/AIA • BGM • Faculty Commons • HCFA • HCHAA • HDS GCF • HRCF • HUF • Memorial Church

October 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm
Sanders Theater

About the Presenters
S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania

David Skeel is the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of Icarus in the Boardroom (Oxford, 2005) and Debt’s Dominion: A History of Bankruptcy Law in America (Princeton, 2001), as well as numerous articles and other publications. He has been interviewed on The News Hour, Nightline, Chris Matthews’ Hardball (MSNBC), National Public Radio, and Marketplace, among others, and has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other newspapers and magazines. Skeel has twice received the Harvey Levin award for outstanding teaching, as selected by a vote of the graduating class, and has also received the University’s Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. In addition to bankruptcy and corporate law, Skeel also writes on sovereign debt, Christianity and law, and poetry and the law, and is an elder at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. His newest book, True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of A Complex World (IVP) was released in September 2014.


Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received eight honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, and The Better Angels of Our Nature. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”

Prof. of African and African American Studies, Prof. of Religion, Harvard University
Dr. Marla Frederick is a Professor of African and African American Studies and a Professor of Religion at Harvard University. She is an authority on questions of religion, race, and ethnography. Educated at Spelman and Duke, Frederick's research in the areas of religion, race, gender, media, politics, and economics is highly acclaimed and supported by the National Science Foundation, the Milton Fund, and the Louisville Institute. She is the author of Between Sundays: Black Women and Everyday Struggles of Faith and is currently working on a book entitled Colored Television: Religion, Media, and Racial Uplift in the Black Atlantic World.

History at Harvard University

The Veritas Forum was started at Harvard in 1992 by Kelly Monroe Kullberg during her time at the Divinity School. Since then, the Veritas Forum has expanded to over 80 schools across the world.

In September 2014, The Veritas Forum at Harvard welcomed Stanford professor Charles Lee to discuss "The American Dream - Money, God and the Pursuit of Happiness" with Harvard's Michael Puett.  The conversation was moderated by Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana.

In November of 2013, world renowned New Testament scholar dialogued with Harvard Philosophy Chair Sean Kelly in a conversation on the interpretation of the New Testament in a post-modern era at "The Bible: Gospel, Guide, or Garbage?" moderated by Jay Harris, Dean of Undergraduate Education and Harry Austryn Wolfson Professor of Jewish Studies.

In 2013, the University of Chicago's Jean Bethke Elstain and Harvard's Michael Sandel shared a dialogue on "The Role of Religion in Public Life" in Sanders Theater. HDS/HLS student Christopher Hampson moderated.

In 2012, Oxford Mathematician John Lennox spoke on "Miracles: Is Belief in the Supernatural Irrational?" to a packed audience of 650 people in Science Center C. Professor Tyler Vanderwheele, of Harvard's Epidemiology Department, moderated the Forum.

In 2011, Sri Lankan lay theologian and social critic Vinoth Ramachandra had a dialogue on pluralism with Harvard Professor Diana Eck, titled "Why Tolerance is Not Enough: Myths About Pluralism." Rodney Petersen, of the Boston Theological Institute, served as moderator.