Lecture by Philip Knight: Aspects of Etty Hillesum’s Religious Humanism
Thursday, 6 January 2022
19:30 – 20:30
This talk explores aspects of Etty’s religious humanism. By ‘humanism’ is meant ‘a care and concern for human beings’ and not primarily a rational philosophy declaring the existence of a human essence over against human singularity. The talk will focus on three aspects of Etty’s religious humanism: first, her refusal of enmity and hatred, second, her willingness to seek and bear responsibility for the singular human being capable of feeling love and suffering; joy and pain whether they be a victim or perpetrator of moral evil and third, her eroticism which moves from being directed toward the particular (particular men and particular women) to a focus on the universal (love of all humanity). Etty’s religious humanism might, perhaps, provide material for ‘ethical’ reflection on connections to the otherness of the other: lack of hatred and enmity opening to the other and infinite responsibility and love as ways in.
About the speaker and the poet
Dr Philip Knight researches connections between Etty Hillesum’s writings and contemporary theology. He gained his PhD. in theology from Durham University in 1997, has published a number of articles and taught religious education in UK schools for 20 years before retirement.
Victoria Field is a writer, poetry therapist and researcher. Her most recent poetry collection, A Speech of Birds, was published by Francis Boutle in 2020. Her doctoral project at Canterbury Christ Church University is investigating pilgrimage and narratives of transformation. www.thepoetrypractice.co.uk
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