Religious Lecture Series

Each year, Elmhurst University hosts a series of lectures that honor a variety of religious traditions.

Elmhurst has a long tradition of embracing a diversity of perspectives on faith. In that spirit, our religious lecture series features scholars and speakers from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, UCC and other faith traditions. Each lecture invites the University community to come together to reflect on questions of faith.

The Niebuhr Lecture

This lecture features theologians and religious scholars, primarily in the tradition of the United Church of Christ. The series honors Elmhurst University alumni Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, widely considered to be among the foremost American theologians of the 20th century.

Past Speakers

  • Martin E. Marty
  • Richard Wollheim
  • Robert N. Fisher
  • Gary Dorrien

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Lecture

The Bernardin Lecture brings prominent Catholic theologians to campus to discuss faith-related issues. The series honors the late Cardinal Bernardin of the Chicago archdiocese, who died in 1996, 10 days before he was scheduled to speak at the University.

Past Speakers

  • Sister Helen Prejean
  • Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.
  • Father Jack Wall
  • Monsignor Kenneth Velo

Abraham Joshua Heschel Lecture

Named for prominent Jewish philosopher and theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, this annual lecture focuses on the Jewish faith. A colleague of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in New York, Heschel played a significant role in both the civil rights movement and in Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Past Speakers

  • Rabbi David Sandmel
  • Rabbi Eric Yoffie
  • Bruce Feiler
  • Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman
  • Josh Feigelson

al-Ghazali Lecture

This series honors the great Muslim scholar and theologian Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, who was born in Iran in 1058 but spent much of his life as a teacher in Baghdad and as a wandering ascetic. His prolific writings on religion, philosophy and Sufism had lasting influence on scholars from a variety of faith traditions.

Past Speakers

  • Mustafa Abu Sway
  • Katrin Jomaa
  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr
  • Hussein Rashid
  • M. Cherif Bassiouni

The Holocaust Guestship

Each spring, the University community comes together to reflect on one of the darkest periods in human history in the context of the University’s heritage as a German institution and as a church-affiliated one.

The University also sends students and faculty on regular visits to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Past Speakers

  • Elie Wiesel, one of the best-known Holocaust survivors and winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Deborah Lipstadt, a professor at Emory University who has written extensively on Holocaust denial
  • Howard Reich, a Chicago Tribune jazz critic and son of a Holocaust survivor
  • Christopher Browning, widely regarded as one of America’s leading Holocaust historians
  • Bernd Wollschlaeger, the son of a Nazi officer

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