The Enchantment of the Secular - Annual Newman Lecture


Location: Newman University Church

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Representatives of faith traditions commonly try to narrow the perceived gap between faith and reason by making people of faith sound a bit more reasonable. Cavanagh will challenge the dichotomy between the faithful and the reasonable by exploring the enchantments of the secular world.  Through the lens of the biblical notion of idolatry, he will explore the idea that everyone worships, and question Max Weber's presentation of the modern Western world as disenchanted.  His aim will be to show that "religious" and "secular" people have more in common than is commonly thought, and thus open avenues of conversation between them.

William T. Cavanaugh is Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University. He is a theologian who specializes in political theology and ecclesiology. His project is entitled "Disenchantment and Idolatry." In it he will explore Max Weber’s idea that modernity is disenchanted through the lens of the biblical concept of idolatry, which blurs the line between explicit and implicit forms of worship.

Professor Cavanaugh is the author of seven books, including Torture and Eucharist (1998), The Myth of Religious Violence (2009), Migrations of the Holy: Theologies of State and Church (2011), and Field Hospital: The Church’s Engagement with a Wounded World (2016). He is the co-editor of three volumes, including The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology (2003), and co-editor of the journal Modern Theology. He has published over a hundred journal articles and book chapters, has lectured on six continents, and his books and articles have been published in twelve languages.