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March 30, 2005


LEWISBURG, Pa. — Maria Antonaccio, associate professor of religion at Bucknell University, will give the talk, "Moralists, Aesthetes and Forest Dwellers: Religion and the Debate over Humanism," Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell.

The lecture, which is open to the public without charge, "will examine recent debates over the meaning of humanism and will consider the role that religious and other transcendent ideals might play in articulating a critical humanism for our time," says Antonaccio.

Antonaccio is author of Picturing the Human: The Moral Thought of Iris Murdoch, the first comprehensive study of that celebrated thinker and novelist's philosophical writings.

She also was the contributing editor, with William Schweiker, of Iris Murdoch and the Search for Human Goodness, and has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in national and international journals.

Her current research project is a book manuscript provisionally titled Where Virtue Plainly Shines: Reading Iris Murdoch Today.

A British writer, university lecturer and prolific novelist (26 novels in 40 years), Murdoch dealt with everyday ethical or moral issues, sometimes in the light of myths. In addition to her novels are plays and philosophical and critical studies, including Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals and a collection of essays The Sovereignty of Good and Other Concepts, "arguably one of the most influential and widely read works on moral philosophy to appear in the last 50 years," according to Antonaccio."

Antonaccio, who holds her degrees from Williams College and the University of Chicago, joined the faculty at Bucknell in 1994 Courses taught at Bucknell include Introduction to Ethics, Comparative Religious Ethics, God and Morality, Literature and the Moral Imagination, Environmental Ethics, and The End of Nature and the Posthuman Future.

The N.E.H. Chair in the Humanities is awarded every three years to a faculty member with broad-ranging interests in the humanities and a strong record of scholarship and teaching at Bucknell.

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