Hans Joas, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and the Emst Troeltsch Professor for the Sociology of Religion at Humboldt University in Berlin, will discuss “Slavery and Torture in a Global Perspective: Human Rights and the Western Tradition” in a 7 p.m. lecture Thursday, Nov. 6, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St.Thomas.

Hans Joas

Hans Joas

The lecture, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the university’s Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy. The lecture is one of a series that brings together prominent thinkers in fields such as philosophy, theology and law to explore what it means for humans to possess dignity.

Joas will discuss how the development of the concept of human rights relates to the legal proscription of slavery and torture in the Western world and how secure the religious, philosophical and political foundations of the abolitionist and anti-torture movements remain today.

Joas is an internationally recognized scholar who has published several influential books that include his 1993 Pragmatism and Social Theory, 1996 The Creativity of Action and 2000 The Genesis of Values. More recently he has written on the intersection of religion and sociology: Do We Need Religion? On the Experience of Self-Transcendence was published in 2009 and his The Sacredness of the Person was published in 2012. His recently published Faith as an Option: Possible Futures for Christianity is now available in English.

The Murphy Institute is a collaboration between St. Thomas’ School of Law and Center for Catholic Studies. The institute’s goal is to assemble a collection of lectures into one volume that can serve as a resource for those interested in a strenuous investigation of the topic of human dignity.

Go to the Murphy Institute website for more information and to register.

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