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Friday, October 13, 2:00-5:15 PM
St. Paul’s/ Harvard Catholic Center, Harvard Square

Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Thought, University of Notre Dame
China Scherz, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Virgina

Is the Biblical vision of charity compatible with the Sustainable Development Model that undergirds most aid projects today? What are their underlying ethical frameworks, and how does each affect real people in practice? This full-afternoon Master Class combines presentations with seminar discussion, team-taught by a Scripture scholar/theologian and an anthropologist.

Two sessions followed by an informal reception. Short readings to frame the discussion will be distributed to registered participants in advance of the class.


Charity and Sustainable Development 

We revisit Gary Anderson’s lecture from the previous evening and his writings on the biblical foundations for charity. We will also explore how charitable institutions and practices differ from more recently developed practices like Sustainable Development.   


Is Charity a Gift that Wounds?   

In this session, we will explore critiques of charity, examining the political and ethical questions entailed in this form of worship. Is the wound of the charitable gift inevitable? Does an understanding of charity as a gift to God mitigate its harm? What are the political and ethical consequences of other forms of philanthropy such as Sustainable Development or Humanitarianism? 


Gary A. Anderson

Gary A. Anderson is the Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Thought at the University of Notre Dame, and an internationally recognized scholar on the Old Testament, early Judaism and Christianity, and theological themes in the Scriptural tradition. A past president of the Catholic Biblical Association, he was Professor of Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School before moving to Notre Dame. Professor Anderson is the author or editor of more than ten books, including the award winners Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition (Yale, 2013), Sin: A History (Yale, 2009), and Christian Doctrine and the Old Testament (Baker, 2017). He has also written for The Christian Century, First Things, Commonweal, and America. He holds a PhD from Harvard University. 


China Scherz

China Scherz is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at The University of Virginia. Her scholarship explores how people decide who they should care for, how they ought to care for them, and how these understandings change over time. She is the author of Having People, Having Heart: Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and Higher Powers: Alcohol and After in Uganda’s Capital City (University of California Press, Forthcoming 2024). She received her PhD in Medical Anthropology from University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley in 2010. 

This course is made possible through the support of grant #62372 from the John Templeton Foundation, “In Lumine: Promoting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide.”

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