UPenn receives 2005 Templeton Research Lectures Grant


Project to explore mind, religion, and ethics in dialogue

APRIL 8, 2005-- The Philadelphia-based Metanexus Institute announced today that the University of Pennsylvania is the recipient of a 2005 Templeton Research Lecture Grant. This three-year $270,000 grant promotes the constructive engagement of science and religion through interdisciplinary study groups and an annual distinguished lectureship. The other two 2005 recipients announced earlier this month are Frankfurt University in Germany and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

Made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Research Lecture competition targets projects at 200 distinguished research universities worldwide. The 2005 winners join past recipients including Bar Ilan University, Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of Arizona, Université de Montréal, University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern California.

Andrew Newberg, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania will direct the initiative. Entitled "Mind, Religion, and Ethics in Dialogue," this project will explore the critical relationship between the mind and spirituality. This relationship includes the study of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, religious and spiritual experiences and concepts, issues related to love and compassion, and epistemological problems. Such scholarly pursuits hold critical importance for many fields including cognitive neuroscience, theology, philosophy, anthropology, law, bioethics, and religious studies. There are also broader implications for research in the health sciences, psychology, and biology.

Dr Newberg stated, "This Lectureship Program will greatly advance the field relating religion and spirituality to the human mind. This program provides an opportunity for leading scholars around the world and at the University of Pennsylvania to explore in more detail than ever before this relationship and bring these ideas to the general public."

Administering the 2005 Templeton Research Lectures initiative is William Grassie, executive director of the Metanexus Institute. Commenting on the significance of the lectures, Grassie notes, "The challenges of the 21st century require new interdisciplinary collaborations, which place questions of meanings and values on the agenda. We need to put questions about the universe and the universal back at the heart of the university."

Grassie, a sometime visiting lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies, notes that Metanexus and the University of Pennsylvania have many informal connections. Metanexus was originally incorporated with four faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania. "Precisely because of this intimate history, Metanexus is particularly pleased to award this grant to this dynamic interdisciplinary committee for their important three year project."

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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