Los Alamos Faith & Science Forum To Hear From Prof. Victoria Erhart June 22 On Eastern Christianity And Science

An image of Christ measuring out the world. Courtesy LAFSF


This Wednesday, June 22, at 6pm at Kelly Hall of Trinity-on-the Hill Episcopal Church UNM-LA Professor Victoria Erhart will speak on “Eastern Christianity and Science”. Eastern Christianity, Greek-speaking Christianity, and its branches, as it developed east of Rome, has gifted the world with two theologies quite different from but not at odds with Latin-based Western Christianity. The Eastern Christian doctrine of Creation is dynamic and multi-stage:

Creation — Organization — Incarnation — Salvation

This doctrine of Creation respects scientific investigation as being not at all in conflict with Biblical Creation. Arising from the Incarnation, Eastern Christianity also promulgates the doctrine of theosis or divinization of human nature as believers seek union with God through progressive spiritualization of human senses and intellect. This presentation will discuss major works of St. Basil the Great (330-379 CE) and St. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662 CE) as they illustrate aspects of these two theologies.

Eastern Christianity entered modernity through a very different path than that of Western Christianity (Latin based). Eastern Christianity took no part in the Crusades and the development of Scholastic theology, nor did Eastern Christianity participate in the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, or the socio-political consequences of the American and French revolutions. Much of Eastern Christianity developed under challenges from Islamic expansion from the seventh century on, culminating in the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In the modern era, much of Eastern Christianity functioned under Communist persecution. All of these factors helped shape the questions and problems on which Eastern Christianity focused. The relationship between faith and science was not a top priority. But Eastern Christianity does offer us a model for how faith and science, the use of sense perceptible knowledge and discursive reasoning, can relate to one another, a model much different from the “conflict model” so prevalent in Western Christianity.

Dr. Erhart completed her undergraduate studies at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, the “great Books” school. She began graduate school in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, before moving to Toronto to continue theological studies at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. She completed theological studies with a concentration in Early Christian Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Victoria Erhart has taught World Religions at a variety of colleges and universities. She currently teaches business technology courses at UNM-LA. Her research interests include Syriac Christianity, pre-modern military history, sustainable and environmental issues and the intersection between science and religion.
More information can be found at the web site www.losalamosfaithandscienceforum.org.

Join the Zoom meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84567890081?pwd=-BC9PuySlP7_6aL0R2ecinNogJ3Krz.1