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Video

Interview Date

4-14-1999

Abstract

How do you define religion?

Dr. Anne Carr discusses her use of Friedrich von Hugel’s definition of religion, which characterizes religion as a synthesis of three elements: institutional, intellectual, and mystical. She also references Smart’s definition of religion, which says that religion is “indoctrination of the moral and ethical elements of life”. Dr. Carr remarks that whatever the definition may be, it is important that it is rooted in experience and a search for meaning. This search for meaning raises a question similar to proving the existence of God.

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Playing Time: 2:24 minutes

About the Interviewee:

Sr. Dr. Anne Carr, BVM, a pioneering feminist theologian, and the first woman with a permanent faculty appointment to the University of Chicago’s renowned Divinity School, was a scholar of modern theology who specialized in Catholic thought and feminist theology. She received her Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1971.

Dr. Carr examined subjects from the theology of Karl Rahner, S.J. to the spirituality of Thomas Merton to theological anthropology and the teaching of religion to undergraduates — but she is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking 1988 book Transforming Grace: Christian Tradition and Women’s Experience. She proposed a very important new way of thinking and teaching theology in this comprehensive survey of Christian feminism. In addition to her groundbreaking scholarly work, Carr was also known as a pioneer for woman’s rights within the Church, she spoke at the Catholic Women’s Ordination Conference, delivering an ethical and historical case for the ordination of women to the Roman Catholic Priesthood. She died in 2008.

About the Interviewer:

Dr. Alfred Benney is a professor of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and teaches courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include "how people learn"; "the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning" and "myth as explanatory narrative". He has published work on teaching with technology.

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