Nancy K. Frankenberry, Senior Fellow

Senior Fellow
2015

As of June 2015, Nancy Frankenberry is John Phillips Professor in Religion Emerita at Dartmouth College where she taught courses in philosophy of religion; women and gender studies and religion; and science and religion. Her research and writing have attempted to span all three areas. She is the author or editor/co-editor of five books, as well as over sixty scholarly articles, book chapters, and critical reviews. Most recently, she has completed a series of five papers in the general area of religious epistemology. With the completion of a book-manuscript tentatively titled “Pragmatism and the End of Religion,” she expects to wrap up her work in philosophy of religion.

While a senior fellow at the Martin Marty Center Prof. Frankenberry will turn to issues facing the wider public in connection with science and religion debates. Her new project, “Great Issues in Religion and Evolution,” will investigate the intellectual challenge of Darwinism and evolutionary biology to religious belief and practice in the USA for the last 150 years. Among the issues she is most interested in are (1) the proper interpretation of polls and surveys on science and religion in America, especially those that show a significant differential between Europeans and Americans; (2) the historical and political context giving rise to the Scopes Trial and the Dover, Pa. Judge Jones Opinion, as well as the phenomenon of Ken Ham and the Creation Museum, and the Dawkins controversy as it played out in the U.S.; (3) the critical appraisal of philosophical and scientific problems posed by “theistic evolution,” as found among practicing scientists beginning with botanist Asa Gray in the 19th century, through Teilhard de Chardin’s impact on American Catholic intellectuals in mid-20th century circles, to such current scientists/authors as Francis Collins, Joan Roughgarden, Francisco J. Ayala, and Kenneth Miller; and among such theologians as John Haught, Karl Giberson, Ted Peters, and others; and (4) the evaluation of the work of “ground-of-being philosophers and theologians” (chiefly Robert Neville, Wesley Wildman, Mark Johnston) in light of evolutionary theory.

She notes that “Newly freed from the demands of undergraduate teaching, I am keenly interested in intellectual engagement with the junior fellows at the MMC and other graduate students at the Div School, as well as with friends on the faculty. I am very honored to be a Senior Fellow at the Center this year. For many reasons, it feels like coming home.”