The contemporary university seems paradoxical. On the one hand, we find many sophisticated scientific disciplines pursuing research projects with confidence. On the other hand, influential figures in the humanities promote what Pope Benedict has called a "dictatorship of relativism." Careful analysis shows that the current crisis of reason is exclusively in the area of our study of culture, and this crisis emerges out of a failure to cultivate the virtue of docility, the disposition of receptivity that opens the soul to the possibility of moral and spiritual truths. The Text of the Lecture
BIO: Dr. Russell Ronald Reno III (R. R. Reno) is the editor of First Things magazine. He is a professor of theology at Creighton University. Reno is the author of several books, including "Fighting the Noonday Devil", a theological commentary on the Book of Genesis in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series for which he also serves as general editor, "In the Ruins of the Church", and "Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Cure of the Soul". He has also coauthored two books, "Heroism and The Christian Life" and "Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible". His scholarly work ranges widely in systematic and moral theology, as well as in controverted questions of biblical interpretation.
Reno was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1959, and grew up in Towson, Maryland. A graduate of Towson High School in 1978, after a year living in his tent in Yosemite Valley, he attended Haverford College, receiving a BA in 1983. He began graduate study at Yale University in the Department of Religious Studies in 1984 and completed his doctoral degree in 1990 in the area of religious ethics (Gene Outka dissertation director). While in graduate school he met and married Juliana Miller, with whom he has had two children, Rachel (born 1990) and Jesse (born 1992). He received his first faculty appointment at Creighton University in 1990, where he taught until 2010 when he took an extended academic leave to work full time at First Things.
Reno was baptized into the Episcopal Church as an infant and grew up as a member of the Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore, Maryland. As an adult he was an active participant in the Episcopal Church, serving as Senior Warden of the Church of the Resurrection in Omaha, Nebraska from 1991–1995, as deputy to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1993,1996, and 1999, and as a member of the Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops from 2001-2003. On September 18, 2004, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church. He explained his conversion in this way: "as an Episcopalian I needed a theory to stay put, and I came to realize that a theory is a thin thread easily broken. The Catholic Church needs no theories". In addition to his academic pursuits, Reno is an avid rock climber and mountaineer from a young age.