Valparaiso University Professor Gilbert Meilaender, Ph.D., senior research professor of theology, was invited to Princeton University to present the Charles E. Test, M.D., Distinguished Lecture. He was also honored at the Princeton University conference “Politics, Theology, and the Limits of Ethics” celebrating his work in bioethics.
Meilaender’s lecture, titled “Posthuman or Perfected Human?: Biotechnical Enhancement and the History of Redemption,” reflected on a significant bioethics topic concerning attempts to enhance human nature, either by enabling superior performance, altering mood or prolonging life. He examined how one should think about these attempts in light of God’s threefold action in creation, reconciliation and redemption.
The daylong conference, themed “Politics, Theology, and the Limits of Ethics,” included discussion panels who addressed questions of general importance in Christian ethics. The speakers came from a variety of academic institutions, including Notre Dame, Indiana University, John Carroll University, Yale, Princeton, St. Olaf and Georgetown.
“I have never spent much time thinking about what one might call ‘my work,’ ” Meilaender said. “But if it could serve as the occasion for an academic conference as good as this one, it can’t have been all bad.”
The author of several books and articles in the field of Christian ethics, Meilaender began his teaching career at Valparaiso University in 1996, where he held the Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics. He previously taught at the University of Virginia and at Oberlin College. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, was a member of the president’s council on bioethics from 2002 to 2009, and has served on the board of directors of the Society of Christian Ethics and as associate editor of Religious Studies Review, consultant editor of Studies in Christian Ethics and associate editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics.
Meilaender holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.