Plenary Session: Nicholas Adams

March 25, 2022

  • Nicholas Adams portrait
    Nicholas Adams Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Birmingham


More than ever before, cultural and religious literacy are essential for all those seeking to live into their callings in life. These capacities are required for public work in the political sphere, medicine, law, education, and for the work of corporations and nongovernmental organizations. The vocational trajectories of everyone in higher education—students, staff, faculty members, and administrators—increasingly require us to attend to what shapes one another’s deepest commitments and practices. Although not all campuses have the resources to make intercultural and interreligious engagements a routine part of the collegiate experience, they can easily facilitate productive encounters with the key texts of a variety of religious traditions. The practice of Scriptural Reasoning focuses on reading such texts together to stimulate conversation, empathy, and insight. This practice has developed over more than 20 years across several continents, with centers of practice and research in 12 countries, encompassing many languages and traditions. This plenary session will provide an introduction to Scriptural Reasoning and will guide participants through its actual practice in small groups, facilitated by NetVUE leaders with experience in this work. The session will conclude with guidance for implementing the practice of Scriptural Reasoning on campus and an assessment of its value for vocational reflection and discernment among undergraduate students. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about bringing Scriptural Reasoning to their own institutional settings in a concurrent session during the 1:15 concurrent workshops on Friday afternoon.

Chair: John C. Knapp, President, Washington & Jefferson College