Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou to address the World Humanist Congress 2014

The World Humanist Congress, held every three years, is a unique event bringing together humanists from all over the world, hosted by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and one of its member organisations. This year the Congress is being organised by the British Humanist Association and will be held in Oxford between Friday 8th – Sunday 10th August 2014.

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou will deliver a talk at the Congress entitled ‘thinking and speaking freely about religion’ along with BBC Radio 4’s Making History presenter, Tom Holland. They will refer to their academic work and the reaction to their attempts to popularise their ‘heretical’ scholarship and will discuss their experience and the lessons they draw from it with Zoe Williams, the columnist, journalist and author. She will also contribute towards a plenary session on 21st century enlightenment alongside Heiner Bielefeldt, Jo Glanville, Andrew Copson and Samira Ahmed.

The event will bring together atheist, humanist and other non-religious organisations and individuals from around the world. Its aim is to celebrate freedom of thought and expression, hear how these values are being threatened, meet some of their defenders and explore how secularism and the humanist movement can contribute to their defence. Professor Stavrakopoulou will join a host of acclaimed speakers including Philip Pullman, Richard Dawkins and Joan Bakewell.

On the topic of the upcoming event, Professor Stavrakopoulou comments, "I’m firmly committed to the idea that academics have a responsibility to share and test their ideas with those beyond the ivory tower. In my field, that can mean challenging the premise of other people’s beliefs. But whatever else you might believe about religious writings, the Bible, Tanakh and Quran are also the products of human culture, and we all share them and have a right to discuss them within the secular contexts that scholarship enjoys."

Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Head of Theology and Religion and Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion at the University of Exeter. Her research is primarily focused on ancient Israelite and Judahite religions, and portrayals of the religious past in the Hebrew Bible. Please visit the World Humanist Congress website for further details of the upcoming event.

Date: 5 August 2014

Read more University News