Noted theologian and author to deliver Fairfield University's Commonweal Lecture

"Ask the beasts and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth and they will instruct you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you ... " (Job 12:7-8)

Image: E JohnsonOn Wednesday, April 17, at 8 p.m., award-winning author and educator Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, will deliver Fairfield University's 6th Annual Commonweal Lecture - "Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love."

Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies, in partnership with "Commonweal," a journal of opinion edited and managed by lay Catholics, which reviews religion, politics, and culture. The lecture will be held in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room.

Dr. Johnson has researched Darwin's idea of evolution in relation to the creation doctrine. "This lecture will ask the creatures formed by life's evolution for their wisdom about the creative love of the living God," she said. "Their beauty and agonies disclose in new ways the energizing presence of the Spirit, the solidarity of Jesus in the flesh of suffering, and the immense power of the origin and goal of all. As a fellow species, human beings are summoned to a spirituality of relationship and ethic of care in this time of ecological distress."

At the core of Dr. Johnson's research is the desire to make the protection of the earth an essential part of Christian life. Her other areas of research include justice for women, ecological ethics and systematic theology. She is a former president of both the Catholic Theological Society of America - the world's oldest and largest society of theologians - and the American Theological Society, an ecumenical group.

Dr. Johnson is the author of several books, including "Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in Theology of God," which the Catholic Press Association awarded first place in the category of Academic Theology in 2008, and "Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints," winner of the 2004 Outstanding Book Award from the College Theology Society.

Dr. Johnson was named Professor of the Year by Fordham University's Graduate Student Association in 2011, and she was awarded Fordham's Teaching Award in 1998. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York, as the oldest of seven children in an Irish Catholic family.

For more information about the Center for Catholic Studies, visit

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726,

Posted on April 9, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 249

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