Jan. 28, 2020
As a visiting fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University, Matthew Wright, professor of government in Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute, will have the chance to engage in new and exciting research questions in a fellowship with other esteemed scholars. For Wright, this is an opportunity to reach a broader audience with the arguments in his recently published book — “A Vindication of Politics: On the Common Good and Human Flourishing” — and to explore new avenues of study at the intersection of political and theological thought.
“There’s a particular interest of the program to support research that is concerned with the foundations of western thought, ideas of freedom, ideas of society, and so forth, that provide the intellectual soil out of which the American project springs,” said Wright.
This environment affords Wright the space to explore a new area of research: political theology. Although Wright specializes in natural law political theory, he has recently seen a need to address the significant role of political theology in how evangelicals, and Christians more broadly, engage social and political issues.
“I want to be able to engage the work of political theologians,” he said. “A number of them significantly influence the ways evangelicals tend to think about politics. We’re faced with very difficult questions that have a new urgency. Natural law and political theology are very important to answering these questions.”
The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, now celebrating its 20th year as a leading scholarly institute in American political thought, is an ideal environment for this pursuit.
“There’s a lot of very interesting overlap with what people are working on. And I’m optimistic about the scholarly collaboration that is possible here,” Wright said.
Wright will spend the 2019-2020 academic year engaging in research and discussing his ideas with the other fellows in the program, as well as other professors at Princeton with whom he is excited to interact in depth. Wright published “A Vindication of Politics: On the Common Good and Human Flourishing” earlier this year, and he is looking forward to making some of his arguments and ideas in the book more accessible to a broader readership.
“As Christians, we are committed to the Kingship of Christ as the literal King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How does that reality, how should that inform the way that Christians think about politics and the city of man? How do the categories and the methodology of the tradition of natural law, ethics, and politics relate to explicitly theological political commitments to the Kingship of Christ?,” asked Wright.
These are the essential questions on Wright’s mind as he begins this fellowship, and he hopes to bring back a new and richer perspective with which to engage students and faculty at Biola and in the Torrey Honors program.
The Torrey Honors Institute is Biola University’s undergraduate honors program. Founded in 1996, Torrey Honors prioritizes theological education and formation through the reading of great books, group discussions, and one-on-one faculty mentorship. Torrey Honors provides an alternate path for students of any major to complete most of their core curriculum requirements.
Learn more about the Torrey Honors Institute here.
Written by Benjamin Vincent. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, manager of media relations, at (562) 777-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu