Acclaimed Author & Scholar Robert Wright Joins Union for 18-Month Templeton Grant

Categories: Press Releases


Grant covers teaching and cultivating ideas about the relationship between science and spirituality.


Contact: Joey Longley, 419-953-5495, [email protected]

NEW YORK, NY — Robert Wright, scholar, journalist, and award-winning author of several bestsellers on religion and science, will join Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York for an 18-month grant funded by the John Templeton Foundation beginning this summer.

“It’s great to be at a seminary that’s so open to new ideas and with an activist air about it,” said Wright. “One of my goals at Union is to delve deeper into the question of how we develop a worldview that is spiritual, but totally compatible with and informed by science.”

Over the next 18 months, Wright will utilize the resources available to him at Union to teach, write, speak, and host forums. His first seminar in the fall will be called, “Elements of Spirituality.”

“I am thrilled to have a scholar with Wright’s deep intellect and abiding curiosity coming to Union,” said Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary. “This is a unique opportunity to expand our common understanding of the way spirituality can transcend any man-made dividing lines between religions. It also presents a rare opportunity to bring together the insights of theologians and scientists to create a more whole and compelling vision for our moral lives together.”

At Union Wright will explore the prospects for developing a worldview that qualifies for the term “spiritual,” yet is compatible with and informed by modem science. He believes that ideally such a worldview would have elements that could appeal to diverse groups, ranging from atheists to adherents of the world’s great faith traditions. More broadly, he will foster the exchange of ideas at the intersection of scientific, philosophical, and spiritual inquiry.

A bio of Robert Wright and more information about Union follows.



Biography of Robert Wright

ROBERT WRIGHT is the author, most recently, of The Evolution of God, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Moral Animal, which The New York Times Book Review named one of the ten best books of 1994, and Nonzero, which Bill Clinton called “astonishing” and instructed White House staff members to read. In 2009 Wright was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. Wright has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and his awards include the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism. Wright was previously a visiting lecturer in Princeton University’s religion department and has taught in the psychology department at Penn. He is Visiting Professor of Science and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and is editor-in-chief of the websites Bloggingheads.tv and MeaningofLife.tv.

About Union Theological Seminary

Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a seminary and a graduate school of theology established in 1836 by founders “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church.” Union prepares women and men for committed lives of service to the church, academy and society. A Union education develops practices of mind and body that foster intellectual and academic excellence, social justice, and compassionate wisdom. Grounded in the Christian tradition and responsive to the needs of God’s creation, Union’s graduates make a difference wherever they serve.

At Union we believe that a new interreligious spirituality of radical openness and love is the world’s best hope for peace, justice, and the care of God’s creation. Empowered by groundbreaking inquiry aligned with practical realism and a bias for action, Union is charting a radical new course for enduring social change. Our graduates make a difference wherever they serve, practicing their vocations with courage and perseverance, and speaking clearly and acting boldly on behalf of social justice in all of its forms.

Learn more at www.utsnyc.edu.

Media Contact

Joey Longley, 419-953-5495, [email protected]