2007 Stone Lectures: Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film

Beginning Monday, Sept. 24, Jeffrey Stout will present the 2007 Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary with the title: “A Light That Shines in the Darkness: Evil, Egotism, and the Sacred in Film.” Stout was the president of the American Academy of Religion in 2006-2007 (replaced by Emilie M. Townes) and has been professor of religion at Princeton University since 1975. He is the author of the highly esteemed works Ethics after Babel (2001) and Democracy and Tradition (2005).

The Stone lectures will be delivered over a six week period, with film screenings on Mondays and lectures on Tuesdays. The films are all classic works, including a few of my favorites. The Monday film screenings will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the James Stewart Theater on the Princeton University campus, 185 Nassau Street, Princeton (enter from the parking lot side). The Tuesday lectures will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Cooper Conference Room at the Erdman Center, Center of Continuing Education, 20 Library Place, on the Princeton Seminary campus. If you are in the area, I highly recommend attending these lectures. Stout is a lucid and lively lecturer, and the films alone are worth giving up your Monday evenings. In particular, Week 3—on the film Breaking the Waves by Lars von Trier with accompanying lecture titled “The Sacred Made Visible”—should be a highlight of the series.

The schedule for film screenings and lectures is as follows:

Week 1

Monday, September 24, First Screening: Alfred Hitchcock, Shadow of a Doubt (108 minutes, 16mm, 1943)

Tuesday, September 25, First Lecture: “In the Shadow of Darkness”

Week 2

Monday, October 1, Second Screening: Frank Capra, Meet John Doe (122 minutes,16mm, 1941)

Tuesday, October 2, Second Lecture: “Modern Horrors and Democratic Hope”

Week 3

Monday, October 8, Third Screening: Lars von Trier, Breaking the Waves (159 minutes, 16mm, 1996, CinemaScope)

Tuesday, October 9, Third Lecture: “The Sacred Made Visible”

Week 4

Monday, October 15, Fourth Screening: Yasujiro Ozu, Tokyo Story (35mm, 1953)

Tuesday, October 16, Fourth Lecture: “Now and Then”

Week 5

Monday, November 5, Fifth Screening: Gregory Markopoulos, Bliss (6 minutes, 16mm, 1967); a preview excerpt from Gregory Markopoulos’s upcoming film, Eniaios (approximately 30 minutes, 16mm, premiere scheduled for June 2008 in Greece); Nathaniel Dorsky, The Visitation (18 minutes, 16mm, 2002); and Stan Brakhage, untitled handpainted film known as For Marilyn (11 minutes, 16mm, 1992).

Tuesday, November 6, Fifth Lecture: “All Mean Egotism Vanishes”