Dr. Gilbert Meilaender, an author and noted expert in the field of religious ethics, will discuss “Persons and Their Dignity” in a 7:30 p.m. lecture Thursday, Nov. 11, in the auditorium of the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Gilbert Meilaender

Dr. Gilbert Meilaender

The lecture, free and open to the public, is sponsored by St. Thomas’ Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy.

Meilaender’s lecture will draw on his 2009 book, Neither Beast nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person.

Meilaender has taught since 1996 at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he is the Richard and Phyllis Dusenberg Professor of Christian Ethics. He is known for his work in bioethics and last year received the Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics from the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.

As a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2002 to 2009, he advised the president on stem-cell and cloning research as well as other medical-ethical issues. He also is a fellow of the Hasting Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institute that explores questions in health care, biotechnology and the environment.

He has served as associate editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics and Religious Studies Review, and on the editorial boards of the Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics and First Things.

The author of more than a dozen books and numerous essays, his writings touch on many dimensions of Christianity and appear frequently in First Things, as well as journals such as Touchstone, the Weekly Standard, Commonweal and The New Atlantis. His books include an introduction to bioethics and studies of Augustine and C. S. Lewis. In 2005 he co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics.

“His book, Neither Beast nor God: The Dignity of the Human Person, is a superb and accessible discussion of some of the principal challenges to human dignity in the contemporary world,” said Dr. Robert Kennedy, co-director of the Murphy Institute. “He is widely known as an eloquent and staunch defender of life.”

At the Nov. 11 lecture, the St. Thomas School of Law will present Meilaender its Dignitatis Humanae award for distinguished public service and scholarship uniting faith and reason in the pursuit of truth.