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Senior Scholars at The Seattle School

As we celebrate twenty-five years as an interdisciplinary graduate school and seminary, the Senior Scholar opportunity highlights our theological scholarship. Senior Scholars at The Seattle School will develop intellectual capital and content, such as coursework and lectures, in order to support faculty and students in our graduate programs as well as non-degree learners and wider audiences.

Our Inaugural Senior Scholar

The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is excited to announce that philosopher, professor, and author Dr. Esther Meek will be serving as the inaugural Senior Scholar starting in 2022.

The appointment of Dr. Meek as our inaugural Senior Scholar at The Seattle School recognizes the profound value of her philosophical thought and formalizes years of ongoing collaboration. Her books are regular texts in our core curriculum: students and alumni of our school are familiar with Dr. Meek’s writings, including her call to explore a covenantal epistemology that centers loving at the heart of knowing. She has shared her insights with The Seattle School community on a number of occasions, including at the 2018 Stanley Grenz Lectures when she spoke on how we know what we know and why it matters.

Meet Esther Lightcap Meek, PhD

Esther Lightcap Meek (BA Cedarville College, MA Western Kentucky University, PhD Temple University) is Professor of Philosophy emeritus at Geneva College, in Western Pennsylvania. She is also Senior Scholar with The Seattle School for Theology and Psychology, a Fujimura Institute Scholar, an Associate Fellow with the Kirby Laing Center for Public Theology, and a member of the Polanyi Society.

Her books include Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (Brazos, 2003); Loving to Know: Introducing Covenant Epistemology (Cascade, 2011); A Little Manual for Knowing (Cascade, 2014); and Contact With Reality: Michael Polanyi’s Realism and Why It Matters (Cascade, 2017). Her forthcoming book is Doorway to Artistry: Attuning Your Philosophy to Enhance Your Creativity (Cascade, 2023).

“Philosophy concerns our deepest beliefs regarding who we are, what is real, how we know it and rightly respond to it. Implicit philosophical presumptions permeate all our work and life, from our simplest steps to our loftiest formal endeavors. So it is critical that efforts to address and heal through transforming relationships and engaging culture begin by re-forming concretely felt, powerfully skewed presumptions about knowing and reality.”

Meek poses that people in the Modern West, without knowing it, tacitly presume its skewed philosophical presumptions, incurring modernity’s baggage of disengagement, skepticism, boredom, hopelessness, atheism, and anxiety. Esther offers “philosophical therapy” to restore people to flourishing in their life and work. “Humans were meant for communion with the real; this is the good life,” she says.

“The Seattle School distinctively realizes that philosophy is foundational to all our efforts as human persons in the world. They build this astute professionalism into their core curriculum. And this is rare: many people and institutions in our antiphilosophical Modern Age fail to understand how we live out philosophical commitments we may not even be aware of.”

“If you want to accomplish transformative engagement, it isn’t only psychological, social and spiritual approaches you must attend to. You must address and re-form your deepest-level philosophical orientation. You need a transformative, integrative, philosophy of engagement, as The Seattle School understands.”

President and Provost of The Seattle School, Dr. J. Derek McNeil, explains this appointment: “Esther’s ideas about epistemology, or how we know, uniquely fit and aid our work at the school: her sense of embodied thought bridges the gap between theology and psychology, offering a nexus point of deep resonance with our interdisciplinary journey. In these uncertain times, her philosophical work redirects us towards the real and challenges us with the centrality of knowing relationships in the work of integration.”

The Seattle School plans to appoint additional Senior Scholars during the next three academic years supported by grant funding received through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. These partnerships will continue to emphasize our theology scholarship. We anticipate collaborating with future Senior Scholars who will share from their academic legacy, engage with faculty, and create content for students as well as for broader audiences, contributing to the mission of The Seattle School.