Encouraged by the success of our Erasmus Lecture, in 2017 First Things hosted its inaugural First Things Lecture in Washington, D.C., in partnership with The Catholic University of America’s Institute for Human Ecology. Russell Hittinger inaugurated the lecture series by discussing “The Social Vision of Leo XIII in the Twenty-First Century.” Michael Doran (2018), Patrick Deneen (2019), and Douglas Farrow (2020) have given the subsequent lectures. After a hiatus due to COVID-19 in 2021, we hosted this year’s lecture, entitled “By the Sweat of Your Brow Shall You Labor,” on March 8 with nearly two-hundred in attendance. The lecture was delivered by Georgetown University professor of political theory Joshua Mitchell.
In addition to helping First Things grow its reader and supporter base in the Washington, D.C. area, the First Things Lecture enables us to highlight the ways in which our journal leads public conversation on political issues from a religiously grounded perspective. As with the Erasmus Lecture, First Things convenes a group of leading journalists, elected officials, and scholars for a day-after colloquium to discuss the lecture.