by Jennifer A. Frey
Let me begin by saying something about how the Sacred and Profane Love podcast came to be and what its future is. My podcast began as an extension of a three year, 2.1 million dollar research project titled, “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life,” which was generously supported by the John Templeton Foundation. The project’s aims were explicitly interdisciplinary: Candace Vogler and I brought together philosophers, religious scholars and theologians, psychologists, and other social scientists to investigate whether some conception of self-transcendence could help to make ordinary cultivation and exercise of virtue a source of deep happiness and meaning in human life. While the project produced many traditional research outputs, including an edited volume, it also had public facing components, including a well-trafficked blog; a few years into it I decided to launch a podcast that explored our central questions in a different way—viz., by focusing on literature rather than philosophy, theology, or the social sciences.
Originally, I had no idea if anyone would listen to the podcast, but judging by the fact that it is now often the first thing people mention when they meet me, it seems to have gained some traction, and the hope is to see it continue to grow over the next few years. Although I am still releasing a few episodes over the coming months with support from the John Templeton Foundation, going forward next year it will be underwritten by The Institute for Human Ecology, which is a research institute housed at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The IHE is a multi-disciplinary institute that supports work focused on questions about the nature of human flourishing, so it fits well with my own work. This new partnership means that after a brief hiatus from blogging and releasing new episodes, I’ll be back to podcasting in the upcoming months, and I plan to continue the podcast so long as there continues to be a reasonable demand for it.
Originally published on 3 April 2019 at Blog of the APA.