Available for pre-order: Myth and Solidarity in the Modern World, by Timothy Stacey

Available for pre-order from Routledge: Myth and Solidarity in the Modern World: Beyond Religious and Political Division, by Timothy Stacey.

In the context of the rise of reactionary politics across the globe, this book seeks new ways of developing solidarity across religious, political and economic differences. Drawing on an increasingly influential Christian theological movement, postliberalism, it claims that the dominance of liberal, secular rationality has blinded people to the fundamental role of transcendence and myth in developing solidarity. The result is either atrophy, or a retrenching in divisive myths of faith, race, nation or economic status.

Liberalism is now a dominant force across the globe. But its resonance in the Anglo-Saxon West, from which it originates and has been most fully realized, is relatively underexplored. The book thus follows two simultaneous lines of enquiry. Firstly, a genealogical study of social scientific and policy iterations of the relationship between belief and solidarity in the Anglo-Saxon West, placing postliberal theory into dialogue with the sociology and anthropology of religion, politics and economics. Secondly, it draws from original ethnographic research with groups in London, UK, that seek to develop solidarity in the face of deep-seated difference.

By bringing a new way of framing these contentious debates about contemporary society, this research offers tools for more productive conversations around religious and political topics, in particular concluding with a clear policy proposal. It is, therefore, a useful resource for both academics of theology and religious studies, political philosophy, sociology and anthropology; and for politicians, policy makers and practitioners hoping to develop solidarity in the modern world.


‘This book neatly juxtaposes the search for sources of solidarity in the West, not in a return to Christianity, as some have proposed, but in innovative movements and initiatives emerging out of a diversity of religion, belief and non-belief. The concept of myth is borrowed from religion and deployed in empirical investigations of both religious and non-religious settings. This opens up a valuable space for thinking again about categories and sources of solidarity in the public realm which for a while had gone missing, and will allow scholars, students and interested activists to think deeply about the possibilities.’ Adam Dinham, Professor of Faith and Public Policy and Director of the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

‘This book addresses head-on the peculiar situation of the current west. We now see that even our replacements for religion, capitalism and libertarianism, are dubious and damaging myths. Yet with their demise, our sense of the emptiness left by the absence of real faith merely intensifies. Tim Stacey’s modest proposal is that we try to link some renewed sense of transcendence to local practices of mutual support, respecting human dignity and the natural world. It is not a bad starting-place for renewal.’ John Milbank, Research Professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics, University of Nottingham, UK


Now available: An Economics of Justice and Charity, by Thomas Storck

Now available from Angelico Press: An Economics of Justice and Charity: Catholic Social Teaching, Its Development and Contemporary Relevance, by Thomas Storck, with a foreword by Peter Kwasniewski.

[Purchase: Amazon | Amazon.co.uk]

Since Pope Leo XIII’s landmark encyclical Rerum Novarum of 1891, a significant part of Catholic social doctrine has focused on man’s economic life and the challenge of building a well-ordered society rooted in correct first principles and animated by the twin virtues of justice and charity. The Church has boldly engaged the ideologies of the modern age—not only anarchism, communism, and fascism, but also the seductive alternatives of liberalism and libertarianism.

Understanding and applying Catholic social doctrine presents special difficulties. The sheer mass of material is a steep mountain to climb for the non-expert. Developments over time and the different styles of papal authors can give an impression of inconsistency or even contradiction. Agenda-driven commentators ignore or distort whatever they dislike, creating an ersatz magisterium. An Economics of Justice and Charity offers readers a compact, objective summary of the economic teaching of the Popes from Leo XIII to Francis that makes manifest its inner unity, its intended authority, and its perennial applicability. It bears witness to the Church’s living history of ethical wisdom, care for workers and the poor, and urgent desire to “penetrate and perfect the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.”


“This book should be read by anyone who wants to understand the Catholic concept of social justice, particularly how it applies to the realms of economics and politics. Thomas Storck has delivered a concise explanation showing how the Church’s social teaching has been clear and consistent.” — DAVID W. COONEY, Editor, Practical Distributism

“In 1991, St. John Paul II encouraged a New Evangelization that included ‘a proclamation of the Church’s social doctrine.’ In the modern world, however, rarely have these teachings been presented holistically. Thomas Storck’s commitment to thinking with the mind of the Church and masterful curation of the best of the social tradition make him a notable successor to his intellectual heroes from the golden age of social thought.” — RICHARD ALEMAN, Editor-in-chief, The Distributist Review

An Economics of Justice and Charity comes at a time when both the reality and the ideology of capitalism are increasingly being questioned. Its critique of capitalism stands outside the usual left/right dichotomy, providing an opportunity for a deeper analysis of our economic and social woes. For those new to the Church’s ‘best kept secret,’ Storck has produced a clear but philosophically sophisticated introduction to the major contributions and ideas within this tradition.” — CHARLES M. A. CLARK, Professor of Economics, St John’s University

“This is a superb exposition of the major social encyclicals, both in their historical development and in their application to our current situation. For those not familiar with the teachings, it provides a brief but brilliant introduction; for those who have studied these texts, Mr. Storck raises many interesting questions. Be sure not to skip the appendices, which shed new light on usury (the besetting sin of finance capitalism) and put forward a refutation of the neo-liberal interpretation of Centesimus Annus.” — JOHN MÉDAILLE, University of Dallas

[Purchase: Amazon | Amazon.co.uk]


Now available: The Architectonics of Hope, by Kyle Gingerich Hiebert

Now available from Cascade BooksThe Architectonics of Hope: Violence, Apocalyptic, and the Transformation of Political Theology, by Kyle Gingerich Hiebert, with a foreword by Cyril O’Regan.

[Purchase: Wipf and StockAmazon.co.uk | Amazon.com]

The Architectonics of Hope provides a critical excavation and reconstruction of the Schmittian seductions that continue to bedevil contemporary political theology. Despite a veritable explosion of interest in the work of Carl Schmitt, which increasingly recognizes his contemporary relevance and prescience, there nevertheless remains a curious and troubling reticence within the discipline of theology to substantively engage the German jurist and sometime Nazi apologist. By offering a genealogical reconstruction of the manner and extent to which recognizably Schmittian gestures are unwittingly repeated in subsequent debates that often only implicitly assume they have escaped the violent aporetics that characterize Schmitt’s thought, this volume illuminates hidden resonances between ostensibly opposed political theologies. Using the complex relationship between violence and apocalyptic as a guide, the genealogy traces the transformation of political theology through the work of a surprising collection of figures, including Johann Baptist Metz, John Milbank, David Bentley Hart, and John Howard Yoder.


“Theologians must be political because they are embroiled in politics; and they are embroiled in politics because politics is saturated with religious resonances. So here is a new and courageous voice in political theology, taking on the giants—Schmitt, Metz, Radical Orthodoxy, and Yoder—and presenting them with a passionately argued freshness. The book courts controversy, and its dramatic genealogical unfolding of the apocalyptic and violent within political theology intensifies that controversy. But we need younger, confident, theologically astute thinkers to generate the right kind of contestation, and Gingerich Hiebert does that with well-crafted elegance and integrity. His vision of a new and hope-filled way of seeing opens a new chapter in political theology and isn’t fearful of exposing the deficiencies of older accounts. The book deserves to be read widely, reviewed widely, and debated widely, because only that way might we move forward in a world steeped in violence with faith, hope, and what he calls ‘charitable theological argument.’” — Graham Ward, Regis Professor of Divinity, Christ Church, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

“Kyle Gingerich Hiebert’s compellingly-written, nuanced genealogical account of the connections between violence and apocalyptic in early and late twentieth century political theologies displays an intimate grasp of the relevant conceptual and critical theoretical issues and offers a constructive perspective on what is at stake in this contested terrain.” — Travis Kroeker, Professor, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

“This well-argued book offers a fundamental contribution to the expanding field of political theology, by uncovering the influence of Carl Schmitt on a variety of thinkers like Metz, Yoder, and Milbank. In doing so, Gingerich Hiebert connects traditions of thought that seemed non-comparable before. Furthermore, he provides a way to retrieve Schmitt, who is the proverbial elephant in the room in many types of contemporary theology. In this way, Gingerich Hiebert shows an undercurrent in modern political theology that needed to be uncovered.” — Stephan van Erp, Professor of Fundamental Theology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

“Gingerich Hiebert creatively puts Schmitt, Metz, Milbank, Hart, and Yoder into conversation with the result that we not only understand each of them better, but more importantly we have a better grasp of what is at stake in political theology. This book is destined to become a key text for all concerned with political theology.” — Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University, Durham, USA

Kyle Gingerich Hiebert (PhD, University of Manchester) is Director of the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre at the University of Toronto.

[Purchase: Wipf and StockAmazon.co.uk | Amazon.com]


Searching for a New Ontology – the Revival of Analogy and Sophiology

Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Ontologie – zur Aktualität von Analogielehre und Sophiologie / Searching for a New Ontology – the Revival of Analogy and Sophiology / A la recherche d’une nouvelle ontologie – la renaissance de l’analogie et de la sophiologie

Ein Expertengespräch zur Vorbereitung einer internationalen Tagung
A Study Day for preparing an International Conference
Une journée d’études pour préparer un Colloque international

Datum / Date : Juni 2018 / June 2018 / juin 2018

Mehrere Mitglieder im Doktoratsprogramm arbeiten im theologisch-philosophischen Grenzbereich und suchen in ihren Forschungen aus westkirchlicher oder ostkirchlicher Perspektive nach einer neuen Ontologie oder Naturphilosophie, die im postmetaphysischen Zeitalter als glaubwürdige philosophische Grundlage für theologische Aussagen dienen kann. Dabei zeichnet sich eine Renaissance der klassischen Analogielehre ab und eine neue Aktualität der Sophiologie. Das Doktoratsprogramm nutzt die Mitwirkung von Doktorierenden westkirchlicher und ostkirchlicher Tradition, um diese Fragen im Rahmen einer Expertentagung zu erörtern. Das ganztägige Expertengespräch im kleineren Kreis im Jahre 2018 dient zur Vorbereitung einer größeren internationalen Tagung 2019 oder 2020.


Plusieurs membres du programme doctoral situent leurs projets dans la relation entre théologie et philosophie et cherchent du point de vue occidental ou orientale une nouvelle ontologie ou philosophie de la nature, qui – à l’époque post-métaphysique – peut servir de fondement philosophique crédible pour les affirmations théologiques. Dans ce cadre, on observe une renaissance de la doctrine classique d’analogie ainsi qu’une nouvelle actualité de la sophiologie. Le programme doctorale profite de la participation de doctorant-e-s venant des Églises d’Occident et d’Orient pour discuter ces questions lors d’un colloque entre experts. Le colloque d’experts en 2018 sert à préparer un colloque international plus grand en 2019 ou 2020.



Divine Creation & Linguistic Creations: A Conference in Celebration of Prof. Janet Soskice’s Work

1 December 2017, Cambridge UK

This celebration of Prof. Janet Soskice’s theological career and work brings together scholars from Yale, Notre Dame, the University of Cambridge, and beyond. Topics drawn from her oeuvre include theological language and poetics, liturgy and symbolics of gender, creation ex nihilo, Soskician legacies, and the future of theology.

To book and for more information, see: http://www.divinecreationsconference.uk


RETHINK Reformation 2017

2017 is the official 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. It is also the year in which Aarhus is to be the European Capital of Culture (EcoC), under the general theme of Rethink. These historical constellations provide a unique opportunity not only to celebrate and commemorate, but also to critically review the legacy of the Reformation, retool the vision of the European past and future, and reconsider in this light the basic conditions of human existence. On this occasion Aarhus University organizes an international conference that reflects on 500 years of European history raising the questions of what the historical event of the reformation means for European societies today and what new reformations the continent requires now.

Keynote Speakers include: 

  • Prof. Theodor Dieter (Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg)
  • Prof. John Milbank (The Centre of Theology and Philosophy, University of Nottingham)
  • Prof. Aleida Assmann (Litteraturwissenschaft, Universität Konstanz)
  • Prof. Friedrich Wilhelm Graf (The Institut Technik-Theologie-Naturwissenschaften, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Prof. Claudia Welz (University of Copenhagen)
  • Prof. Robert Stern (University of Sheffield)
  • Prof. Niels Henrik Gregersen (University of Copenhagen)

For further details, see http://conferences.au.dk/rr2017/


International Summer School and Conference: Beyond Secular Faith 2017

International Summer School & Conference
“Beyond Secular Faith”

Economy of Desire
17-25 June 2018

Deadline to apply: 15 May 2018

The Institute of Philososphy Edith Stein (IFES), the Pontifical University John Paul II, and the International Centre for the Study of the Christian Orient welcome international students during the Summer. This prospectus [PDF] will give you all the information you need about our previous years’ summer school program.

IFES International Summer School and Conference is open to graduate, PhD Students, as well as postdoctoral researchers from around the world. The broad programme means you can sample student life at the Centre of Granada. IFES Summer School is run by a dedicated team who will help you in anything you need as soon as you arrive.

“I cannot think of another event which provides such a combination of effervescent ethos and high intellectual standards as the IFES International Summer School and Conference in Granada.” — John Milbank, University of Nottingham, June 2017

Download the prospectus here [PDF].


Now available: De-fragmenting Modernity, by Paul Tyson

Now available from Cascade Books: De-fragmenting Modernity: Reintegrating Knowledge with Wisdom, Belief with Truth, and Reality with Being, by Paul Tyson.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

We live in a strangely fragmented lifeworld. On the one hand, abstract constructions of our own imagination—such as money, “mere” facts, and mathematical models—are treated by us as important objective facts. On the other hand, our understanding of the concrete realities of meaning and value in which our daily lives are actually embedded—love, significance, purpose, wonder—are treated as arbitrary and optional subjective beliefs. This is because, to us, only quantitative and instrumentally useful things are considered to be accessible to the domain of knowledge. Our lifeworld is designed to dis-integrate knowledge from belief, facts from meanings, immanence from transcendence, quality from quantity, and “mere” reality from the mystery of being. This book explores two questions: why should we, and how can we, reintegrate being, knowing, and believing?


“Modern science, focusing on facts and power, is neither coherent nor existentially adequate. Instead of this crumbling edifice, the author of this book erects a new one—which actually is the old one—founded on the wonder of existence and the appreciation of finding ourselves in a world that makes sense. The solution he offers is not only intellectually satisfying; it is even essential for solving the scientific, political, and moral challenges of our time.” — Knut Alfsvåg, professor of systematic theology, VID Specialized University, Stavanger, Norway; author of What No Mind Has Conceived: On the Significance of Christological Apophaticism

“Paul Tyson has a genius for entering into the everyday experience of the modern person. But rather than allowing the limits of that experience to dictate the ultimate meaning of things, he gently but compellingly opens it up to its forgotten roots and plants it in a healthier and more life-giving ground. In this case, that ground is an understanding of the great mystery of being and a robust, non-privatized faith.” — D.C. Schindler, author of The Perfection of Freedom: Schiller, Schelling, and Hegel between the Ancients and the Moderns

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

Paul Tyson is the Director of the Emmanuel Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society at the University of Queensland. He is author of Faith’s Knowledge (2013) and Returning to Reality (2014).


Now available: Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness, by Peter Kwasniewski

Now available from Angelico press: Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages, by Peter Kwasniewski, with a foreword by Martin Mosebach.

[Purchase: Amazon]

The traditional liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is a highly formal ritual unfolding in layers of elaborate gesture, rich symbolism, whispered Latin, and ancient plainchants. “Experts” after the Second Vatican Council were convinced that such a ritual was irrelevant to “modern man.” To the shock of some, the delight of many, and the surprise of everyone, the old Latin Mass (and much that went along with it) has tenaciously survived during the past half-century and become an increasingly familiar feature in the Catholic landscape. What are the reasons for this revival, especially among the young? And why is this development so important for the renewal of Catholicism?

Peter Kwasniewski offers a lively account of the noble beauty and transcendent holiness of the traditional Roman liturgy, which humbles us before the mystery of God, stirs us with its pageantry, carries us into sacred silence, and bears us to a world of invisible realities. He contrasts this priceless treasure with the rationalistic reforms of the sixties, which yielded a Catholic liturgy severed from its own history, inadequate to its theological essence, unequal to its ascetical-mystical purpose, and estranged from its cultural inheritance. His conclusion: if there is to be a new springtime in the Church, the widespread restoration of the traditional liturgical rites will be at the heart of it.


“Anyone who wants a frank, honest, and deep explanation of worship, prayer, and liturgy should get this book. Be prepared to marvel at the depth of the Mass.” — REV. JAMES W. JACKSON, F.S.S.P., author of Nothing Superfluous

“With a delightful variety of insightful angles, Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness is an admirable contribution to reminding the Church how to move the world with her irreplaceable liturgical traditions.” — MICHAEL P. FOLEY, Baylor University

“This tremendous new book is an eloquent and erudite confrontation with the very root of the liturgical debate: whether the radical de-mystifying of the Catholic liturgy has been for the good of souls. It is a ringing affirmation that the kind of liturgy that pleases God, softens the hearts of sinners, and raises the pious towards sanctity, is the mysterious product of centuries of development.” — JOSEPH SHAW, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales

“Peter Kwasniewski illustrates the total collapse of the hierarchy of values brought about by a modern world that has ‘turned its back to God,’ and man’s need for the Traditional Mass to spin him round to a recognition that all good things—temporal things included—flow only from aiming our attention firmly at the Creator.” — JOHN RAO, St. John’s University

“Dr. Kwasniewski has a genius for making a fresh case for Catholic tradition, with a blend of perspectives from the entire 60-year Catholic traditionalist movement. A unique reading experience.” — ROGER A. MCCAFFREY, President, Roman Catholic Books

[Purchase: Amazon]


Now available: Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics (Vol. 4, no. 1)

ROTPP3.1-CoverRadical Orthodoxy:
Theology, Philosophy, Politics
Vol. 4, Number 1. June 2017


“On Mixed vs Pure Politics”
Dritëro Demjaha

Virtue Politics

“Theology and International Relations Beyond Liberalism: The Question of Europe”
John Milbank, Adrian Pabst, et al.

“Society and the Church Beyond Liberalism: The Question of Europe”
John Milbank, Adrian Pabst

Review: John Milbank and Adrian Pabst, Politics of Virtue: Post-Liberalism and the Human Future. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
Michael S Northcott

Post-Liberal Politics

“Liberalism in Search of Vision: Responding to the Lost Connection between Policy and Lifestyle with the Christian Socialist Movement as a Case Study”
Timothy Stacey

“Liberalism as Catholic Social Teaching: The Case of Józef Tischner”
Michal Luczweski

Post-Secular Politics

“Resurrecting Democracies: Secularity Recast in Charles Taylor, Paul Valadier, and Joseph Ratzinger”
Roshnee Ossewaarde-Lowtoo

“Montaigne and Christian Secularity: An Alternative to Radical Orthodoxy”
Benjamin James Wood

Read the current issue here.

Previous issues:

  • RO:TPP Vol. 3, no 1 — Featuring contributions from: David Bentley Hart, Duncan Bruce Reyburn, Jonathan Robert Heaps, D. C. Schindler, Brendan Thomas Sammon, and Pawel Rojek
  • RO:TPP Vol. 2, no. 3 — Contributions from: Michael D. Stark, Peter John McGregor, Dotan Leshem, Pierre-Yves Fioraso, Orion Edgar, Conor Thomas Sweeney, and Simone Kotva
  • RO:TPP Vol. 2, no. 2 — Contributions from: Ian Clausen, Mika Tapio Luoma-aho, Joseph M Spencer, Kyle Gingerich Hiebert, Ruth Elizabeth Jackson, and Simone Kotva
  • RO:TPP Vol. 2, no. 1 — Contributions from: Cynthia R. Nielsen, Peter John McGregor, Nathan Jennings, Paul Tyson, David Wilmington, Maurice Glasman, and Chris Hackett
  • RO:TPP Vol. 1, No. 3 — Contributions from: Cyril O’Regan, David L Schindler, Alessandra Gerolin, Christopher Ben Simpson, Matyas Szalay, Ben Schewel, Enda McCaffrey, Robert Don Adams, Steven Knepper, William Christian Hackett, and Paul Tyson.
  • RO:TPP Vol. 1, Nos. 1 & 2 — “What is Life? A Double Special Issue” — Contributions from: Tracey Rowland, Alessandra Gerolin, Graham Ward, Louis Dupré, Beáta Tóth, John Milbank, Adrian J Walker, Agata Bielik-Robson, William Christian Hackett, Evandro Botto, Marcia Pally, Lorenzo Ornaghi, Adrian Pabst, David C Schindler, Paul Tyson, Ian Warlick, Stratford Caldecott, Neil Turnbull, William Desmond, and Christopher Ben Simpson.

CONFERENCE: ‘Theology and Politics in the German Imagination, 1789–1848’

CRASSH, University of Cambridge
10 July 2017 – 11 July 2017

A two-day international conference in July 2017, bringing together scholars of different disciplines to challenge conventional narratives about the interrelationship between religion and politics in early nineteenth-century Germany (and German-speaking central Europe).

Speakers include Frederick Beiser, Gareth Stedman-Jones, and Marion Heinz.

Registration now open! Sign up here: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/27106

This conference is supported by the DAAD-University of Cambridge Research Hub for German Studies with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO).


CoTP Symposium: Agamben and Decadence (Nottingham, 25 May)

Agamben and Decadence

A symposium featuring:
Agata Bielik-Robson (University of Nottingham)
Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University)
John Milbank (University of Nottingham)
Piotr Sawczyński (Jagiellonian University, Kraków)

2pm, Thursday 25 May 2017
The Machicado Suite, Willoughby Hall
University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Free; no registration needed.


Cambridge Seminar Series 2017: Reformation 500: Towards a New Perspective on Luther

Seminar Series 2017
Reformation 500: Towards a New Perspective on Luther

Tuesday 16 May

2.00pm – 4.00pm: Seminar I. Dante, Church, and the Reformation

  • Robin Kirkpatrick (Robinson College, University of Cambridge)
  • Respondent: Giles Waller (Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge)

Wednesday 17 May

2.00pm – 4.00pm: Seminar II. Paul, Gift, and Luther

  • John Barclay (Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, University of Durham)
  • Respondent: Morna Hooker (Robinson College, University of Cambridge)

Thursday 18 May

1.30pm – 3.30pm: Seminar III. Reformation Consequences

  • John Milbank (University of Nottingham, UK)

4.00pm: Seminar IV. Luther and Hegel

  • Slavoj Žižek (International Director, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, London)
  • Respondent: Robert Rosin (Concordia Seminary, St Louis, USA)

6.00pm: Closing Reception

No charge, but please register your attendance, by Friday 12th May 2017 to lumley@westfieldhouse.org.uk

Seminars will be held at:

Westfield House,
30 Huntingdon Road,
Cambridge CB3 0HH

Download the flier here.


Local Nottingham Event: Jesus the Teacher: Christ in Matthew’s Gospel

By invitation of Bishop Patrick Mckinney, Ian Boxall will be speaking on “Jesus the Teacher: Christ in Matthew’s Gospel” at the University of Nottingham on Wednesday, 14th June 2017.

Ian Boxall is Associate Professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC. He previously taught at Chichester Theological College (1992-1994), and in the University of Oxford
(1994-2013), where he was Senior Tutor and Tutor in New Testament at St Stephen’s House. He has particular expertise in the Book of Revelation, Matthew’s Gospel and the reception history of the New

Venue :
University of Nottingham,
Keighton Auditorium,
University Park

or telephone:
0115 9539841
Cost: £10
Concessions: £5

Download the flier here.



Cyril O’Regan Lectures in Budapest

Click here to view the full-sized event flier.


Conor Cunningham: Video lecture series on Pseudo-Science and Religion

Dr Conor Cunningham from the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham gives a brief history on the relationship between (psuedo) science and religion in this 6-part YouTube series.

“I thought I knew what science was and I thought I knew what religion was. I presume you do too. But is that the case? In our western culture, we think they’re ‘clashing’. Science is enlightened, and religion is old fashioned. Is that the case? What does it mean to think that science is enlightened and religion is superstitious?”

Begin watching this series here:

Also, see this previous video of Conor Cunningham’s “Apple Talk”: A piece of fruit, a quick healthy snack, but also the starting point for a more involved understanding of the universe and why there is ‘something rather than nothing’. Theology is about making connections, matters of ultimate concern to humans, and god-talk—theology—is part of us.


Now available: Maurice Blondel on the Supernatural in Human Action: Sacrament and Superstition

Now available from Brill: Maurice Blondel on the Supernatural in Human Action: Sacrament and Superstition, by Cathal Doherty SJ (University of San Francisco). [Purchase: Brill]

How do sacraments differ from superstition? For Enlightenment philosophers such as Kant, both are merely natural actions claiming a supernatural effect, an accusation that has long been ignored in Catholic theology. In Maurice Blondel on the Supernatural in Human Action: Sacrament and Superstition, however, Cathal Doherty SJ reverses this accusation through a theological appropriation of Blondel’s philosophy of action, arguing not only that sacraments have no truck with superstition but that the ‘Enlightened’ are themselves guilty of that which they most abhor, superstitious action. Doherty then uses Blondel’s philosophical insights as a heuristic and corrective to putative sacramental theologies that would reduce the spiritual or supernatural efficacy of sacraments to the mere human effort of perception or symbolic interpretation.


All interested in sacramental and dogmatic theology, Catholic ressourcement theology, as well as philosophy of religion, the relation between philosophy and theology and Maurice Blondel’s thought, both graduates and undergraduates.


New in the Veritas series: Human and Divine Being: A Study on the Theological Anthropology of Edith Stein

New in the Veritas series: Human and Divine Being: A Study on the Theological Anthropology of Edith Stein, by Donald Wallenfang, with a foreword by John C. Cavadini.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

Nothing is more dangerous to be misunderstood than the question, “What is the human being?” In an era when this question is not only being misunderstood but even forgotten, wisdom delivered by the great thinkers and mystics of the past must be recovered. Edith Stein (1891-1942), a Jewish Carmelite mystical philosopher, offers great promise to resume asking the question of the human being. In Human and Divine Being, Donald Wallenfang offers a comprehensive summary of the theological anthropology of this heroic martyr to truth. Beginning with the theme of human vocation, Wallenfang leads the reader through a labyrinth of philosophical and theological vignettes: spiritual being, the human soul, material being, empathy, the logic of the cross, and the meaning of suffering. The question of the human being is asked in light of divine being by harnessing the fertile tension between the methods of phenomenology and metaphysics. Stein spurs us on to a rendezvous with the stream of “perennial philosophy” that has watered the landscape of thought since conscious time began. In the end, the meaning of human being is thrown into sharp relief against the darkness of all that is not authentically human.


“Donald Wallenfang has followed up his wonderful book on sacramental theology with an equally wonderful book on the theological anthropology of Edith Stein. … Without any disservice to the complexity and profundity of Stein’s thought, Wallenfang has repurposed her to speak critically and hopefully to our postmodern situation. Wallenfang continues to show himself to be a deep Catholic thinker worthy of our attention.” — Cyril O’Regan, Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

“Wallenfang’s book deals with a central topic in Edith Stein’s investigations. Examining the meaning of human being and divine Being, the author pinpoints the main aspect of Stein’s research starting from her phenomenological analyses as far as her book on theological anthropology and underscoring the influence of St. Thomas Aquinas on her interpretation of the relationship between man and God. In my opinion, Wallenfang’s book will be a contribution to the knowledge of Edith Stein’s philosophical and theological thought.” — Angela Ales Bello, Professor Emeritus of History of Contemporary Philosophy and Phenomenology of Religion, Lateran University

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]


New in Veritas: Ever-Moving Repose A Contemporary Reading of Maximus the Confessor’s Theory of Time

New in the Veritas series: Ever-Moving Repose: A Contemporary Reading of Maximus the Confessor’s Theory of Time, by Sotiris Mitralexis, with a foreword by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

Sotiris Mitralexis offers a contemporary look at Maximus the Confessor’s (580-662 CE) understanding of temporality, logoi, and deification, through the perspective of contemporary philosopher and theologian Christos Yannaras, as well as John Zizioulas and Nicholas Loudovikos. Mitralexis argues that Maximus possesses both a unique theological ontology and a unique threefold theory of temporality: time, the Aeon, and the radical transformation of temporality and motion in an ever-moving repose. With these three distinct modes of temporality, a Maximian theory of time can be reconstructed, which can be approached via his teaching on the logoi and deification. In this theory, time is not merely measuring ontological motion, but is more particularly measuring a relationship, the consummation of which effects the transformation of time into a dimensionless present devoid of temporal, spatial, and generally ontological distance—thereby manifesting a perfect communion-in-otherness. In examining Maximian temporality, the book is not focusing on only one aspect of Maximus’ comprehensive Weltanschauung, but looks at the Maximian vision as a whole through the lens of temporality and motion.


“In this remarkable book, Dr. Mitralexis seeks more than an exposition of a central notion in St. Maximus the Confessor’s metaphysical vision, but rather a genuine fusion of the horizons, in a Gadamerian sense, so that his understanding of Maximus is informed by the development of a relational ontology by the likes of Zizioulas and Yannaras, whose own thought has been inspired by their reading of Maximus. The result is a bold and original contribution to ontology and metaphysics.” — Andrew Louth, FBA, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University

“This book, written by a young and promising Maximus scholar, is an interesting study of a central set of notions in Maximus’ writings, namely, the notions of time, the Aeon, and eternity. These notions have been studied by others as well, but never as extensively as by Mitralexis. He finds the roots of Maximus’ notion of time in Aristotle, but has a quite original hermeneutical approach since he tries to unravel the Confessor’s philosophy from the vantage point of the Greek modern philosopher Christos Yannaras, thus seeking to make Maximus’ thought relevant for our own age. The depth of Mitralexis’ knowledge of the sources and his grasp of modern scholarship on Maximus is impressive. I highly recommend this book.” — Torstein Theodor Tollefsen, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oslo

“This is a really welcome addition to the fast-growing literature on Maximus the Confessor. It is a first-class study of the original texts, but is distinctive in its willingness to bring Maximus’ thought into fruitful conversation with contemporary philosophical discussions, so that the implications of this study will be of interest to many more than Byzantine specialists.” — Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

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Conference: Between Metaphysics, Aesthetics, and Religion

International Symposium in honour of William Desmond

April 19-20, 2017
KU Leuven (University of Leuven)

Metaphysics has gotten a bad rep throughout the last decades. This ancient practice is thought to be not simply archaic as the systematic interrelationship of concepts that fails to understand the twists and turns of the human condition, but also hegemonic, oppressive and just plain wrong. As a result of this point of view, most philosophers abstain from providing a comprehensive and overarching account of such things as being, religion, art and ethics.

Wiliam Desmond

One vocal opponent of this evolution is William Desmond. In his works, he draws on various past traditions and current insights so as to argue that metaphysics does not belong to a dim and distant past. Instead, human beings find themselves always in the midst, or ‘between’, in terms of standing porous in the grand pageant of existence. From that perspective, one can speak intelligibly about the intimate strangeness of being in all its aspects. ‘Metaxology’ is the key-term of Desmond’s philosophy, which is a way of doing philosophy in the ‘between’. Central to this style of philosophizing is a ‘porosity’ to an ‘overdeterminacy’, in terms of a surplus to (self)determinate being, that resists ‘univocal’ or ‘dialectical’ (self)mediation, which in turn engenders a ‘perplexity’ towards such a ‘surd’ to determination. The task of metaxological philosophy is then to stay faithful to what exceeds univocalizing thought by allowing reflection to hyperbolically (i.e. to ‘be thrown beyond’) transcend itself for a metaphysical account of being. Central to metaxological philosophy is then a profound engagement with being (metaphysics), being good/beautiful (ethics and aesthetics) and absolute being (religion). Among the many thought-provoking features of metaxology, there are two that merit special mention since they go against the grain of postmodern philosophy. On the one hand, metaxology cultivates a community in which there is an open dialectics between being, goodness, beauty and absolute being; on the other hand, metaxology does not shun a metaphysical account of that open dialectics, in which porosity between being receptive (porosity) and being active (thought) is of central importance. Needless to say, most of postmodern philosophy prefers to separate being, goodness, beauty and absolute being into their respective domains.

This symposium is dedicated to clarifying, testing and applying metaxological philosophy with regard to metaphysics, aesthetics and religion. The keynote speakers are companions of Desmond’s philosophy and, although critical of many aspects, appreciative of the stubborn tenacity of metaphysical questions. These include: Richard Kearney, John Milbank, Jack Caputo, Cyril O’Regan, Christoph Schmidt, and Sander Griffioen.

Important links:



(Show Centre’s Description)

‘Every doctrine which does not reach the one thing necessary, every separated philosophy, will remain deceived by false appearances. It will be a doctrine, it will not be Philosophy’, (Maurice Blondel, 1861-1949)

The Centre of Theology and Philosophy is a research-led institution organised at the interstices of theology and philosophy. It is founded on the conviction that these two disciplines cannot be adequately understood or further developed, save with reference to each other. This is true in historical terms, since we cannot comprehend our Western cultural legacy, unless we acknowledge the interaction of the Hebraic and Hellenic traditions. It is also true conceptually, since reasoning is not fully separable from faith and hope, or conceptual reflection from revelatory disclosure. The reverse also holds, in either case.

The Centre is concerned with:

  • The historical interaction between theology and philosophy.
  • The current relation between the two disciplines
  • Attempts to overcome the analytic/ Continental divide in philosophy
  • The question of the status of ‘metaphysics’. Is the term used equivocally? Is it now at an end? Or have 20th Century attempts to have a post-metaphysical philosophy themselves come to an end?
  • The construction of a rich Catholic humanism

The Theology Department of the University of Nottingham, within which the COTP is situated, was awarded the top 5* A grade in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2001). Nottingham was one of only two theology Departments who submitted all its staff and was rated 5* A.

For all enquiries, please email Conor Cunningham:

To return to the Nottingham Theology Department:


Humanities Building, home of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Centre of Theology and Philosophy

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RETHINK Reformation 2017
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International Summer School and Conference: Beyond Secular Faith 2017
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Now available: De-fragmenting Modernity, by Paul Tyson
July 6, 2017
Now available: Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness, by Peter Kwasniewski
June 21, 2017
Now available: Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics (Vol. 4, no. 1)
June 19, 2017
CONFERENCE: ‘Theology and Politics in the German Imagination, 1789–1848’
May 18, 2017

(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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