Now available: The Suspended Middle, 2nd Edition, by John Milbank

The Suspended Middle: Henri de Lubac and the Renewed Split in Modern Catholic Theology, 2nd Edition, by John Milbank (Eerdmans; Published: 12/29/2014; 134+pp).

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Book description:

French Jesuit Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) was arguably the most revolutionary yet under-acknowledged theologian of the twentieth century. He proposed that Western theology since the early modern period had lost sight of the key to integrating faith and reason — namely, the truth that all human beings are naturally oriented toward the supernatural.

Originally published in 2005, The Suspended Middle by John Milbank defends and amplifies de Lubac’s provocative thesis and rebuts its many critics. In this second edition Milbank has expanded and clarified his argument throughout to take greater account of new critiques of de Lubac. The future of the Christian faith is at stake, says Milbank, as he urges his readers to recover and reinvigorate de Lubac’s biblical-theological-philosophical vision.

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Call for Book Chapters: Ecofeminist Intersections

When d’Eaubonne coined the word “ecofeminism” in 1974, related ideas were already being discussed in a range of social sciences and humanities. Within anthropology Ortner (1974) argued that the universal devaluation of women relative to men could be explained by assuming that women are seen as being closer to nature than men, while men are seen as being more intimately connected with the “higher” realm of culture. Other disciplines seriously engaged the connections between feminism and ecology only later. It was not until the 1990s, for instance, that literary critics began to examine in depth “‘the woman/nature analogy,’ defined by Warren as ‘the connections—historical, empirical, conceptual, theoretical, symbolic, and experiential—between the domination of women and the domination of nature’” (Carr 2000, 16).

In recent years, ecofeminism has played an increasingly important role in a range of disciplines. This new book project, “Ecofeminist Intersections,” explores the manifold ways that ecofeminism has been used across a range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including but not limited to such fields as history, philosophy, theology, religious studies, women’s studies, literary criticism, anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, geography, and political science.

We invite proposals for chapters that explicitly address the intersections between ecofeminism and other approaches or perspectives (for example, posthumanism, postcolonial studies, or queer studies). We especially encourage authors to highlight the unique contributions that ecofeminism, in combination with other approaches, brings to their primary discipline.

Interested authors should send a 300-word abstract, 200-word biography, and sample of a previously published chapter or article to by March 1, 2015. First drafts of full chapters (6000 words) are due by September 1, 2015, and final versions are due November 1, 2015.

“Ecofeminist Intersections” will be guided by Quinby’s (1990, 126) observation that “Like the ecology and feminist movements from which it derives, ecofeminism is not devoid of impulses to develop a ‘coherent’ theory.” And yet, Quinby argues, coherence is limited in the face of modern power relations through which domination occurs. By Quinby’s (1990, 123) analysis, ecofeminism is most effective in opposing the oppressions of modern power by fostering a range of practices and theories: “Against such power, coherence in theory and centralization of practice make a social movement irrelevant or, worse, vulnerable, or—even more dangerous—participatory with the forces of domination.” Contrary to this pull toward uniformity, “Ecofeminist Intersections” will explore the variety of ecofeminisms that have developed over the past forty years.

The editor of “Ecofeminist Intersections,” D. A. Vakoch, is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, as well as general editor of Lexington Books’ Ecocritical Theory and Practice Series. Vakoch’s earlier edited books include Ecofeminism and Rhetoric: Critical Perspectives on Sex, Technology, and Discourse (2011), Feminist Ecocriticism: Environment, Women, and Literature (2012), and (with F. Castrillón) Ecopsychology, Phenomenology, and the Environment: The Experience of Nature (2014).


CFP: Ontology and History: A Challenging & Auspicious Dialogue for Philosophy & Theology


International Conference at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi
29-31 May 2015 in Delphi, Greece

Ontology and History:
A Challenging and Auspicious Dialogue for Philosophy and Theology

This conference will attempt to explore the relationship between ontology and history in the context of both philosophical enquiry and Christian theology. Ontology is the study of being qua being, a field that is typically viewed as distinguishable from––if not also antithetical to––history. However, while the study of being (insofar as it exists) and history may seem unrelated, there is either an explicit or implicit interaction between the two in a number of philosophical traditions; when not explicitly articulated, this implicit interaction emerges as a philosophical problem. And while this is particularly true for various forms of philosophical idealism (e.g. German idealism) and the historicisation of idealism, it emerges as a core problem in the context of Christian theology and its eschatological promise. If the true state of being and beings resides in an eschatological future, not in the present or a distant past (as masterfully expounded by Maximus the Confessor), and if this true state of being and beings is yet to be witnessed, then temporality in general and history in particular become a vital part of ontology proper. This bears immense implications for the philosophical enquiry into ecclesial witness.

Apart from this, a reoccurring challenge within Christianity concerns how we are to make past events present. Rudolf Bultmann tried to make sense of this by elevating word over event. In so doing he formulated an ‘existentialised’ eschatology in which the focus is on the immediate. In current biblical studies there is strong emphasis on making sense of the Resurrection through history, and history is given priority over confession. As a result the ecumenical creeds are denigrated and metaphysical clarification risks being perceived as anti-biblical. In both Catholicism and Orthodoxy there are various construals of anamnesis in which the historical event is made present as a kingdom event through the liturgical experience of the Eucharist. In line with the desire to understand the relationship of the ‘once’ and the ‘always’, there is the challenge of making sense of the particular and the universal. Karl Rahner conflates them: the particular is the universal. Or stepping back in time with Origen, there is the temptation to universalise the particular with salvation. How best can one reconcile the continuity of salvation history and the radical (interruptive) newness of Christ? Political theology, which grew out of a particular account of eschatology, raises the joint concern of how our social histories are legitimated by moral and theological insights about the nature and destiny of the human person. Clearly, the relationship between ontology and history has immense wide-ranging philosophical and theological implications.

Featured Speakers:

  • John Panteleimon Manoussakis (Associate Professor of Philosophy – College of the Holy Cross, Boston MA)
  • Alan J. Torrance (Professor of Systematic Theology – University of St Andrews)
  • Christos Yannaras (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy – Panteion University, Athens)
  • Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon (Academy of Athens)

Organised by:

Dr Sotiris Mitralexis (Freie Universität Berlin)
Andrew TJ Kaethler (University of St Andrews)


We welcome short paper proposals (presentation duration: 20 minutes) on all areas addressed in the conference’s general description and/or in the thematic workshops’ abstracts. Prospective participants can EITHER submit an abstract for a short paper addressing a subject pertaining to the general theme of the conference for a non-thematic session OR submit an abstract for a short paper to be included in one of the following thematic workshops/panels. If your paper is aimed at a specific workshop, please do indicate the workshop’s title after your abstract. Each participant can present only one short paper, be it in a workshop panel or in a non-thematic panel.

All papers must be presented in English. Please send us the title and a short abstract of your paper (200-400 words) in English, along with a short CV, via e-mail to ontologyandhistory [.at.] The deadline for abstract submissions is Sunday, 15 February 2015. You will be informed concerning the acceptance of your paper on Wednesday, February 18 2015, and you will be asked to submit the registration fee via bank transfer or PayPal.

The full registration fee is 200€ and the student registration fee is 120€. Upon registering, please send us your (1) full name with title, (2) institutional affiliation, (3) e-mail, (4) cellphone number and (5) postal address to ontologyandhistory [.at.] with the subject “Registration” by no later than Sunday, 22 February 2015. Subsequently, you will be provided with information concerning the bank transfer of the registration fee.

The registration fee covers registration, hotel accommodation in Delphi for two nights (29-31 May 2015), one dinner (29 May) and one lunch (30 May), bus transport to and from Athens, the coffee breaks throughout the conference, as well as conference material.


The conference’s venue is the European Cultural Centre of Delphi in Delphi, Greece. Accommodation for 29-31 May 2015 is provided through the registration fee for participants, while a bus transfer from and to Athens will be made available.


ontologyandhistory [.at.]


Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference on Economic Equality

Trinity Institute’s 44th National Theological Conference

Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference on Economic Equality

Many Christians worry about being complicit in a system that perpetuates economic inequality, a system that conflicts with deeply held religious values about social justice. But there are those who believe solutions are possible and that economic inequality represents a core justice issue that can be a vital focus for preaching, teaching, and social action.

From January 22-25, 2015 at Trinity Wall Street, a diverse group of scholars, faith leaders and economists including Dr. Cornel West, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Barbara Ehrenreich and Robert Reich will offer strategies for developing a more just economy and instill the confidence to take action for social change at Trinity Institute’s 44th National Theological Conference, Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference on Economic Equality. Conference participation is open to anyone interested in a practical, theological perspective on economic inequality and ideal for seminarians, students and young church leaders looking for thought-leadership from experts and activists.

Dr. West, author of The Rich and the Rest of Us, will offer an opening keynote building the framework of the conference. Archbishop Welby will consider when inequality becomes sinful and talk about the common good. Ms. Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, is set to discuss the class divide in American society, delving into issues such as immigration, poverty, gender, and mobility.

An economist, author and professor, former Secretary of Labor Reich will discuss his 2013 documentary, “Inequality for All” via Skype. This eye-opening film seeks to discover what makes up a good society and what role the widening income gap plays in the deterioration of the nation’s economic health.

The conference will be held at Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall Street, New York City); registration is open now for on-site participants. Video-linked partner sites—which include churches, cathedrals, seminaries, and other organizations—are located throughout the United States and abroad. Partner sites offer all aspects of the conference either in real time, via webcast—where participants can submit questions for speakers via email during the live Q&A—or via video at a later time. Onsite reflection groups are coordinated using materials prepared and provided by Trinity Institute.

“Trinity Institute’s 44th National Theological Conference recognizes that many of us feel fearful and hopeless about economic inequality in the U.S. We know the ever-growing gap between the have and the have-nots is a serious but correctable obstacle for human thriving. As we look to the Church in seeking change, this theological conference will bring together action-oriented experts to provide hopeful, clear, practical tools that communities can use to make a positive impact,” said Bob Scott, director of Trinity Institute.

Keynote speakers for this year’s conference include:

  • Keynote speaker Dr. Cornel West (The Rich and the Rest of Us), Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual.
  • The Most Rev. Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), a former business executive who has focused his writing on ethics, international finance and reconciliation.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, This Land Is Their Land), a writer and activist currently working on the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
  • Juliet Schor (Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth), Professor of Sociology at Boston College.
  • The Rt. Rev. Julio Murray (Bishop of Panama), a passionate advocate for justice in Panama and internationally through his work for the Anglican Communion.

Panelists include:

  • Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions), New York Times best-selling Christian author and popular blogger, who has been featured on NPR, Slate, The BB and The Washington Post.
  • Jennifer Jones Austin (Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies), CEO and Executive Director of FPWA, which promotes the social and economic well-being of greater New York’s most vulnerable.
  • R.R. Reno (Editor of First Things magazine), a theology teacher at Creighton University and the author of In the Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an Age of Diminished Christianity.
  • Nicole Baker Fulgham (founder and President of Expectations Project), an activist who develops and mobilizes faith-motivated advocates who help close the academic achievement gap in public schools.
  • Robert Reich (Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future), Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. Reich also served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration.

Trinity Institute offers two (2) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for all persons who complete each year’s National Theological Conference.

To become a partner site whether in the United States or abroad, visit

For more information about attending the conference in person at Trinity Church, visit, call 1-212-300-9902 or email

For more information about Trinity Institute, visit

Trinity Institute
Trinity Institute is a continuing education program founded in 1967 as an outreach of Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish. The Institute’s annual National Theological Conference equips clergy and laypersons for imaginative and catalytic leadership. Recent conferences include Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace, Reading Scripture Through Other Eyes, and Radical Christian Life: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change. The conference presents emerging and inclusive theological perspectives and engages participants in inquiry, dialogue, and reflection. Theological reflection groups are assembled both onsite and at partner sites and provide opportunities to arrive at a deeper understanding of the presentations through peer learning, reflect on how to integrate conference themes with life and work, and build community with colleagues. Participants from all denominations and faith traditions are welcomed.

Trinity Wall Street
Located at the head of Wall Street, Trinity Church has been part of New York City’s and our nation’s history since its charter in 1697. Today, the organization has grown to include many important areas of focus and is collectively known as Trinity Wall Street. Most importantly, Trinity Wall Street is an Episcopal parish offering daily worship services and faith formation programs at Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel, and online at In addition, Trinity Wall Street includes Trinity Grants, providing $80 million in funding to 85 countries since 1972; Trinity Preschool; Charlotte’s Place, a community space; Trinity Institute, an annual theological conference; an extensive arts program presenting more than 100 concerts each year through Concerts at One, the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and the Trinity Youth Chorus; and Trinity Real Estate, which manages the parish’s six million square feet of commercial real estate in lower Manhattan. For more informat ion, visit


ICP: International Program « Étudier à paris »

From the Institut Catholique de Paris:

Please find attached [PDF] a presentation of the new “Etudier à Paris” (Study in Paris) Study Abroad Program delivered at ICP, designed for international students from partner Universities who are not French-speaking, but wish to study in Paris at ICP.

The enclosed leaflet and online brochure provide detailed information.


Please forward this email with attached documents to relevant colleagues in charge of Outbound or Study Abroad Students, and help us communicate on this new program among your students and colleagues.

Many thanks for your kind attention and cooperation.

Anne Douaire-Banny

Download the PDF containing full information about the programme on “Geopolitics, History and International affairs,” here


CFP: SST 64th Annual Conference – Thinking the Church Today

13 TO 15 APRIL 2015


I am writing to call for paper proposals and bursary applications for the Society for the Study of Theology’s sixty-fourth annual conference. This year’s theme is ‘Thinking the Church today’ and the questions we shall be addressing will include:

  • How should the excluded church be conceived relative to centres of institutional power?
  • What is the meaning of the priesthood of all believers?
  • How is the church incarnated culturally and socially?
  • How are the visible and invisible churches mingled?
  • What are the implications of the Second Vatican Council fifty years on?
  • What place does ecumenism have in post-Christendom Europe?

Plenary speakers will include

  • Lieven Boeve
  • Christopher Cocksworth
  • Trond Skard Dokka
  • Mary McClintock Fulkerson
  • Tom Greggs

We invite proposals for SHORT PAPERS on the conference theme to be delivered in a maximum of 20 minutes. To submit a proposal, visit

We also invite proposals for SEMINAR PAPERS on a range of ongoing topics also to be delivered in a maximum of 20 minutes. Seminars include: Christology and Trinity; Philosophy and Theology; Sacramentality, Liturgy and Theology; Theological Anthropology; Theological Ethics; Theology and Science; Theology and the Arts. To submit a proposal, visit

For the first time we invite proposals for POSTERS relating to the conference topic or other research. To submit a proposal, visit

The Society is committed to increasing its own inclusivity and diversity and that of the theological academy. We welcome paper submissions which bring the conference theme into conversation with issues such as gender, sexuality, ability and disability, ethnicity and race. We also welcome submissions from postgraduate students, early career researchers, independent scholars, and those working outside the academy. For details of our new mentoring scheme, visit

Our Society operates a generous BURSARY FUND in order to make the conference as accessible as possible. Recipients of bursaries receive a credit note which can be offset against the cost of the conference fee, accommodation, and meals, but please note that no bursaries are available to offset the cost of conference travel. To apply, visit Donations to the fund are most welcome and may be made either when booking or by increasing your annual subscription.

The deadline for receipt of all paper proposals and bursary applications is 27th January.

Bookings for the conference will open in the second week of January and I shall write again then to confirm this. Until then, options and prices may be viewed online. In case your decision to attend the conference depends on acceptance of your paper proposal and/or bursary application, you will be notified of the outcome of these by 3rd February in order to be able to book online before the early booking rate closes on 19th February.

Please forward this message to anyone who might like to submit a paper proposal, such as colleagues, postgraduate students or anybody else with graduate-level interest in theology.

We look forward to receiving your proposal.

Yours sincerely,
David Grumett

Society for the Study of Theology


Now available: RO:TPP Journal Vol. 2, no. 3

ROTPP-2.3-Cover-500x705The latest issue of the Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics journal, Volume 2, Number 3 is now available for reading on the open-access website.

Table of contents:


Kierkegaard’s Virtue Epistemology
Michael D. Stark

Joseph Ratzinger’s Understanding of Freedom
Peter John McGregor

The Martyr as the Vanishing Point for a New Political Philosophy
Dotan Leshem


Leland de la Durantaye, Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009.
Pierre-Yves Fioraso

James Mumford, Ethics at the Beginning of Life: A Phenomenological Critique. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Orion Edgar

The Grammar of a Cultural Act: A Review of Matthew John Paul Tan’s Justice, Unity, and the Hidden Christ. Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2014.
Conor Thomas Sweeney

Fiction and Poetry

The Service: A Life of the Virgin Mary
Simone Kotva

Read the full issue here. A full PDF of the issue may also be downloaded here.

Past issues may be found here.


Research Funding at Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion

Research Funding Opportunities through Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion

Hope, Optimism, and God (Residential Fellowships)

Hope & Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations invites applications for residential fellowships as part of our “Hope, Optimism, and God” funding initiative for projects beginning Fall 2015. Winning applicants will spend AY2015-2016 in residence at Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion, and will receive a $65,000 stipend plus approximately $10,000 for research. We expect to fund projects in philosophy of religion, epistemology, ethics, moral psychology, and analytic theology, but welcome applications from people working in other fields as well.

For further details, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, please visit the project website at: Application deadline is February 15, 2015.

Hope, Optimism, and God (Non-Residential Fellowships)

Hope & Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations invites applications for non-residential fellowships as part of our “Hope, Optimism, and God” funding initiative for projects beginning Fall 2015. These awards will fund one-year projects. Funding requests up to $100,000 are allowable. We expect to fund projects in philosophy of religion, epistemology, ethics, moral psychology, and analytic theology, but welcome applications from people working in other fields as well.

For further details, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, please visit the project website at: Applications deadline is February 15, 2015.

Aspects of Religious Experience (Residential Fellowships)

The Experience Project invites applications for up to two residential fellowships as part of our “Aspects of Religious Experience” funding initiative for projects beginning Fall 2015. Winning applicants will spend AY2015-2016 in residence at Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion, and will receive a $65,000 stipend plus approximately $10,000 for research and relocation. We expect to fund projects on religious experience in philosophy of religion, theology, and/or religious studies.

For further details, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, please visit the project website at: Application deadline is February 15, 2015.

Aspects of Religious Experience (Non-Residential Fellowships)

The Experience Project invites applications for non-residential fellowships as part of our “Aspects of Religious Experience” funding initiative for projects beginning Fall 2015. These awards will fund one-year projects. Funding requests up to $100,000 are allowable. We expect to fund projects on the topic of religious experience in philosophy of religion, theology, and/or religious studies.

For further details, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, please visit the project website at: Applications deadline is February 15, 2015.

Alvin Plantinga Fellowship

Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion invites applications for the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship. This fellowship is for a senior, established philosopher whose work has important connections to philosophy of religion and/or Christian Philosophy. The Plantinga fellow will spend AY2015-2016 in residence at the Center for Philosophy of Religion, and will receive a $75,000 stipend which includes $10,000 for research and relocation.

For further details, including application instructions, please visit Application deadline is February 15, 2015.

Senior Research Fellowship in Religious Experience

Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion invites applications for a Senior Research Fellowship. This fellowship is for a senior scholar in philosophy, theology, or religious studies working on the topic of religious experience. The Senior Research fellow will spend AY2015-2016 in residence at the Center for Philosophy of Religion, and will receive a $75,000 stipend which includes $10,000 for research and relocation.

For further details, including application instructions, please visit Application deadline is December 1, 2014.

Visiting Graduate Fellowship

Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion invites applications for a Visiting Graduate Fellowship. This fellowship is for a philosophy graduate student from another institution who has serious research interests in the philosophy of religion. (Note: Applicants for this fellowship are not expected to be doing dissertation work in the philosophy of religion, nor are they expected to propose a fellowship project in that field. To be eligible, one need only express and provide evidence of serious research interest in philosophy of religion.) The Visiting Graduate fellow will spend AY2015-2016 in residence at the Center for Philosophy of Religion, and will receive a $20,000 stipend along with money for movingexpenses and research-related expenses.

For further details, including application instructions, please visit Application deadline is February 15, 2015.


Academic News & Links

We’ve had a few items sent our way recently, and wanted to highlight them here.

Know of anything else news-worthy that we should know about? If so, please submit it through our News Submission form here.



CFP: The Ethics of Nature – The Nature of Ethics


Saturday, 16th May 2015

The question of ethics has been central to philosophical and theological traditions throughout history, and as time moves forward, investigations into ethics in the context of the relationship between humanity and nature have become more complex, taking account of advancements in the natural sciences and a growing appreciation of nature. How are we to understand our relationship with nature, and how does this have implications for our understandings of ethics? The links between nature and ethics appears prominently in the Judeo-Christian tradition, for example: the symbolism of the tree of knowledge in Genesis may be interpreted as a realisation that there may be right and wrong way to toil the earth. Are we now realising the repercussions of our failure to take note of this forewarning in our experience of climate change?

In John’s prologue, the logos was in the beginning, which could suggest an abstract, objective moral code in nature. If so, how do we gain access to this code of ethics? Is it only accessible through revelation, as in some religious traditions, or is this code of ethics more generally accessible to humanity? Indeed, does such an abstract notion of ethics exist; could it be that ethics are a natural and subjective development? Is ethics a feature of nature, or have we invented it? This one-day conference seeks to explore these questions which emerge from considering the relationship between nature and ethics. This is not a conference engaged in considering normative ethical systems per se. Rather, it will take a broader approach exploring the nature (understood as essence or character) of ethics itself and whether nature (understood as natural world) has imbedded in it, a moral code.

Plenary Speakers:

  • Prof. Robert Stern, University of Sheffield – ‘Løgstrup, Ethics, and the Sovereign Expressions of Life’
  • Prof. Alison Stone, Lancaster University – ‘Hegel, Nature, and Ethics’
  • Dr. Christopher Southgate, University of Exeter


We invite interested parties to submit abstracts of 250 words for 10-15 minute short papers on themes related to that of the conference, including but not limited to:

  • Natural Law traditions and nature
  • The universality of ethics
  • Religious traditions and ethics
  • The accessibility of ethics
  • Naturalistic perspectives on ethics
  • Secular and religious views on the nature of ethics
  • The origins of ethics
  • Thinking ethically about nature

Send abstracts to for review by 31st January 2015.

Download a flyer for the event here [PDF].


New 2nd Edition of Gregory Shaw’s Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus

The 2nd edition of Gregory Shaw’s Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus is now available (Angelico Press/Sophia Perennis; September 9, 2014). This 2nd edition contains a new preface from the author, as well as a foreword by John Milbank and Aaron Riches.

[Purchase: |]


Theurgy and the Soul is a study of Iamblichus of Syria (ca. 240-325), whose teachings set the final form of pagan spirituality prior to the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Gregory Shaw focuses on the theory and practice of theurgy, a term meaning “divine action,” the most controversial and significant aspect of Iamblichus’s Platonism. Unlike previous Platonists, who stressed the elevated status of the human soul, Iamblichus taught that the soul descends completely into the body and requires the performance of theurgic rites—revealed by the gods—to unite the soul with the One.

Iamblichus was a seminal Platonic philosopher whose views on the soul and the importance of ritual profoundly influenced subsequent thinkers such as Proclus, Damascius, and Dionysius the Areopagite. Iamblichus’s vision of a hierarchical cosmos united by divine ritual became the dominant worldview for the entire medieval world, and played an important role in the Renaissance Platonism of Marsilio Ficino. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that he expected a reading of Iamblichus to cause a “revival in the churches.” Yet, until recently, modern scholars have dismissed him, seeing theurgy as ritual magic or an attempt to manipulate the gods. Shaw, however, shows that theurgy was a subtle and intellectually sophisticated attempt to apply Platonic and Pythagorean teachings to the full expression of human existence in the material world. This new edition includes a foreword by John Milbank and Aaron Riches showing the Christian sacramental implications of Iamblichean theurgy, and a new preface from the author.


“Theurgy and the Soul remains the one essential work not only on the mysterious yet influential figure of Iamblichus, but also on the emergence of religious or theurgical Neoplatonism. Shaw presents the reasoning and classical pedigree behind the sometimes obscure doctrines and practices belonging to this often misunderstood school of thought. His analysis reveals it as a dynamic and distinct form of philosophy in its own right, and not the last gasp of Hellenism before the onset of the Middle Ages.” — L. MICHAEL HARRINGTON, author of Sacred Place in Early Medieval Neoplatonism

“Gregory Shaw’s Theurgy and the Soul is the essential guide for those seeking entry to the experiential dimension of late Neoplatonism. The book is also philosophically sound, but its primary importance lies in bringing alive for sympathetic readers the symbolic and imaginal realities that animated the spiritual practices of Iamblichus and his followers. It reveals Late Antique Platonists clearly as mystical existentialists whose teachings are just as vital now as they were in antiquity.” — JOHN BUSSANICH, author of The One and Its Relation to Intellect in Plotinus

[Purchase: |]


Keble Theology Workshop, 2 December 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Below and attached, please see the poster for our next Keble Theology Workshop, scheduled for 5pm on Tuesday 2 December.

I would be grateful if you could circulate and/or display this to any interested students.

Our speaker on this occasion is Dr. Edward Kessler MBE, Founder and Executive Director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge. He is one of this country’s most prominent voices on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.  He will raise the challenging question of whether the 21st century global resurgence of religions spells the end of ‘interfaith’ relations—or indeed whether the key fissures may now just as frequently be apparent between different viewpoints within the same religious traditions.

We will again aim to set out theology’s “shop window” in order especially to attract present and potential graduate students, and to demonstrate that engagement with theology’s subject matter is of outstanding interest and importance.

Affordable bed-and-breakfast accommodation for out-of-town guests is usually available to book directly either at Keble or at  Let us know if you require help with this or with travel arrangements.

Please note again the usual limit of 60 places; early booking is advisable. All that is needed to register is a brief email to (one per person, please).

With many thanks and all good wishes,

Markus Bockmuehl

Download the poster for the Kessler Keble Workshop here.


Recently published: Partakers of the Divine: Contemplation and the Practice of Philosophy

Recently published: Partakers of the Divine: Contemplation and the Practice of Philosophy, by Jacob Holsinger Sherman (Fortress Press, 2014).

[Purchase: |]


Exploring the meeting of mystical and philosophical theology, Partakers of the Divineshows that Christian philosophical and contemplative practices arose together and that throughout much of Christian history, philosophy, theology, and contemplation remained internal to one another. Through an engagement with contemporary theologians and philosophers of religion, both analytic and continental, and through careful re-readings of historical figures such as Anselm and Nicholas of Cusa, this volume presents a contemporary argument in favor of the antique, participatory tradition of contemplative philosophy.

Partakers demonstrates that retrieving this more venerable vision of the relation of philosophy, theology, and contemplation to one another provides theologians and philosophers of religion today with a way forward beyond many of the stalemates that have beset discussions about faith and reason, the role of religion in contemporary culture, and the challenges of modernity and postmodernity.


“In his impressive first book, Jacob Holsinger Sherman successfully shows that the main lines of Christian spiritual practice are inseparable from ascription to a metaphysics of participation and vice versa. Participation was experienced, while spiritual practice was interpreted as hierarchical ascent through grades of being towards final union with the Triune God.” — John Milbank, University of Nottingham

“In this timely and innovative study, Jacob Holsinger Sherman parses afresh the ancient idea of a philosophy which is also contemplative. Whilst Pierre Hadot recalled late twentieth-century readers to this rich tradition in late antique philosophy, Sherman now gives it fresh contemporary exemplification through incisive re-readings of Anselm and Cusanus and creative links to contemporary philosophy of religion, both continental and analytic. This is an important first book of impressive range and spiritual insight.” — Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge

“In his well-researched and brilliantly-argued first book, Jacob Holsinger Sherman shows that the metaphysics of participation are inseparable from the practice of contemplation. He shows that this aspect of spiritual engagement has been just as fundamental for philosophy as for theology. The radical implication is that our current divisions between the two disciplines, alongside our over-adulation of cold academic detachment, may both lack historical warrant and be existentially and culturally perilous.” — Catherine Pickstock, University of Cambridge

“Does ‘seeing God’ have philosophical meaning or relevance today? Lucid and learned, Partakers of the Divine presents a frequently misunderstood strand of Christian reflection. In this profound and trenchant work, Jacob Holsinger Sherman offers a penetrating case for the contemporary application of ‘the vision and the faculty Divine.” — Douglas Hedley, University of Cambridge

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Notable: A Companion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Life and Work & The People and Places In Her Story

A Companion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Her Life and Work & The People and Places In Her Story


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THE PRODUCT OF TWENTY YEARS of research and writing, this extraordinary new work is the most comprehensive portrait of Thérèse ever published, and the ultimate reference to her life and spirituality. A Companion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux will appeal to all devotees of Thérèse, as well as those approaching her for the first time, who will find it a fascinating introduction. There is abundant material concerning her autobiography as well as her other literary and artistic works, and a treasury of information on all the people and places in her life story. Finally, the author revisits the steps leading to her beatification, canonization, and the proclamation of her as a Doctor of the Church, and provides a history of the Carmelites and the origin of the Lisieux Carmel. As a source of biographical detail and photographs it is unsurpassed in any language and will remain the most authoritative work on Thérèse for many years to come.

Praise for A Companion to Saint Thérèse:

“A remarkable book!” — FR. BENEDICT GROESCHEL, C.F.R., Co-founder of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

“Obviously a labor of love. If one were making a movie about the Little Flower, this would be the perfect book to provide the background material to help understand St. Thérèse and all the people that touched her life.” — FR. ROBERT J. BOYD, Ph.D., F.S.S.P., Third Order Carmelite

“An astounding achievement in the annals of Catholic hagiography. There has never been a work like this regarding the life and times of ‘the Little Flower.’ It will be an essential acquisition for every theological library, every Catholic school and homeschooling co-op, and every member of the lay faithful with a devotion to Saint Thérèse.” — CHRISTOPHER A. FERRARA, President, American Catholic Lawyers Association

“In A Companion to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux we are given the opportunity to study Saint Thérèse in a novel way, through the optics of the people and places associated with her. I exhort all of you to come to appreciate she who identified her vocation as Love.” — FR. FRANK PAVONE, National Director, Priests for Life

“This is an encyclopedia of information on the life and spirituality of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Here you will find information and photos concerning the Saint that have not been published anywhere else. The author is to be congratulated for his diligence and persistence in assembling all this material for the many Catholics devoted to the saint of the small and simple way to God.” — FR. KENNETH BAKER, S.J., Editor Emeritus, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

More information may be found here.

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Seminar: Intellectual Humility: Its Nature, Value, and Implications

Intellectual Humility: Its Nature, Value, and Implications

May 8-11, 2015. A three-day seminar at the Fuller Guest Center (Pasadena, California) for 15 advanced graduate students or junior faculty (no more than 10 years past the PhD).

Faculty speakers include:

  • Joshua Alexander
  • Jason Baehr
  • Nathan Ballantyne
  • Heather Battalay
  • Jessica Brown
  • Adam Green
  • Peter Hill
  • Thomas Hofweber
  • Daniel Howard-Snyder
  • Thomas Kelly
  • Mark Leary
  • Sarah McGrath
  • J.L. Schellenberg
  • Dennis Whitcomb

Themes include:

  • The nature of intellectual humility
  • Empirical study of intellectual humility
  • Philosophical intuition
  • Metaphysical and religious modesty
  • Peer disagreement
  • Moral deference
  • Situationism
  • Fallibilism
  • Mind-reading, empathy, and intersubjectivity

$500 honorarium plus all expenses paid. Successful applicants will commit to studying items on the seminar syllabus prior to the seminar, and to attending the Capstone Conference on Catalina Island, May 10-14, immediately following the seminar, all expenses paid.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, see

Direct all questions to Application deadline: December 31, 2014. Winners will be announced January 15, 2015.

Supported by the Philosophy and Theology of Intellectual Humility Project at Saint Louis University.
Funded by the John Templeton Foundation.


Philosophical Theology Reading Group at the University of Nottingham

Philosophical Theology Reading Group

The theme of the Philosophical Theology Reading Group this semester (Autumn 2014) will be ‘Derrida and Malabou; Messianicity and Plasticity’.

The first four sessions and readings are as follows:

  • Session 1: Jacques Derrida, ‘The Ends of Man,’ in Margins of Philosophy, 109-136.
  • Session 2: Jacques Derrida, ‘Faith and Knowledge,’ in Acts of Religion, 42-102.
  • Session 3: Catherine Malabou, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction, 1-62.
  • Session 4: Catherine Malabou, ‘Afterword: Of the Impossibility of Feeling — Plasticity,’ in Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing, 64-82; Catherine Malabou, ‘The End of Writing? Grammatology and Plasticity,’ The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms 12 (2007): 431–441.

First meeting: Tuesday, 14 October at 3 pm, The Staff Club.

The meetings are open to all postgraduate students and staff. The texts will be circulated in PDF via email; please contact King-Ho Leung for more information.


Update on the availability of Tyson’s Returning to Reality

Paul Tyson’s Returning to Reality: Christian Platonism for Our Times, is now available with the Book Depository. The advantage of this is that international orders are mailed out to on-line buyers without the buyer paying for postage.

For more information on Returning to Reality, see our previous post on it here.

A promotional flyer for this book may be downloaded here [PDF].


Kinetic sculptural video from Sara Cunningham-Bell: “The Body is there to ennoble the soul”

The Body is there to ennoble the soul – Thomas Aquinas.

A Cunningham-Bell video which accompanies life size, kinetic sculptures in the solo show- Evolution of our Soul, in Belfast, Thursday 4th – 27th September, 2014. A limited edition book is available for purchase from the Gallery – The Engine Room, BT2 8DY


New Book Series: Theology and Philosophy

Theology and Philosophy

Series Editors: Craig Bartholomew, Alan Mittleman, and Meena Sharify-Funk

The aim of this new monograph series is to promote work at the interface of theology and philosophy. It attempts to both foreground and explore their inter-relationship, showcasing examples of constructive engagement between the two. The series publishes work that engages sacred texts in theological-philosophical dialogue, with a critical focus on the foundations of both theology and philosophy. We are currently seeking proposals for monographs and essay collections. The scope of the series includes all religious traditions.

Details on how to submit a proposal are on the website:

We are always happy to discuss project ideas. Please contact the Commissioning Assistant, Sophie Rudland, or one of the Series Editors. You can also follow Sophie on twitter @CommissioningSR


Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy Annual Conference

ACU-Conference-FlyerThe Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy and ACU’s School of Philosophy are pleased to announce the 2014 ASCP annual conference, which will be held on ACU’s Melbourne campus.

The deadline for submissions of abstracts, thematic panel proposals, and book panel proposals to be considered for the 2014 ASCP annual conference has been extended.

**The new deadline is Friday 3 October 2014 **

The Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy aims to provide a broad intellectual forum for professional academics and postgraduates researching topics in Contemporary European philosophy, and it is the premier reference point for people working within the diverse fields of Continental/European Philosophy in the Australasian region.

Keynote addresses by:

  • Lee Braver (University of South Florida)
  • Kevin Hart (University of Virginia, and Australian Catholic University)
  • Marguerite La Caze (University of Queensland)
  • Genevieve Lloyd (Emeritus, University of New South Wales)
  • Andreas Vrahimis (University of Cyprus)

Call for Papers
We invite proposals for papers for the 2014 ASCP annual conference at ACU in the broadly-defined field of Continental Philosophy. Proposals from postgraduate students are very welcome.

All non-plenary papers will be allocated 45-minute sessions (25-30 minute presentation, allowing 15-20 minutes for discussion).

Papers that are linked thematically (e.g., devoted to the work of a particular thinker or a particular philosophical problem/issue) will be scheduled within a conference stream.

Submissions are especially encouraged in the following potential streams:

  • Continental Philosophy of Religion
  • European Philosophy and the Legacy of the Great War (The Analytic-Continental divide in historical perspective)
  • Naturalism and the Transcendental
  • Phenomenology, the Real, and Thinking the Unthinkable
  • Philosophical Moods and their Metaphilosophical Significance
  • The Metaphysics of the Event

The deadline for the submission of conference abstracts has been extended to Friday 3 October 2014. Confirmation of selection will follow shortly.

Abstracts should be 200 words in length, and submitted to

Call for Panels
We also invite proposals for thematic and book panels:

  • Proposals for thematic panels should include: a panel title; a 200 word outline of the theme to be addressed; two or three proposed speakers; and preferably, a chair.
  • Proposals for book panels are also welcome. Books must have been published within the last two years. Proposals should include the author; two or three commentators on the book; and preferably a chair.

To submit a proposal for a thematic or book panel, please email The deadline for the submission of panel proposals has been extended to Friday 3 October 2014. Confirmation of selection will follow shortly. (NB: even if your paper is part of a panel, you still need to submit your paper proposal as above, indicating the panel title in the relevant field.)

Conference Website
Please visit the conference website ( for:

  • Conference Registration: The registration portal is now open. (NB: acceptance of a paper for the conference is conditional upon the payment of registration fees in a timely manner prior to the conference.)
  • Campus Maps and Orientation, and transport information
  • Accommodation options close to ACU’s Melbourne campus

After the conference there will be a call for submissions for a special ASCP conference issue of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy.

For further information, please email


On behalf of the ASCP Conference Organising Committee:
Richard Colledge (Chair)
Fatih Erol Tuncer (Project Officer)
Chris Hackett
Jeff Hanson
Wojciech Kaftanski (postgrad rep)


To download the conference flyer, click here [PDF].



(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 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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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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