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).

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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.

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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.

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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
Testament.

Venue :
University of Nottingham,
Keighton Auditorium,
University Park
Campus
NG7 2QX

TO BOOK IN EMAIL:
formation@nrcdt.org.uk
or telephone:
0115 9539841
Cost: £10
Concessions: £5

Download the flier here.

 

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Cyril O’Regan Lectures in Budapest

Click here to view the full-sized event flier.

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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.

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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.

Readership:

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.

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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.

Blurbs:

“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]

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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.

Blurbs:

“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

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

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Conference: Between Metaphysics, Aesthetics, and Religion

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:

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New from Angelico Press: The Dream-Child’s Progress and Other Essays, by David Bentley Hart

Just out from Angelico Press: The Dream-Child’s Progress and Other Essays, by David Bentley Hart (February 10, 2017; 358pp+).

[Purchase: Angelico Press]

By turns champion of the Christian difference and voice of dissent; friend to Moley and Water Rat and scourge to those of scientistic bent—these are but a few of the many guises of David Bentley Hart, whose books, essays, and reviews over the past twenty years have established him as one of America’s foremost theologians, critics, and men of letters.

Few have escaped Hart’s withering scrutiny, as he has exploded comfortable attitudes of believers and unbelievers alike. Here he turns his vital, and at times acerbic, pen to matters of truly high import: books and authors—and in so doing ranges far and wide across our intellectual landscape. Writing on everything from Alice to Zen, here are meditations on culture, theology, and politics; on words, sports, and nature.

Disarming, insightful, illuminating—and often wickedly funny—the essays in The Dream-Child’s Progress give evidence of the great gift we have in Hart: a Christian intellectual engaging our world with warmth, candor, and clarity—but most of all, with charity.

Blurbs:

“David Bentley Hart’s advocacy of remote literary treasures and lingering cultural mysteries will surely do much to offset the terrible reputation our universe must enjoy among the inhabitants of other dimensions. No more successful cosmic sales-pitch could be imagined.” — JOHN MILBANK, University of Nottingham

“David Hart is a national treasure. Like an ecologist lovingly displaying the beauty of a rare plant, or pinpointing where to find the real contribution of, or cure for, an invasive shrub, Hart masterfully guides us into the many ways in which humans attempt to express the intricacy and mystery of reality.” — MATTHEW LEVERING, Mundelein Seminary, University of St. Mary of the Lake

“A journey through the mind of David Bentley Hart is always a great and glorious adventure no superlative can describe and no summary encapsulate. Perhaps, then, the highest praise one can lavish on The Dream Child’s Progress is to say it is not altogether unlike another journey undertaken with the guidance of Hart’s beloved Lewis Carroll: it gets curiouser and curiouser with each wonderful essay.” — MICHAEL HANBY, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, Catholic University of America

“David Bentley Hart is an indispensable voice—brilliant, learned, arch, and pitiless. This far-ranging collection is quintessential Hart, by turns provocative and hilarious. I learn something unexpected from nearly every essay.” — KYLE HARPER, University of Oklahoma

“This volume is a nest holding many fine jewels. Once again, Hart has shown that he is the best writer on religion (and all things attendant) in America today.” — CONOR CUNNINGHAM, University of Nottingham

“These essays of David Hart, mostly on books and authors, glow with delight in the most human of things: storytelling, religion, truth, entertainment, being alone, other people—and the mystery of language. David Hart is a master. If you have not read him, you must.” — AARON RICHES, Seminario Mayor San Cecilio, Granada, Spain

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Available in the Veritas series: Wealth of Persons: Economics with a Human Face

Available in the Veritas series: Wealth of Persons: Economics with a Human Face, by John McNerney, with a foreword by David Walsh.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century initiated a great debate not just about inequality but also regarding the failures found in the economic models used by theoreticians and practitioners alike. Wealth of Persons offers a totally different perspective that challenges the very terms of the debate. The Great Recession reveals a great existential rift at the core of certain economic reflections, thereby showing the real crisis of the crisis of economics. In the human sciences we have created a kind of “Tower of Babel” where we cannot understand each other any longer. The “breakdowns” occur equally on the personal, social, political, and economic levels. There is a need for an “about-face” in method to restore harmony among dissociated disciplines.

Wealth of Persons offers a key to such a restoration, applying insights and analysis taken from different economic scholars, schools of thought, philosophical traditions, various disciplines, and charismatic entrepreneurs. Wealth of Persons aims at recapturing an adequate understanding of the acting human person in the economic drama, one that measures up to the reality. The investigation is a passport allowing entry into the land of economic knowledge, properly unfolding the anthropological meaning of the free economy.

Blurbs:

“John McNerney’s Wealth of Persons is an amazing tour de force—his focus on the human person in economics not only opens up economics for the nonprofessional economist, it’s a bracing exposition of the philosophy of the human person, all the more impressive when seen immersed in economic action. By focusing on the Austrian and the later Bologna schools’ insistence on the role of the entrepreneur he critiques, on the one hand, an economy overfocused on profit and, on the other, Marx’s (and later Piketty’s) misreading of economics as a struggle between capital and labor. It should be required reading for all students (and teachers) of economics as well as of applied philosophical anthropology.” — Brendan Purcell, Adjunct Professor at the School of Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney

“This book is a welcome addition to the field of Catholic social teachings and more generally to the debate over the use of economics and its limits . . . The author aims to explain the ‘crisis’ in economics and in the economy without blaming the usual suspects, especially human greed. This research program is sorely needed, especially coming from someone outside of the field of economics.” — Frederic Sautet, Associate Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of America

“McNerney . . . is not afraid to suggest that theological and metaphysical issues are needed to put the right limits on economics. And he shows how this might be done without undermining the integrity of the discipline itself—indeed, how such issues flow out of the discipline and its activities among real [persons] acting together . . . What McNerney is really getting at is a placing of economics in its true place, with the realization that the acting person also has a transcendent destiny that is really why he is doing anything at all in the first place, as Augustine said.” — Professor James V. Schall, Retired Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Government at Georgetown University

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

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Forthcoming Events at the Blackfriars Aquinas Institute 2017

Aquinas Lecture, 2 March

Our annual Aquinas Lecture will be delivered at 5.00pm on Thursday 2 March, by Prof Candace Vogler of Chicago. She has announced the title, which is: “The Intellectual Animal”. There will be the usual short wine reception afterwards. You are all most welcome; if you plan to come it would be helpful, but not essential, to email me on richard.conrad@bfriars.ox.ac.uk


Aquinas Colloquium, 4 March

As already mentioned (I hope) one-day conference will be held on Saturday 4 March from 9.30am – 5.00pm, on the theme “Aquinas and Newman on Conscience”. Cost including lunch: £10 (£5 unwaged). To book a place email richard.conrad@bfriars.ox.ac.uk

Freedom of Conscience is a right widely promoted, and widely withheld. If, as Elizabeth Anscombe remarked, “a man’s conscience may tell him to do the vilest things,” how absolute are its rights? Do we need to clarify what conscience is, and how it follows from our creation in God’s image, if we are to state its duties, privileges and limitations, and cherish it without idolising it? This forms one strand of a joint research project of the Aquinas and Las Casas Institutes: Human Nature & Dignity: Resources for the 21st Century. The 2017 Colloquium launches this strand of research. By contrasting Aquinas and Newman we will sharpen the question what conscience is; bringing out common elements in the two theologians will promote precision on its rights, and on its responsibilities which Church and State must foster. A paper contrasting Aquinas and Calvin will illustrate the range of accounts Newman inherited.

Main Speakers:

  • Candace Vogler (David B. & Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy, Chicago) – Aquinas on Synderesis
  • Frederick Aquino (Professor of Theology, Abilene Christian University) – Newman on Conscience
  • Aaron Taylor (DPhil student, Oxford) – Aquinas and Calvin on Conscience

A Disputation on Conscience will be held between someone representing Newman, and a fictitious 19th -Century Dominican

Fee for the day, including lunch: £10 (£5 students/unwaged)

The Colloquium is made possible by a generous donation from Prof. Barbara R. Walters-Doehrman and Steven R. Doehrman, in memory of, and with gratitude to, the late Eugene Walters and the late Virginia and Ralph Doehrman, for which the Institute is very grateful.

Further information, & to register:

Richard Conrad, O.P., Blackfriars, St. Giles’, Oxford, OX1 3LY
01865 278444
richard.conrad@bfriars.ox.ac.uk

Download the flyer for this event here.


Aquinas in China, 8 March

Dr William Carroll, one of our research fellows, will give an informal talk on “Thomas Aquinas in China” on Weds. 8 March at 8.00 p.m. Last November he lectured at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and spoke to a group of 800 students at Shanghai High School; he organised a workshop on the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas sponsored by the School of Philosophy of Wuhan University, which was attended by 25 official participants from 12 different Chinese universities. In previous years he has lectured in several different places in China. The talk will cover the growing Chinese interest in Aquinas and the traditions of Western philosophy.

For more information on forthcoming events, see here.

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New videos in the ‘Why Study?’ series with Conor Cunningham

Why Study Life Before Death

Why Study Transcendentals

Why Study Phenomenology

 

See more videos in the ‘Why Study’ series here.

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Lumen Christi Institute 2017 Summer Seminars

Now in their ninth year, the Lumen Christi Institute’s Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition are open to graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and other relevant areas of study. Room, board, and a travel stipend are included for those whose applications are accepted. Each seminar  includes five days of intensive discussion based on close reading of the assigned texts as well as daily presentations given by the professor and student participants. A deep knowledge of the material is not required to apply. These seminars give participants mastery over the material under discussion, both for teaching and research purposes, and also deepen participants’ understanding and awareness of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

For more information and to apply visit, https://www.lumenchristi.org/programs/seminars

June 22-28
“Is God Knowable by Natural Reason?
Philosophy, Theology, and Trinitarian Thought in the High Medieval Ages”
Mark Clark, Catholic University of America
Timothy B. Noone, Catholic University of America
Rome, Italy

In this seminar, scholar of medieval history Mark Clark and scholar of medieval philosophy Timothy Noone will offer an intensive survey of theological and philosophical debates about the natural knowledge of God in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Participants will read and discuss the writings Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard, Bonaventure, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas as well as modern philosophical engagement with these questions.

July 9-15
“The Thought of John Henry Newman”
Fr. Ian Ker, University of Oxford
Merton College, Oxford

Now in its fifth consecutive year, this intensive seminar will examine Newman’s achievements as theologian, philosopher, educator, preacher, and writer. Remarkably, in each of these areas Newman produced works that have come to be recognized as classics: An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, The Grammar of Assent, The Idea of a University, The Parochial and Plain Sermons, and the Apologia Pro Vita Sua. This seminar will approach Newman’s thought through a critical engagement with these texts

July 29-August 5
“Catholic Social Thought: A Critical Investigation”
Russell Hittinger, University of Tulsa
University of California, Santa Barbara

Now in its fourth year, this seminar will have students read, analyze, and discern continuities and discontinuities in Catholic Social Thought from the late 19th century to the present. Lectures, seminar reports, and discussion will focus on original sources (encyclicals and other magisterial documents), beginning with Rerum novarum (1892) and concluding with Caritas in veritate (2009) and Evangelii Gaudium (2013). This intensive course is multi-disciplinary, since this tradition of social thought overlaps several disciplines in the contemporary university including political science, political philosophy, law, economics, theology, and history.

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Now Available: Immediacy and Meaning: J. K. Huysmans and the Immemorial Origin of Metaphysics

Now available: Immediacy and Meaning: J. K. Huysmans and the Immemorial Origin of Metaphysics, by Caitlin Smith Gilson (Bloomsbury Academic; 9 Feb. 2017; 323pp+);

[Purchase: Bloomsbury | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk]

Immediacy and Meaning seeks to approach the odd uneasiness at root in all metaphysical meaning; that the human knower attempts to mediate what cannot be mediated; that there is a pre-cognitive immemorial immediacy to Being that renders its participants irreducible, incommunicable and personal. The dilemma of metaphysics rests on the relationship between the spectator and the player, both as essential responses to the immediacy of Being. Immediacy and Meaning is an attempt to pause, but without retreat, to be a spectator within the game, to gain access into this immediate Presence, for a moment only perhaps, before the signatory failure into metaphysical language returns us to the mediated. J. K. Huysman’s semi-autobiographical tetralogy anchors this book as a meditation, neither purely poetic nor only philosophical; it claims a unique territory when attempting to speak what cannot be spoken. The unnerving merits of nominalism, the difficulties of an honest appraisal of efficacious prayer, the mad sanity of the muse, the relationship between the uncreated and the created, and an originary ethics of antagonism, each serves to clarify the formation of a new epistemology.

Blurbs:

“Smith Gilson is an emerging Catholic intellectual working at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and literature. This book brings to our philosophical and theological attention the later work of Huysmans and uses it as a platform for insightful reflections on origin, time, and narrative, as well as deep engagement with both the classical and modern philosophical traditions. At its deepest, however, it is a reflection on experience and what exceeds it.” –  Cyril O’Regan, Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, USA

“Incorporating an impressive array of works of poetry, prose, philosophy, and theology, this book is no mere work of scholarship. Rather, it is a unique and powerful philosophical meditation upon what it means to be human. It claims that to be human is to be responsive, and thus to bear the responsibility for our knowing, our freedom, and our person. Thus, Gilson proposes that we rethink the notion of the human knower as subject. We are responsive as knowers and agents because we are originally the other to the primal Being and Knower. Thus we are not, as philosophy commonly assumes, primarily the knowing subject, but rather we are a dative of manifestation and we are such because we are primarily datives of love. The work begins by explaining the distortion in our knowledge caused by our necessarily mediated knowing and speaking, and promises the way for us to find our meaning in the unmediated by way of a profound interpretation of memory. Immediacy and Meaning thus claims to retrieve ‘the specific anthropology of our own memorial-as-immemorial Other.’ The theme of this and her previous three books interpenetrate each other and recur in various and ever interesting degrees of dialogue: God and man, time and eternity, faith and reason, universal and particular, nature and grace, immediacy and meaning, and Truth and Being. To quote another Gilson: ‘To introduce others to some important aspects of metaphysical being is no common gift.’” – Dr. Herbert E. Hartmann, Clinical Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of First-Year Experience, The Catholic University of America, USA

[Purchase: Bloomsbury | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk]

See also these previous books by Caitlin Smith Gilson:

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Conference CFP: Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event: Engaging with Christos Yannaras’ Thought

International conference:
POLIS, ONTOLOGY, ECCLESIAL EVENT
Engaging with Christos Yannaras’ Thought

A Conference on Modern Orthodox Theology

27-28 March 2017, Eastwood Room
(Office of Post-Doctoral Affairs,
University of Cambridge,
16 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX)

More information: tinyurl.com/yann17

CALL FOR PAPERS

We welcome paper proposals (20mins) on Christos Yannaras’ thought, work and relevance to areas of philosophy, theology, political science and related disciplines. All papers must be presented in English. Please send us the title and a short abstract of your presentation (200-400 words) in English, along with a short CV, until Wednesday 22 February 2017 via e-mail to sm2267@cam.ac.uk. You will be informed concerning the acceptance of your paper on Sunday 26 February 2017, and you will be asked to submit the registration fee (£30, covering registration, the conference banquet on Monday 27 March, as well as coffee & refreshments) via bank transfer/paypal/Transferwise. Participants must make their own arrangements concerning travel and accommodation in Cambridge.

About the conference:

Professor Christos Yannaras (born 1935 in Athens, Greece) has been proclaimed “one of the most significant Christian philosophers in Europe” (Rowan Williams), “without doubt the most important living Greek Orthodox theologian” (Andrew Louth), “contemporary Greece’s greatest thinker” (Olivier Clément). However, until recently the English-speaking scholar did not have first-hand access to the main bulk of his work: in spite of the relatively early English translation of his The Freedom of Morality (1984), most of his books appeared in English fairly recently—such as Person and Eros (2007), Orthodoxy and the West (2006), Relational Ontology (2011) or The Schism in Philosophy (2015). In this conference, the papers that will be presented shall examine numerous aspects of Yannaras’ contributions to Orthodox theology, philosophy and political science, based on his relational ontology of the person (later popularised in the Anglophone sphere by John Zizioulas). Topics that shall be covered include apophaticism and Yannaras’ appropriation thereof, the patristic grounding of the theology of the person, the possibility of an Orthodox political theology and contemporary problems in Orthodox theology, the formation and content of a critical and relational ontology, communo-centricism, and many others.

Organising Committee:
Revd Dr Andreas Andreopoulos, Mr Pui Him Ip, Revd Dr Isidoros Katsos, Dr Sotiris Mitralexis, Dr Dionysios Skliris

For all enquiries please contact Dr Sotiris Mitralexis: sm2267@cam.ac.uk.

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Just released: Socrates and Other Saints, by Darius Karłowicz

Just released in the KALOS book series: Socrates and Other Saints: Early Christian Understandings of Reason and Philosophy, by Darius Karłowicz, translated by Artur Sebastian Rosman and with a foreword by Rémi Brague.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock]

Many contemporary writers misunderstand early Christian views on philosophy because they identify the critical stances of the ante-Nicene fathers toward specific pagan philosophical schools with a general negative stance toward reason itself. Dariusz Karłowicz’s Socrates and Other Saints demonstrates why this identification is false.

The question of the extent of humanity’s natural knowledge cannot be reduced to the question of faith’s relationship to the historical manifestations of philosophy among the Ancients. Karłowicz closely reads the writings of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and others to demonstrate this point. He also builds upon Pierre Hadot’s thesis that ancient philosophy is not primarily theory but a “way of life” taught by sages, which aimed at happiness through participation in the divine.

The fact that pagan philosophers falsely described humanity’s telos did not mean that the spiritual practices they developed could not be helpful in the Christian pilgrimage. As it turns out, the ancient Christian writers traditionally considered to be enemies of philosophy actually borrowed from her much more than we think–and perhaps more than they admitted.

Blurbs:

“This significant new book amply demonstrates that the relationship of Christianity to pagan teaching did not really correspond to what we today take to be the distinction between faith and reason. Instead it was a matter of complex continuities as well as discontinuities in terms of practice and spiritual stance as much as theoretical affirmation. A very important corrective.” — John Milbank, author of Theology and Social Theory

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Available in the Veritas series: Being the Body of Christ in the Age of Management, by Lyndon Shakespeare

Available in the Veritas series: Being the Body of Christ in the Age of Management, by Lyndon Shakespeare.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk]

“The church needs effective leaders.”

“We must be more missional.”

“Better organization is required.”

Such sentiments are commonplace among Christians concerned with the health and sustainability of their local church as well as the church universal. Over the past thirty years, the desire for more efficiently run, effectively led, and organizationally sound churches has contributed to an approach to thinking about the church in terms uncritically assumed from the business and management sector. This has given rise to treating the church as if it were just another social body in need of better organization. The question is, what happens when we apply the logic of management techniques to an organization that identifies as the body of Christ?

Drawing on organizational theory, theological anthropology, and sacramental theology, this book navigates a path for Christians that avoids reducing the church to just another organization, while providing a vision for the church as the social body where all are invited to connect and be made members of Christ and each other. Such a vision provides an alternative to the social categorization that would define the church by its organizational character rather than its eschatological destiny.

Blurbs:

“Lyndon Shakespeare brings remarkable erudition to his argument for the recovery of the body of Christ as an ecclesial designation. As part of that argument he makes clear that we must recover an understanding of the body that challenges the managerial body that so dominates contemporary literature.” — Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University

Being the Body of Christ in the Age of Management isn’t just a critique of how the church thinks when it loses confidence in theology, nor is it only an excavation of the philosophy behind managerialism. It’s a joyful meditation on the church as the body of Christ, with a life that’s received from, animated by, and ordered towards God. The detailed analysis is meticulous, and the large-scale message could not be more timely.” — Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

“To govern the Church by neoliberal criteria of supposed ‘efficiency’ is surely a mode of ‘corpolatry’ that substitutes the body of an idol for the body of Christ, just as ‘idolatry’ substitutes the face of an idol for the face of God in Christ. This new book makes such a case in a very powerful manner, while also explaining why the grasp of secular organization theory by current church leaders is rather poor in any case. Shakespeare issues, in effect, a clarion call to all seriously able and visionary clergy and theologians to now find ways to seize the initiative from the semi-talented and conformist liberal careerists who are so sadly to the fore in the churches, obscuring the real Christian cultural and intellectual revival that is underway in Europe and the Americas.” — John Milbank, Research Professor Emeritus of Religion, Ethics, and Politics at the University of Nottingham, England

“Lyndon Shakespeare’s book is a timely and intriguing response to the crisis of confidence in practical theology. Rooted in a thorough awareness of the latest management fads, the demands of pastoral ministry, and a wise application of the traditions of Christian theology, Shakespeare is able to navigate a way forward that reflects both reality and a prophetic challenge to the nostrums of our day. Highly recommended.” — Justin Lewis-Anthony, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Anglican Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary

“This book is a gift. It is a gift for people who sing in churches, people who write about churches, people who stand up and speak about the Bible in churches, and anyone who loves someone who loves a church. Lyndon Shakespeare has engaged the various schemes for saving mainline-Christianity with patient lucidity. The book takes seriously ideas that have saturated my own denomination, helping anyone who has sat through a strategy or mission-marketing meeting to name their unease. Management-think is not an inevitable, natural evolution of human ingenuity. This way of describing and prescribing has a context and a history. Shakespeare’s close reading of Thomas Aquinas is beautiful and clear: to divide up the body of Christ into niche markets is not only to make a category error, but to dismember ourselves. To paraphrase Karl Barth, mainline marketing strategies have taught us to trade our inheritance of infinite grace, flowing in abundance at Holy Communion, for a set of prepackaged granola bars. This book reminds Christians where we are when we worship God–held together mysteriously, unaccountably, and immeasurably the body.” — Amy Laura Hall, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Duke University

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Available in the Veritas series: Seeing Things as They Are: G. K. Chesterton and the Drama of Meaning

Available in the Veritas series: Seeing Things as They Are: G. K. Chesterton and the Drama of Meaning, by Duncan Bruce Reyburn.

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The jovial journalist, philosopher, and theologian G. K. Chesterton felt that the world was almost always in permanent danger of being misjudged or even overlooked, and so the pursuit of understanding, insight, and awareness was his perpetual preoccupation. Being sensitive to the boundaries and possibilities of perception, he was always encouraging his audience to find a clear view of things. His belief was that it really is possible, albeit in a limited way, to see things as they are. This book, which marries Chesterton’s unique perspective with the discipline of philosophical hermeneutics, aims to outline what Chesterton can teach us about reading, interpreting, and participating in the drama of meaning as it unfolds before us in words and in the world.

Strictly speaking, of course, Chesterton is not a hermeneutic philosopher, but his vast body of work involves important hermeneutic considerations. In fact, his unique interpretive approach seems to be the subtext and implicit fascination of all Chesterton scholarship to date, and yet this book is the first to comprehensively focus on the issue. By taking Chesterton back to his philosophical roots—via his marginalia, his approach to literary criticism, his Platonist-Thomist metaphysics, and his Catholic theology—this book explicitly and compellingly tackles the philosophical assumptions and goals that underpin his unique posture towards reality.

Blurbs:

“Philosophically sophisticated but readily accessible, this highly original study shows what it was that made Chesterton so excellent a reader both of texts and of the world as a whole.” — Aidan Nichols, Prior, Blackfriars Cambridge, UK

“What trait do we most admire in Chesterton? I submit it is his vision, his ability to see things as they are. In this remarkably thorough and well-documented book, Reyburn transfers Chesterton’s pince-nez to our own noses. He conveys not just a description of Chesterton’s hermeneutic, but gives us a rewarding experience of it. A welcome romp with Chesterton, the ocular athlete.” — David W. Fagerberg, Professor, University of Notre Dame

“In this work on Chesterton’s drama of meaning, he shines forth as characteristically holistic, sane, joyous, and alert–at once wary of any easy ‘self-evident’ access to the way things are and yet hopeful in presenting ways to see the world more clearly. Reyburn’s book, both scholarly and accessible, is more lively than any work about philosophical hermeneutics has the right to be.” — Christopher Ben Simpson, Professor of Philosophical Theology, Lincoln Christian University; Author, The Truth Is the Way: Kierkegaard’s Theologia Viatorum

“Of the many books on G. K. Chesterton, Duncan Reyburn’s deserves its own special place. Indeed it is unique. For the first time, those wishing to dig deep into the mind of Chesterton, the master of paradox, can follow the hermeneutic path that Reyburn ploughs, in which, page after page, he churns up the surface of Chesterton’s wit that he might get to the heart of the wisdom that lies beneath.” — Joseph Pearce, Author, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton; Director, Center for Faith and Culture, Aquinas College

“For far too long Chesterton has been undervalued as a philosopher, and the radicalism of his thought unacknowledged. Duncan Reyburn’s superb exploration of the dramatic nature of his hermeneutics is thus a timely and original contribution to Chesterton studies, revealing on what resilient theological basis the sparkling epigrams depend.” — Alison Milbank, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham; Author, Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians: The Fantasy of the Real

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Welcome to CENTRE of THEOLOGY and PHILOSOPHY

(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:
www.nottingham.ac.uk/theology

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

Recent Posts

CoTP Symposium: Agamben and Decadence (Nottingham, 25 May)
May 16, 2017
Cambridge Seminar Series 2017: Reformation 500: Towards a New Perspective on Luther
May 12, 2017
Local Nottingham Event: Jesus the Teacher: Christ in Matthew’s Gospel
May 10, 2017
Cyril O’Regan Lectures in Budapest
May 9, 2017
Conor Cunningham: Video lecture series on Pseudo-Science and Religion
May 2, 2017
Now available: Maurice Blondel on the Supernatural in Human Action: Sacrament and Superstition
April 24, 2017
New in the Veritas series: Human and Divine Being: A Study on the Theological Anthropology of Edith Stein
April 19, 2017
New in Veritas: Ever-Moving Repose A Contemporary Reading of Maximus the Confessor’s Theory of Time
April 19, 2017
Conference: Between Metaphysics, Aesthetics, and Religion
March 20, 2017
New from Angelico Press: The Dream-Child’s Progress and Other Essays, by David Bentley Hart
February 25, 2017

(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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