Spanish translation of Conor Cunningham’s Darwin’s Pious Idea now available: La piadosa idea de Darwin


Now available through Editorial Nuevoinicio: the Spanish translation of Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get it Wrong, translated by Sebastián Montiel as La piadosa idea de Darwin: ¿Por qué se equivocan igualmente ultradarwinistas y creacionistas?

[Purchase: Editorial Nuevoinicio]

Publication description:

Conor Cunningham, joven teólogo británico, es director adjunto del Centro de Teología y Filosofía de la Universidad de Nottingham, cuyo director es el prestigioso teólogo John Milbank. Es autor del libro Genealogy of Nihilism (coll. “Radical Orthodoxy”, Routledge, London, 2002) y coeditor, junto con Peter M. Candler Jr., de la colección “Interventions” que publican conjuntamente las editoriales Routledge y Taylor & Francis Group. Se hizo muy popular en los ámbitos anglosajones por presentar en la BBC, a lo largo del mes de marzo de 2009, la serie de documentales titulada Did Darwin kill God? (“¿Mató Darwin a Dios?”), que él mismo había escrito.

El título del presente libro, La piadosa idea de Darwin, alude irónicamente al best seller de Daniel Dennett titulado La peligrosa idea de Darwin. Cunningham demuestra aquí que el pretendido debate entre fe cristiana y evolución ha sido secuestrado por extremistas: por un lado, los cristianos fundamentalistas que rechazan rotundamente cualquier idea de evolución y, por el otro, los ateos fundamentalistas que afirman que la teoría de Darwin excluye la posibilidad de Dios. Ambos tienen en común una idea de Dios (del Dios en el que creen o del Dios en el que no creen) que no se ajusta para nada a la ortodoxia de la tradición cristiana. Del mismo modo, cuando enfrentan los conceptos de “evolución” y de “creación”, presuponen una relación del Dios Creador con su creación que no tiene nada que ver con la concepción cristiana. Cunningham escribe de una forma mordaz y convincente a favor tanto de la creación como de la evolución, pero no entendidas como lo hacen creacionistas y ultradarwinistas. Para ello recurre a un selecto surtido de argumentos de naturaleza filosófica, teológica, histórica y científica. Se muestra así la artificialidad de un debate que sólo sirve para debilitar mutuamente a los que participan en él.

[Purchase: Editorial Nuevoinicio]

Also available in translation in Korean, and of course, the original English.


“Cunningham is not shy about pulling the ontological pants of materialism down to its ankles. He supplies an unremitting attack on the scientific and philosophical views of Dawkins and his ilk in the course of his first four chapters. The level of scientific sophistication on display is remarkable for a theologian; his reading and his ruminations have been extensive, more than sufficient to provide a devastating critique of the narrative stories and metaphors of Dawkins not just with respect to religion, but also with respect to evolutionary biology itself.” — Michael Rose, The Quarterly Review of Biology

“Despite its length, Darwin’s Pious Idea is a very readable book, engaging and often acerbically witty. It has some serious and original things to say about what always threatens to turn into a sterile debate between rather fictionalized and trivialized versions of science and religion. . . . The sheer exuberance of the presentation is a delight. The final, largely theological chapter, is a tour de force of condensed exposition and reflection, worthy of commendation to anyone who wanted to see the logic of the classical orthodox synthesis laid out with lyricism as well as intellectual depth.. . . This is certainly the most interesting and invigorating book on the science-religion frontier that I have encountered.” — Rowan Williams, Times Literary Supplement


Now available: God, the Flesh, and the Other: From Irenaeus to Duns Scotus, by Emmanuel Falque

Now available: God, the Flesh, and the Other: From Irenaeus to Duns Scotus, by Emmanuel Falque, translated by William Christian Hackett (Northwestern University Press; published December 30, 2014; 376pp+).

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In God, the Flesh, and the Other, the philosopher Emmanuel Falque joins the ongoing debate about the role of theology in phenomenology. An important voice in the second generation of French philosophy’s “theological turn,” Falque examines philosophically the fathers of the Church and the medieval theologians on the nature of theology and the objects comprising it. Falque works phenomenology itself into the corpus of theology. Theological concepts thus translate into philosophical terms that phenomenology should legitimately question: concepts from contemporary phenomenology such as onto-theology, appearance, reduction, body/flesh, inter-corporeity, the genesis of community, intersubjectivity, and the singularity of the other find penetrating analogues in patristic and medieval thought forged through millennia of Christological and Trinitarian debate, mystical discourses, and speculative reflection. Through Falque’s wide-ranging interpretive path, phenomenology finds itself interrogated—and renewed.

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Edited collection newly available: Apology of Culture: Religion and Culture in Russian Thought

Newly available this month: Apology of Culture: Religion and Culture in Russian Thought, edited by Artur Mrowczynski-Van Allen, Teresa Obolevitch, and Pawel Rojek (Pickwick Publications / Wipf & Stock; March 2, 2015; 252pp+).

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Contemporary philosophy and theology are ever more conscious of the fact that the model of relations between religion and culture developed in modernity is fundamentally flawed. The processes of the secularization of society, culture, and even religion are rooted in the dualistic vision of religion and culture introduced in the late Middle Ages. In seeking a way out, we need to explore domains of culture unaffected by Western European secular thinking.

Russian thought is remarkably well prepared to formulate an alternative to secular modernity. Indeed, in Russian culture there was neither a Renaissance nor an Enlightenment. Eastern Christianity retained an integral patristic vision of human nature that had not been divided into separate “natural” and “supernatural” elements. These pre- and non-modern visions are now gaining exceptional value in the postmodern reality in which we find ourselves. The heritage of Russian Christian thought may serve as a source of inspiration for alternative approaches to religion and culture. In this respect, Russian thought may be compared with nouvelle theologie, Radical Orthodoxy, and other recent movements in Christian postsecular thought. For this reason it remains astonishingly contemporary.

Praise for Apology of Culture:

Apology of Culture is a timely volume addressing the unity of theology and culture in the conditions of extreme secularization of all forms of life. The appeal to the Russian religious philosophical thought provides a fresh look at the place of humanity in the world where diminution of communities and alienating tendencies of technology become threatening factors of its stability. The volume complements sources on ‘Radical Orthodoxy’ by advancing the scope of modern critique of secularism, atheism, and nihilism.” — Alexei Nesteruk, Senior Research Lecturer, University of Portsmouth, UK

“Faced with the twin threat of moral relativism and secular nihilism, much of Christianity has become far too defensive and pietistic. To restore and renew Christendom, we need to re-enchant religious transcendence and recover the archaic western wisdom in a more culturally mediated and dispersed idiom. A more imaginatively ‘incultured’ faith can unite the patristic fusion of biblical revelation with Greco-Roman philosophy to the Romantic blending of high with popular and folk culture. These extraordinarily rich essays highlight the crucial contribution of Russian religious thought to such an orthodox yet generous Christian revival, in particular the integral unity of the person, the city and the cosmos; . . . mystical metaphysics combined with cosmic contemplation binds together nature with the supernatural and culture with faith.” — Adrian Pabst, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Kent, UK

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock |]


BBC Active access to Did Darwin Kill God?, by Conor Cunningham


BBC ACTIVE: Video for Learning: Bringing Education and Training to Life

Can Darwin and religion exist side by side?  Did Darwin Kill God? is a thought-provoking programme where Anglican Christian, philosopher and theologian Conor Cunningham explains why these two beliefs are not in conflict.

Richard Dawkins, famous for his book The God Delusion, believes there is an irreconcilable clash between the theory of evolution and a belief in God. But Conor thinks Dawkins is mistaken. He uncovers traditional Christian thinking about the creation of life, reveals how Christians were never expected to read the creation account in Genesis literally and discovers that Creationism is a modern invention.

Communicating his passion for the subject with rich visual metaphors in Did Darwin Kill God? and making complex ideas accessible, Conor shows how Darwin’s vision of the universe enhances our appreciation of a natural world that is full of wonder and stunning intelligibility – a vision of existence which neither leads to nor precludes either atheism or faith.

Another BBC TV programme for schools and education of both science, philosophy and religion

Click here to access and for more details.

(Note: access restricted in the USA & Canada. See the sidebar on the left here for more details.)


International Workshop on the Political-Theological Dimension in World Politics

[UPDATE: see the link below to download the full workshop programme]

International Relations as a Theo-Political Discourse?


hosted by
The School of International Relations, University of St Andrews
Convenors: Dr. Vassilios Paipais and Professor Nicholas Rengger

Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd May, 2015
Arts Lecture Theatre, Arts Faculty Building,
School of International Relations,
University of St Andrews

Download full programme here.

Opening Address:
Professor Nicholas Rengger, Head of School of IR

Keynote Address:
Professor John Milbank, University of Nottingham

Workshop participants:

  • Mick Dillon (Lancaster)
  • Will Bain (NUS)
  • Scott Thomas (Bath)
  • Mustapha Kamal Pasha (Aberystwyth)
  • Adrian Pabst (Kent)
  • William Cavanaugh (DePaul)
  • Caron Gentry (St Andrews)
  • Sean Molloy (Kent)
  • Ilias Papagiannopoulos (Piraeus)
  • Jodok Troy (Innsbruck)
  • Michael Hollerich (St Thomas)
  • Ian Hall (Griffith)
  • Luca Mavelli (Kent)
  • Richard Beardsworth (Aberystwyth)

Download full programme here.

For enquiries please contact:

Dr Vassilios Paipais

Attendance is free but please pre-register with Ms Hilary Waterston:


Workshop at the University of Nottingham: Re-reading Derrida’s Faith and Knowledge

Re-reading Derrida’s Faith and Knowledge

June 1-2nd 2015
University of Nottingham

A Northern Theory School and Department of Theology and Religious Studies Workshop at the University of Nottingham

In his enigmatic 1994 essay ‘Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of “Religion” within the Limits of Reason Alone’, Jacques Derrida explores the troubled place of religion in late modernity. If Derrida’s essay largely precedes the ‘post-secular turn’ in contemporary thought, it anticipates many of post-secularism’s defining concerns and questions: secularisation, ‘globalatinzation’, religious fundamentalism, the ‘religion’ of technological modernity, violence, terror.

This workshop will be the first ever event dedicated to exploring the implications of Derrida’s landmark essay 20 years after its original publication. What is the significance of Derrida’s essay? How do his reflections upon religion anticipate, deepen or question the turn to religion in figures like Habermas or Taylor? To what extent might Derrida’s essay serve as a point of departure to explore the past, present and future of philosophy of religion?

Details for call of papers available at

Please contact Agata Bielik-Robson [] for further information.


Now available: Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics, edited by Ian Geary & Adrian Pabst

Now available: Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics, edited by Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst (I.B.Tauris; published 28 Feb. 2015; 288pp+).

[Purchase: |]


In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, and the worst recession for over seventy years, Britain has witnessed one of the most turbulent eras in politics since the Second World War. The dominant political and capitalistic system has come under close scrutiny; and the 2008 financial crash has cast serious doubt on the economic and social liberalism of both Thatcherism and Blairism. The Blue Labour movement addresses the fact that neither nationalisation nor privatisation has delivered lasting prosperity or stability. Critiquing the dominance in Britain of a social-cultural liberalism associated with the left and a free-market liberalism linked to the right, Blue Labour blends a ‘progressive’ commitment to greater economic equality with a more ‘conservative’ disposition emphasising personal loyalty, family, community and locality. Seeking to move beyond the centrist pragmatism of Blair and Cameron, this essential work speaks to the needs of diverse people and communities across the country. It is the manifesto of a vital new force in politics: one that could define the thinking of the next generation and beyond.

Praise for Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics:

‘Something went horribly wrong with British politics in the 1990s. The modernisers drained the meaning out of political engagement by focusing on strategy and presentation rather than substance. As a result all British political parties are now facing mortal crisis. This book on ‘Blue Labour’ is the most thoughtful attempt yet to help Ed Miliband devise an answer to a conundrum which no twenty-first century politician has yet been able to solve.’ — Peter Oborne, Chief Political Commentator, Daily Telegraph

‘Anyone looking for an antidote to the stale and stultifying brand of liberalism which has dominated British political discourse for far too long will find a refreshing and thought-provoking alternative in the contributions to this timely volume.’ — Mark Garnett, Senior Lecturer in British Politics, Lancaster University

‘Blue Labour ably exposes the deficiencies of neo-liberalism and offers an inviting political agenda based on a “moral economy of mutual obligations”. With neo-liberalism discredited by predatory banking, and socialism by the collapse of the planned economies, the paths back to a “moral economy” are well worth exploring. They are not the property of any political party, but will be of special interest to Labour supporters trying to develop an alternative narrative to that of the free market and the centralized state.’ — Robert Skidelsky, FBA, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick

‘The “Blue Labour” movement has emerged as one of the most influential and controversial innovations of the British Left in a generation. Rooted in a deep reading of Labour history and culture, it offers a compelling critique of the Blair and Brown governments and offers a potential route to renewal – revisiting the past so as better to face the challenges of the future.’ — Rafael Behr, Political Columnist, Guardian

‘Blue Labour isn’t, to me, about that rather glib little triad, Faith, Flag and Family. It’s an attempt to reconnect the Labour Party with the very people it was set up to protect and represent. And to devise modern and imaginative policies so that this reconnection might be best achieved.’ — Rod Liddle, Associate Editor, Spectator

‘In calling for a post-liberal politics of the left, Blue Labour advocates have put themselves in a very mixed company. Watching them seek out a virtuous path through the ambiguous legacies of nation, religion, family and other conservative themes is both fascinating and instructive, challenging the presuppositions of any reader.’ — Colin Crouch, FBA, Emeritus Professor of Governance and Public Management, University of Warwick

[Purchase: |]


Theology Network: Prof Anthony Thiselton on the Transforming Power of the Bible

The Theology Network Nottingham is hosting an event next week with a talk given by Anthony Thiselton on the subject of the transforming power of the Bible. Professor Thiselton is a world renowned expert in the field of hermeneutics and it would be a great opportunity to hear him give a lecture.

If you are interested then join our Facebook event and come along on the 11 March 2015 to Trent Building LG6, University Park Campus, 7.30-9pm


CBET Workshop: The Post-mortem Treatment of the Body as an Ethical, Theological and Biblical Task

The Centre for Bible, Ethics, and Theology (CBET) will be holding the University of Nottingham’s Department of Theology & Religious Studies’ 2nd workshop day on Saturday (7th March) on “The Post-mortem Treatment of the Body as an Ethical, Theological and Biblical Task.” See the programme below, and further details can be found at:

Workshop 2: 7 March 2015 – Programme

  • 9am – Arrival and refreshments
  • 9.20am – Welcome Prof Roland Deines (Co-Director, CBET)
  • 9.30-11am – Prof Andreas Merkt and Dr Martina Hartl (University of Ratisbonne): The Body of the Martyr: Theological, Anthropological and Political Functions of Corporeal Relics in Late Antiquity
  • 11-11.30am – Refreshments
  • 11.30am–12.45pm – Jackie Lymn Rose, Funeral director (A W Lymn The Family Funeral Service): Care of Deceased from Death to Funeral
  • 12.45-1.30pm – Lunch
  • 1.30-2.45pm – Dr Frances Knight (University of Nottingham): “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust” – A Church Historian’s Reflections on Christian Attitudes to Modern Cremation in the West
  • 2.45-3pm – Refreshments
  • 3-4.15pm – Prof Matthias Morgenstern (University of Tübingen):Burying a Jewish Body: The Problematic Nature of Autopsies According to Jewish Law

New from Thomas John Hastings: Seeing All Things Whole: The Scientific Mysticism and Art of Kagawa Toyohiko (1888-1960)

New from Thomas John Hastings: Seeing All Things Whole: The Scientific Mysticism and Art of Kagawa Toyohiko (1888-1960), with a foreword by J. Wentzel van Huyssteen (Wipf & Stock; 272pp+).

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock | |]

Publication description:

KAGAWA TOYOHIKO was one of the best-known evangelists and social reformers of the twentieth century. Founder of several religious, educational, social welfare, medical, financial, labor, and agricultural cooperatives, he was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature (1947 and 1948) and four times for the Nobel Peace Prize (1954, 1955, 1956, and 1960).

Appealing to the masses who had little knowledge of Christianity, Kagawa believed that a positive interpretation of nature was a key missiological issue in Japan. He reasoned that a faith, which is rooted in the “downward movement” of Christ’s incarnation, must support the scientific quest and meditate on the purpose or “upward movement” implicit in scientific findings. rough an anti-reductionist methodological pluralism that strives to “see all things whole,” this “scientific mystic” employed a wide range of Japanese and Western cultural resources to assert a complementary role for science and religion in modern society.

Praise for Seeing All Things Whole:

“Focusing on Kagawa’s scientific interest and its impact upon his thought, Hastings shows the famous Japanese Christian mystic, novelist, and political activist to have offered a prophetic vision of cosmic wholeness to a tragically divided modern world. In so doing, Hastings reclaims Kagawa’s vision for our own troubled time.” — ANN ASTELL, Professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

“This is is truly an excellent intellectual biography of a Japanese Christian who declares ‘My religion is the life with the consciousness reconciled to the Creator of Heaven and earth in the mediation of Jesus Christ.’ His unrestricted movement between science and religion is to be expected, because he sees all dimensions of life artfully interpenetrating each other within the arcs of evolutionary history and redemptive love.” — INAGAKI HISAKAZU, Professor of Philosophy, Tokyo Christian University, Japan

“Hastings offers a lucid intellectual biography of this great, controversial Japanese evangelist and social reformer. In a pluralistic and scientific age of Interstellar and quantum entanglement, Kagawa comes alive again in this volume and gives us a breathtaking glimpse of how all things hold together in Christ.” —PAUL LOUIS METZGER, Professor of Christian theology and theology of Culture, Multnomah University

“Drawing extensively on Japanese sources and scholarship, Seeing All Things Whole provides an insightful intellectual genealogy and analysis of Kagawa’s thought and vision of the spiritual, social, and natural worlds. While this study explicates the relationship between Kagawa’s mystical experience and his understanding of modern science, it also provides readers with a deeper understanding of his involvement in a wide range of ‘cosmic repair’ activities—relief work in the slums and various forms of social and political engagement, for example—which occupied him to the end of his life.” — MARK R. MULLINS, Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Download and distribute the flyer for Seeing All Things Whole here [PDF]

Also available in the Veritas series: Cosmic Purpose, by Kagawa Toyohiko.

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock | |]


New from Ric Machuga: Three Theological Mistakes: How to Correct Enlightenment Assumptions about God, Miracles, and Free Will

New Title from Ric Machuga: Three Theological Mistakes: How to Correct Enlightenment Assumptions about God, Miracles, and Free Will (Cascade Books / Wipf & Stock; published January 5, 2015; 294pp+).

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock | |]

Publication description:

Though the Enlightenment was responsible for much that is fine, just, and good, it also promoted three bad ideas: mechanism, universal quantification, and mono-causation. Mechanism is the claim that physical causes always have predictable effects fully determined by the laws of nature. This led to the assumption that the laws of cause and effect are logically clear and mathematically precise. So we must, as Galileo advised, “Measure everything, and that which you cannot, measure it anyway.” Finally, since causal relations are always clear and precise they must be exclusive—if something is physically caused, then it was not caused by God, and conversely, if something is caused by God, then it cannot be physically caused. This sort of mono-causation produced a rigid natural/supernatural divide and the search for an “empirically detectable” God.

These three assumptions are demonstrably false, both philosophically and scientifically. In their place I articulate and defend three good ideas found in Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth:

  • Not all causes are mechanistic.
  • All quantities are ultimately qualities.
  • Full understanding requires dual-causation.

Then I consider Christ’s promise that “if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” This kind of freedom comes from without and is wholly the product of God’s grace.

Of course, many will reject this sort of freedom because it eliminates human autonomy. And without human autonomy, they say, the problem of evil is greatly exacerbated. No longer can it be argued that most pain and suffering is the result of the bad choices that we make.

But this is not the position of Aquinas and Barth. They understand evil as a privation. It is the uncreated “impossible possibility” that cannot be explained; it can only be redeemed. And when evil is redeemed, those who have suffered evil will bear no grudge, while we who have done evil (which includes everyone) will turn our eyes to Christ and joyfully sing, “Oh happy fault that merited such a great redeemer!”

Ric Machuga has taught philosophy and in the Honor Program at Butte College for thirty-five years. He is the author of In Defense of the Soul (2002), Life, the Universe, and Everything (2011), and numerous pieces for Books & Culture.

Download a flyer here which includes an interview with the author [PDF].

[Purchase: Wipf & Stock | |]


Expanded CFP: Ecofeminist Intersections and New Voices in Ecofeminist Activism

This is an updated and expanded CFP from the previous post here.

Chapter proposals are invited for two new book projects, Ecofeminist Intersections and New Voices in Ecofeminist Activism, due by March 1, 2015. Both books explore 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 theology, literary criticism, history, philosophy, women’s studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, geography, and political science. Current doctoral students are especially encouraged to submit proposals for New Voices in Ecofeminist Activism, though all proposals will be considered for both books.

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.

The editor of Ecofeminist Intersections and New Voices in Ecofeminist Activism, 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).

Ecofeminist Intersections and New Voices in Ecofeminist Activism 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” and “New Voices in Ecofeminist Activism” will explore the variety of ecofeminisms that have developed since d’Eaubonne coined the word “ecofeminism” in 1974.


Leuven Encounters in Systematic Theology conference: The Letter and the Spirit: On the Forgotten Documents of Vatican II

Logo mit Bild - HQ

From October 26 – 29, 2015, The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven will convene the 10th biennial meeting of the Leuven Encounters in Systematic Theology (LEST X) conference, titled:

The Letter and the Spirit: On the Forgotten Documents of Vatican II

The conference will explore the reception of the Second Vatican Council in our time and the history of its effects. Specialists from the domains of fundamental and systematic theology, mission and religion, journalism and education, including Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (Archbishop of Manila), will discuss the programme of the Council and the degree to which it has been realized. The conference will also feature a special discussion panel comprised of media experts and reporters.

A Call For Papers has been announced for those who wish to submit presentation proposals related to the conference subject. Scholars are welcome to deliver papers of 20 minutes on all topics related to the theme of the conference. All contributors are invited to make a special effort to relate their insights to the way in which the Second Vatican Council, especially by its less prominent documents, has had and is still having an impact on the life of the Church from a theological viewpoint. A whole day will be reserved for doctorandi and recent PhDs on Monday, October 26, 2015. In addition, doctoral students and recent PhDs whose topics are directly related to the conference theme will be given the chance to speak in a special parallel paper session reserved for junior scholars during the senior scholars’ papers sessions. The deadline for all submissions is March 15, 2015.

The working language of the conference is English but papers can be presented in French and German as well. Scholars who are planning to present in French or German should also send an abstract in English.

The full Conference Statement and Call For Papers form can be found at To request further information, contact


Now available: The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics, by Michael Martin

Now available from Angelico Press: The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics, by Michael Martin, with a foreword by Adrian Pabst (Angelico Press; Published 10 February 2015; 246pp+).

In The Submerged Reality, Michael Martin challenges us to reimagine theology, philosophy, and poetics through the lens of sophiology. Sophiology, as this book shows, is not a rogue theology, but a way of perceiving that which shines through the cosmos: a way that can return metaphysics to postmodern thought and facilitate a (re)union of religion, science, and art.

[Purchase: |]


“This is a brave, powerful, and intensely fascinating book that will certainly prove controversial. The notion of the divine Wisdom, Sophia, has always proved contentious in theology, but has remained persistent. For Michael Martin, it is essentially a poetic intuition, challenging our ways of perception and understanding. Exploring writers left in the shadows by conventional theology, he taps sources from which theology and the life of the Church could find renewal.” — ANDREW LOUTH, author of The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition andIntroducing Eastern Orthodox Theology

“In The Submerged Reality, Michael Martin suggests why a radicalized orthodoxy in the future will need more to ‘walk on the wild side’ and appropriate what is best in the esoteric, occult, and even gnostic traditions. He intimates that the past failure to do this is linked to a one-sidedly masculine theology, downgrading the sacrality of life, immanence, fertility, and the ‘active receptivity’ of the feminine. The consequence of this has been the perverse liberal attempt to distill ‘order out of disorder,’ or the denial of real essences, relations, gender difference, and the objective existence of all things as beautiful. Finally, Martin argues that such a genuinely feminist theology would also be concerned with a space between the openly empirical observation of nature on the one hand, and the reflective exposition of divine historical revelation on the other. In this space, continuously new poetic realities are shaped and emerge under the guidance of holy inspiring wisdom.” — JOHN MILBANK, author of Theology and Social Theory and Beyond Secular Order

“This is a very clearly written and lively work of Catholic apologetics. Professors would be well advised to assign it as a text for undergraduate courses in theology. The Submerged Reality could win the hearts and minds of contemporary young people for Christian belief.” — FRANCESCA ARAN MURPHY, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

“Sophiology as participatory metaphysics shows us how Christian thought has not always been sufficiently Trinitarian and personalist, and how Christianity gradually split into multiple denominational chapels as a result. It further shows how the modern division between faith and reason must be supplemented by symbolic and eschatological thinking, and how thought centered on the Wisdom of God allows us to find new ways of dialogue between the monotheistic and cosmocentric spheres of human civilization. It is the great merit of Michael Martin’s work to open our eyes to such awareness. This is a very daring book, written with great erudition, and one that delivers the best of Christian thought, both East and West, in modern times.” — ANTOINE ARJAKOVSKY, Research Director, Collège des Bernardins, Paris

“Sophiology is best understood, not as a ‘doctrine,’ but as a way of seeing and feeling the deepest mystery of reality. In this wide-ranging and exhilarating book, Michael Martin gives us the most important theological apologia for the contemplation of divine Sophia since the great Russian Sophiologists of the last century. Drawing on the Russian genius of Vladimir Soloviev and Sergius Bulgakov, Martin’s meditation on Sophia ranges across the contributions of figures such as Jacob Boehme and Rudolf Steiner, Edith Stein and Pavel Florensky, Hans Urs von Balthasar and John Milbank. In so doing, he weaves a rich tapestry that illumines how a deeper gaze toward the feminine figure of Sophia begins to yield a more adequate response to the crisis of post-modern secular culture.” — AARON RICHES, Instituto de Teología Lumen Gentium / Instituto de Filosofía Edith Stein, Granada, Spain

[Purchase: |]


Jon Hoover: “How to read the medieval scholar the Islamic State used to justify al-Kasasbeh murder”

Jon Hoover, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham has written the following analysis of Islamic State’s use of Ibn Taymiyya in the Moaz al-Kasasbeh video: How to read the medieval scholar the Islamic State used to justify al-Kasasbeh murder


Darwin’s Pious Idea On Sale at Amazon

Conor Cunningham’s Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get It Wrong is currently on sale at for $7.98. Click here to purchase.

Earlier praise for Darwin’s Pious Idea:

“Despite its length, Darwin’s Pious Idea is a very readable book, engaging and often acerbically witty. It has some serious and original things to say about what always threatens to turn into a sterile debate between rather fictionalized and trivialized versions of science and religion. . . . The sheer exuberance of the presentation is a delight. . . . Certainly the most interesting and invigorating book on the science-religion frontier that I have encountered.” — Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, Times Literary Supplement

“Writing with engaging humor that betrays an extraordinary energetic intelligence, Conor Cunningham shows us why, given the Christian God, an evolutionary account of life is necessary. . . . This theological account of creation, I believe, will become a classic.” — Stanley Hauerwas

“This book attempts to connect the debate about the nature of Darwinian evolution to the Christian theology of creation. . . . Cunningham shows that the picture of God as the great Designer of artifacts, espoused by Paley and common to both ultra-Darwinians and Creationists, is profoundly at odds with Christianity.” — Charles Taylor, McGill University, author of A Secular Age

“This is an excellent book! Very well informed and written in an accessible style, it will be easily understood by lay readers, especially thanks to the beautiful, simple examples, stories, and quotations that Cunningham employs. In addition, his interpretation of genetic science is faultless. I learned a great deal from this book!” — Michel Morange, Center for the Study of the History of Science, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris

Click here to purchase.


New book in the Veritas series: Sacramental Presence after Heidegger: Onto-Theology, Sacraments, and the Mother’s Smile

Newly available from the Centre of Theology and Philosophy’s Veritas series: Sacramental Presence after Heidegger: Onto-theology, Sacraments, and the Mother’s Smile, by Conor Sweeney.

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Book description:

Theology after Heidegger must take into account history and language as constitutive elements in the pursuit of meaning. Quite often, this prompts a hurried flight from metaphysics to an embrace of an absence at the center of Christian narrativity. In this book, Conor Sweeney explores the “postmodern” critique of presence in the context of sacramental theology, engaging the thought of Louis-Marie Chauvet and Lieven Boeve. Chauvet is an influential postmodern theologian whose critique of the perceived onto-theological constitution of presence in traditional sacramental theology has made big waves, while Boeve is part of a more recent generation of theologians who even more wholeheartedly embrace postmodern consequences for theology.

Sweeney considers the extent to which postmodernism a la Heidegger upsets the hermeneutics of sacramentality, asking whether this requires us to renounce the search for a presence that by definition transcends us. Against both the fetishization of presence and absence, Sweeney argues that metaphysics has a properly sacramental basis, and that it is only through this reality that the dialectic of presence and absence can be transcended. The case is made for the full but restless signification of the mother’s smile as the paradigm for genuine sacramental presence.


“Conor Sweeney’s is a welcome new voice in the burgeoning choir of theologians returning to metaphysics. Carefully critiquing postmodern Heideggerian approaches to sacramental presence, he invites us to recognize the sacraments’ transcendent love in the mother’s smile. With this evocative use of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Sweeney sets us on the right path: an approach to sacramentality that moves beyond the flat horizons of language and time.” —Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Canada

“This work will be immensely valuable for those who teach sacramental theology with reference to the Trinitarian Christocentrism embedded in the magisterial teachings of the post-Conciliar era. Sweeney is critical of both the Baroque scholastic temptation (offering the world a metaphysics devoid of the encounter with Christ) and the postmodern temptation (concluding we can’t say anything definite about anything.) Instead he suggests we reimagine sacramental presence according to the perspective of the nuptial mystery.” — Tracey Rowland, Permanent Fellow in Political Philosophy and Continental Theology, John Paul II Institute, Melbourne, Australia

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Lumen Christi Institute: 2015 Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

The Lumen Christi Institute is pleased to announce the 2015 Summer Seminars in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Now in its seventh year, these seminars are open to Ph.D. students in the humanities, social sciences, and other relevant areas of study. Room, board, and a travel stipend will be included for those whose applications are accepted. Each seminar will include 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. The goal of each seminar is twofold: first, to enable participants to gain mastery over the material under discussion, both for teaching and research purposes; and second, to deepen participants’ understanding and awareness of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Metaphysics and the Soul in Thomas Aquinas
June 19-24, 2015
Hosted by the School of Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross
Prof. Stephen L. Brock, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

The Thought of John Henry Newman
July 12-17, 2015
Merton College, University of Oxford
Prof. Ian Ker, University of Oxford

Catholic Social Thought: A Critical Investigation
August 2-7, 2015
University of California, Berkeley
Prof. Russell Hittinger, University of Tulsa


For more information, see the Summer Seminars website here.


Notable: The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Politics, by Nicolas Laos

Now available: The Metaphysics of World Order: A Synthesis of Philosophy, Theology, and Politics, by Nicolas Laos (Pickwick/Wipf & Stock; Published January 19th, 2015; 244+ pp).

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In this book, Nicolas Laos studies the meaning of the terms “world” and “order,” the moral dimensions of each world order model, and wider issues of meaning and interpretation generated by humanity’s attempt to live in a meaningful world and to find the logos of the beings and things in the world. The aim of this book is to propose a unified theory of world order (i.e., a theory that combines philosophy, theology, and political theory). In this context, the author provides a thought-provoking (re)interpretation of classical philosophy (placing particular emphasis on Platonism), an in-depth inquiry into medieval philosophy and spirituality (placing particular emphasis on the cultural differences between the Greek East and the Latino-Frankish West), and an intellectually challenging review and evaluation of modern Western philosophy (including Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Husserl, and Heidegger) and of Nietzsche’s and the postmodernists’ revolt against modernity. He then elucidates the philosophical foundations and “pedigree” of each of the three basic political theories of modernity (i.e., Liberalism, Communism, and Fascism), and he studies the basic theoretical debates in International Relations, Geopolitics, and Noopolitics. Finally, Laos proposes a new, “fourth,” political theory which he calls “metaphysical republicanism.”

Endorsements & Reviews

“Nicolas Laos’s The Metaphysics of World Order not only summarizes, evaluates, and extends a very powerful literature in philosophy, theology, and political theory, but also it is a creative and substantial contribution to political philosophy and world order studies. It is a masterful interdisciplinary research work and it is clearly and engagingly written from beginning to end.” — Evanghelos Moutsopoulos, Research Center for Greek Philosophy, Academy of Athens, Athens, Greece

“Nicolas Laos is an outstanding scholar. His book, The Metaphysics of World Order, is a masterpiece. The author’s vision is to combine philosophy, theology, and political theory in order to propose a unified theory of world order. Anyone interested in international and political studies must read the book!” — John M. Nomikos, Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS), Athens, Greece

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Download and distribute a flyer for The Metaphysics of World Order here.


Nihilism and Metaphysics: The Third Voyage, by Vittorio Possenti

Nihilism and Metaphysics: The Third Voyage, by Vittorio Possenti, translated by Daniel B. Gallagher, with a foreword by Brian Schroeder (SUNY; Published: January 2, 2015; 424+ pp).

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Book description:

Challenging the idea that nihilism has supplanted metaphysics, Vittorio Possenti finds in this philosophical turn the grounds for a mature renewal of metaphysics. Possenti takes the reader on a “third voyage” that goes beyond the “second voyage” indicated by Plato in the Phaedo. He traces the ascendancy of nihilism in philosophy, offering critical examinations of Nietzsche, Gentile, Heidegger, Habermas, Husserl, Gadamer, Ricoeur, and Vattimo. With penetrating accounts of philosophical movements such as hermeneutics and logical empiricism, rich with both historical and theoretical insights, Possenti provides a compelling defense of the power of human reason to apprehend the most obvious but also the most profound aspect of things: that they exist. By exploring the ubiquity of nihilism and probing its philosophical roots, Possenti clears the way for a fresh reformulation of metaphysics.

Brief author biography of Vittorio Possenti (taken from here with translation assistance provided by Damian Bacich):

During the years of his high school and university education, Vittorio Possenti was attracted to the history of civilizations, which was inspired by his youthful readings of Giambattista Vico and Arnold Toynbee as well as an epistemology of physics and the general logic of scientific theories (Albert Einstein, Percy Williams Bridgman). He absorbed Einstein’s idea that philosophical theories should be built upon a straightforward, generalized scientific basis, and became interested in the conflict between religion and science that centered on the idea of an Absolute personal / impersonal distinction. When he was twenty, Possenti discovered the application of metaphysical and humanist thought through the works of Jacques Maritain and Thomas Aquinas, and he sensed the speculative and liberating possibilities that are to be found within in the Christian revelation. Possenti was influenced by the philosophy of being, the tradition of personalism, and the school of cognitive realism, which are based on the idea that philosophy is not “lunar” knowledge, that is, a knowledge that lives as ‘reflected’ light and without a specific object, but instead is a knowledge that has its own access to the real where its structure is eminently knowable. Participation in civil and theological debates of the sixties revealed certain political horizons, including that of peace, while a permanent interest has oriented Possenti toward the interplay between the Christian message and moral and civil. The study of several predominant philosophies from Aristotle to Kant, Schelling to Nietzsche, Heidegger to Bergson, and by Giovanni Gentile to Karl Popper, has enabled a comparison with different positions and enriched Possenti’s overall approach.

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(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

Recent Posts

Spanish translation of Conor Cunningham’s Darwin’s Pious Idea now available: La piadosa idea de Darwin
March 11, 2015
Edited collection newly available: Apology of Culture: Religion and Culture in Russian Thought
March 12, 2015
BBC Active access to Did Darwin Kill God?, by Conor Cunningham
March 12, 2015
International Workshop on the Political-Theological Dimension in World Politics
March 11, 2015
Workshop at the University of Nottingham: Re-reading Derrida’s Faith and Knowledge
March 11, 2015
Now available: Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics, edited by Ian Geary & Adrian Pabst
March 10, 2015
Theology Network: Prof Anthony Thiselton on the Transforming Power of the Bible
March 6, 2015
CBET Workshop: The Post-mortem Treatment of the Body as an Ethical, Theological and Biblical Task
March 4, 2015
New from Thomas John Hastings: Seeing All Things Whole: The Scientific Mysticism and Art of Kagawa Toyohiko (1888-1960)
March 3, 2015
New from Ric Machuga: Three Theological Mistakes: How to Correct Enlightenment Assumptions about God, Miracles, and Free Will
March 3, 2015

(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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