International Conference at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi
29-31 May 2015 in Delphi, Greece
Ontology and History:
A Challenging and Auspicious Dialogue for Philosophy and Theology
This conference will attempt to explore the relationship between ontology and history in the context of both philosophical enquiry and Christian theology. Ontology is the study of being qua being, a field that is typically viewed as distinguishable from––if not also antithetical to––history. However, while the study of being (insofar as it exists) and history may seem unrelated, there is either an explicit or implicit interaction between the two in a number of philosophical traditions; when not explicitly articulated, this implicit interaction emerges as a philosophical problem. And while this is particularly true for various forms of philosophical idealism (e.g. German idealism) and the historicisation of idealism, it emerges as a core problem in the context of Christian theology and its eschatological promise. If the true state of being and beings resides in an eschatological future, not in the present or a distant past (as masterfully expounded by Maximus the Confessor), and if this true state of being and beings is yet to be witnessed, then temporality in general and history in particular become a vital part of ontology proper. This bears immense implications for the philosophical enquiry into ecclesial witness.
Apart from this, a reoccurring challenge within Christianity concerns how we are to make past events present. Rudolf Bultmann tried to make sense of this by elevating word over event. In so doing he formulated an ‘existentialised’ eschatology in which the focus is on the immediate. In current biblical studies there is strong emphasis on making sense of the Resurrection through history, and history is given priority over confession. As a result the ecumenical creeds are denigrated and metaphysical clarification risks being perceived as anti-biblical. In both Catholicism and Orthodoxy there are various construals of anamnesis in which the historical event is made present as a kingdom event through the liturgical experience of the Eucharist. In line with the desire to understand the relationship of the ‘once’ and the ‘always’, there is the challenge of making sense of the particular and the universal. Karl Rahner conflates them: the particular is the universal. Or stepping back in time with Origen, there is the temptation to universalise the particular with salvation. How best can one reconcile the continuity of salvation history and the radical (interruptive) newness of Christ? Political theology, which grew out of a particular account of eschatology, raises the joint concern of how our social histories are legitimated by moral and theological insights about the nature and destiny of the human person. Clearly, the relationship between ontology and history has immense wide-ranging philosophical and theological implications.
- John Panteleimon Manoussakis (Associate Professor of Philosophy – College of the Holy Cross, Boston MA)
- Alan J. Torrance (Professor of Systematic Theology – University of St Andrews)
- Christos Yannaras (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy – Panteion University, Athens)
- Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon (Academy of Athens)
Dr Sotiris Mitralexis (Freie Universität Berlin)
Andrew TJ Kaethler (University of St Andrews)
CALL FOR PAPERS
We welcome short paper proposals (presentation duration: 20 minutes) on all areas addressed in the conference’s general description and/or in the thematic workshops’ abstracts. Prospective participants can EITHER submit an abstract for a short paper addressing a subject pertaining to the general theme of the conference for a non-thematic session OR submit an abstract for a short paper to be included in one of the following thematic workshops/panels. If your paper is aimed at a specific workshop, please do indicate the workshop’s title after your abstract. Each participant can present only one short paper, be it in a workshop panel or in a non-thematic panel.
All papers must be presented in English. Please send us the title and a short abstract of your paper (200-400 words) in English, along with a short CV, via e-mail to ontologyandhistory [.at.] gmail.com. The deadline for abstract submissions is Sunday, 15 February 2015. You will be informed concerning the acceptance of your paper on Wednesday, February 18 2015, and you will be asked to submit the registration fee via bank transfer or PayPal.
The full registration fee is 200€ and the student registration fee is 120€. Upon registering, please send us your (1) full name with title, (2) institutional affiliation, (3) e-mail, (4) cellphone number and (5) postal address to ontologyandhistory [.at.] gmail.com with the subject “Registration” by no later than Sunday, 22 February 2015. Subsequently, you will be provided with information concerning the bank transfer of the registration fee.
The registration fee covers registration, hotel accommodation in Delphi for two nights (29-31 May 2015), one dinner (29 May) and one lunch (30 May), bus transport to and from Athens, the coffee breaks throughout the conference, as well as conference material.
The conference’s venue is the European Cultural Centre of Delphi in Delphi, Greece. Accommodation for 29-31 May 2015 is provided through the registration fee for participants, while a bus transfer from and to Athens will be made available.
ontologyandhistory [.at.] gmail.com