Theological Reflection & The Pursuit of Ideals

May 8-10, 2011

Contemporary thought is marked by heated debates about the character, purpose, and form of religious thinking and its relation to a range of ideals: spiritual, moral, aesthetic, political, and ecological (to name just a few). This conference addresses the interrelation between theological thinking, that is, thinking about God, and the complex and diverse realm of human ideals. What are the ideals appropriate to our moment in human history, and how do these ideals derive from or relate to theological reflection in our time? Internationally renowned thinkers from a range of disciplines (physics, art, literary studies, ethics, comparative religion, history of ideas, and theology) engage versions of this question for the sake of articulating a new account of theological reflection and the pursuit of ideals for our global times.

All lectures are open to the public and held at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago


Thomas Altizer, Syracuse University
Pamela Anderson, Oxford University 
Maria Antonaccio, Bucknell University
Daniel Boscaljon, University of Iowa 
Hans Breder, The University of Iowa
Forrest Clingerman, Ohio Northern University 
Andrew Hass, Stirling University
David Jasper, University of Glasgow 
William Klink, University of Iowa
Julia Lamm, Georgetown University 
William Schweiker, University of Chicago
Brent Sockness, Stanford University 
Gianni Vattimo, University of Turin
Glen Whitehouse, Florida Gulf Coast University 
Dale Wright, Occidental College


Sunday, May 8, 2011 
SESSION I: Chair, William Schweiker

1:00pm-2:00pm: Gianni Vattimo, “Philosophy of Religion and the New Europe” 
2:15pm-3:15pm: Thomas Altizer, “The Mystery of Catholicism” 
3:30am-4:30pm: Pamela Anderson "Searching for the Heart of Gold:" An Ideal-limit and "the Concrete Core of the 'Fear of Death'" 
5:00pm-6:30pm: Public Reception

Monday, May 9, 2011 
SESSION II: Chair, Maria Antonaccio

9:00am-9:40am: David Jasper, “Poetry and the Sacred” 
9:40am-10:20am: Daniel Boscaljon, “Dwelling Theologically” 
10:30am-11:10am: Julia Lamm, “A Theology of Grace as Socio-Political Critique: Julian of Norwich on Divine Lordship, Divine Motherhood.” 
11:10am-11:50am: Hans Breder, “Geklemmt: Between Science and Spirituality”


SESSION III: Chair, Dale Wright

2:00pm-2:40pm: Brent Sockness, “Theological Reflection and the Pursuit of Ideals in the Constructive Ethics of Ernst Troeltsch” 
2:40pm -3:20pm: Glen Whitehouse, “Tending the Garden of Humanism in a Naturalist Environment: Integrity and the Question of Sustainability” 
3:30pm-4:10pm: Forrest Clingerman “ Imagination, Fallibility and the Human Limits: Reflections on Ian McEwan's Solar and Theological Methods of Climate Change” 
4:10pm-4:50pm: Maria Antonaccio, “Spiritual Integrity as Ideal and as Consolation” 
6:00pm-- Dinner for Speakers

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 
SESSION IV: Chair, David Jasper

9:00am-9:40am: Andrew Hass, “Hegel Beyond the Ideal of Idealism” 
9:40am-10:20am: William Klink, "Freedom and Matter" 
10:30am-11:10am: W Dale Wright, "Historical Consciousness and Freedom" 
11:10am-11:50am: William Schweiker, “The Call of Conscience”