The Use and Abuse of History for Theology and Ethics

The Use and Abuse of History for Theology and Ethics: Mining the Past for Present Norms

University of Notre Dame and University of Chicago Fifth Annual Joint Graduate Student Conference

March 29-30, 2019, Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)

In grounding normative statements, we often – some would say, we must – refer to the past. The ethical question, What should we do? is never far removed the historical question, What happened? This conference seeks to address the necessity and fragility of historical grounds for theological and ethical norms. How can we responsibly engage historical texts or voices without allowing our ethical commitments to distort that history? How can we at the same time ensure that our historical research meets our ethical standards and is conscientious of the uses and abuses to which it might be put? To what extent does or ought our own historical context determine our norms? These will be the guiding questions of our conference.


Cosponsored by the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, the Divinity Students Association, the Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion, and the Lumen Christi Institute.

Persons with a disability who need an accomodation to attend this event, please call Suzanne Riggle in advance at 773-702-8219.