(International Congress of the European Society for Catholic Theology | August 28 - August 31, 2019 | Bratislava, Slovakia)
In our times hope is called into question. The disintegration of economic systems, of states and societies, families, friendships, distrust in political structures, forces us to ask if hope has disappeared from the experience of today's men and women. In an aging Europe where euthanasia is becoming a more acceptable prospect, what could hope mean? If we have a hope only for this present life, can we still have hope in any meaningful sense after death? Scepticism about the project of a united Europe also invite us to reflect on what is the hope of a common Europe. Multiple conflicts among members of different religions, force us to think about whether we can believe in mutual co-existence. What is the hope of Christians who are persecuted in some countries? What is the hope of an immigrant, who comes and believes in a better future? Does youth have faith in the Church? Does the Church have faith in youth? Education is also closely linked with hope for a better future. How can we cooperate with others in the process of education and training? Human life and relationships are built on trust and hope. Hope is one of the basic attitudes of biblical men and women, and thus one of the pillars of Christian theology.
Hope is an important part not only of human society but also of human experience itself. Hope generally refers to meaning - it is related to the meaning of what is happening or what we expect to be happening, but a meaning that we do not yet possess, which is partly unknown, mysterious. It is our basic choice in which we interpret the last meaning of our existence. Therefore, while we may speak as believers in hope as a theological virtue, it can also be found in the hearts of believers and non-believers. Everyone has hope, but in what or in who do we place our hope?
All three monotheistic religions are essentially eschatological, and our hope is eschatological, not utopian. Hope is the universal quality of a dynamic human experience, which moves us forward to the eschatological future. We better understand a human person when we uncover the moment of hope in the dynamics of their motivation. By choosing the theme of hope and looking for that in which we put our hope, the Bratislava international congress does not only offer a theme, but it also offers a search for what connects us. It offers hope: for each and all, for the world and for the Church and for the religions. Significant world experts from several continents will present the concept of hope in an interdisciplinary perspective. The central axis of the plenary lectures will be supplemented with conference sections and workshops, which will provide a space for thinking about the central theme of hope in relation to philosophy, politics, pedagogy, social work, charity, interreligious dialogue and ecumenism.
The Problem with God: Christianity and Literature in Tension
(An International Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature)
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA - March 29-30, 2019
Explorations of the problem of God have not been confined to theology and philosophy alone, but have also been investigated in literary works. Numerous writers in the Western tradition, especially since the dawn of the Enlightenment period, have produced works of art that reveal religious tensions. Unlike philosophers and theologians, however, literary authors have often written about concrete problems literary characters experience with God.What’s more, literary works self-consciously wrestle with language in a way that can uniquely illuminate limits and generate possibilities for theological language. Countless writers from Goethe to Auden and from Dickinson to C. S. Lewis have investigated problems with the Christian God, doctrine, and practices. To this day, religious struggles have proven to be quite productive in literature.
World religions have long held pilgrimage as an important journey of the faithful. Today, however, there is an increasing number of non-religious, secular or spiritual pilgrims undertaking these journeys. The nearly 800 km-long Camino de Santiago is a popular destination for secular pilgrims travelling through France and across Northern Spain. Established as one of three principal Christian pilgrimage routes over 1,200 years ago, the Camino is experiencing increasing visitor numbers with over 300,000 undertaking the journey each year. The Camino's increased popularity has led to the emergence of a variety of cultural texts including film and narrative that reflect upon the pilgrimage. These works serve as an interpretive lens through which one can explore the internal and external journey of contemporary pilgrims. What desires motivate the secular pilgrim to undertake the Camino? How do contemporary pilgrims express their experiences of the journey? Has the route taken on a new meaning or function in the 21st century?
The editor of a proposed volume on the above topic requests original, unpublished manuscripts for a collection tentatively entitled El Camino de Santiago: Pilgrimage in Contemporary Culture. The proposed book will focus on contemporary cultural texts depicting the pilgrim's journey along the Camino de Santiago that specifically reflect upon and help to define the purpose of pilgrimage in the modern world. Manuscripts must be written in English however submissions based on non-English language texts are welcome.
Please send a brief (350-500 word) abstract by February 1, 2019. Successful submissions will be based on coherence with the overall volume and a novel perspective. Submitters will be notified of acceptance by March 15, 2019. Completed manuscripts must be submitted by June 30, 2019.
Symbols are especially tied to Religion. All religions, one way or another, contain a wide variety of symbols such us figures, ceremonies and rituals, temples, sacred sites, myths and historical accounts, among many others. They are the vehicle of the transcendence manifestation, so that their meaning never run out. Either because they look for expressing a transcending truth, or because anthropological reasons, the fact is that a great majority of these symbols overlap in meaning and conformation. Religious symbols’ meaning, their interreligious coincidences and the influences and mutual relationships are the special focus of this conference, both in the concrete symbolism of a specific religious context and compared symbolism, or symbolism of the absence of transcendence, as well as the significance and impact in the forming of social imagery and political symbolism. In our current societies we should take into consideration the influence of these universal religious symbols, certainly regarding their differences, but mainly in their analogies and common truths that they do convey about human life, sense and existence.
The topic comprises all topics related to the digitization of biblical and theological studies, from theoretical or epistemological thoughts to the presentation of digital projects. For this special issue, we encourage contributions that consider the history of biblical studies or systematic theology, and explain that ways in which the transition to the digital media will (or will not) affect the definition and the practices of these disciplines. We also encourage systematic contributions that deal with new digital challenges such as serendipity vs teleology, or intent of the users vs intentio auctoris or operis, or artificial intelligence vs divine providence. Finally, we encourage contributions that focus on Bible and digital media, particularly digital storytelling and multimedia biblical narratives.