01 April 2010

CONF: Canadian Theological Society annual meeting

Annual Meeting of the Canadian Theological Society (CTS), at Concordia University, Molson School of Business, 1450 Rue Guy, Montréal, Canada, 31 May-2 June 2010


Two one-hour slots in the parallel sessions at this small conference are reserved for papers on political theology:

Andrew Atkinson (Wilfred Laurier University), "Carl Schmitt and the Political Theology of HBO: John Adams and Rome as Sites of Discourse on De-differentiated Secularism and the Relationship between Violence and Law" (1 June, 9.15-10.10 am, MB 3-430)

From the abstract: "Since Six Feet Under began airing in 2001, HBO has consistently marketed programming that integrates left wing ideals with various religious traditions. [...] The star-studded miniseries, John Adams, and the raucous reinvention of the sword and sandal genre, Rome, are both productions that complicate HBO's ideological stance and aesthetic. These two shows delve head-long into theo-political concepts that are usually monopolized by conservatives, such as the friend-enemy distinction, the small and powerful state, and the exceptions permitted to the sovereign. These concepts find a common focus in the writings of Carl Schmitt [...]. Interest in Schmitt's concepts on TV has clearly been influenced by what Simon Critchley calls the 'Crypto-Schmittianism' of the Bush-Cheney years [...]. However, while Critchley uses this term derisively there are a great number on the left who actively endorse Schmitt's concepts even though they are grounded in his right-wing Catholic Christology [...]. This paper will seek to argue that the left-right commonality on violence and law is intimately associated with theological understandings the political [sic] [...]."

Kornel Zathureczky (University of Sudbury), "Critical Political Theology in an Apocalyptic Key: A Reception of the Work of Jacob Taubes"
(1 June, 1.45-2.40 pm, MB 3-435)

Abstract: "Jacob Taubes' last lecture on 'The Political Theology of Paul' offered a significant opening to help to reconsider – as a phenomenon imbued with the tensions that exists before a an [sic] ultimate separation – the central figure of Christian history from the perspective of the tradition of Jewish messianism. Taubes' other recently translated works, 'Occidental Eschatology' and 'From Cult to Culture,' generated an added impetus to revisit this hidden core of Christianity. Essential in this enterprise is a reconsideration of the enduring significance of comic [sic] Gnostic dualism for a better understanding of what is at stake with the, often suppressed and marginalised, apocalyptic dimension of Christianity and how by [sic] retrieving this dimension may serve to construe a critical political theology in what many, including Taubes, consider as a post-Christian stage in history, an epoch that corresponds to Joachim of Fiore's 'ecclesia spiritualis.' The paper's purpose is thus two-fold: First, it offers a critical reception of the thought of Taubes, one that evaluates his contribution to the genealogy of political theologies. Second, it proposes to draw up the outlines of a contemporary political theology in an apocalyptic key. Here, the recent work of Žižek and Milbank on the apocalyptic substrate of God's kenosis in Christ serves as a vital conversation partner to further the development of a new political theology in a post-political global bio-polis."

Also of interest: Timothy Harvie (St. Mary's University College), "Public Hope in Dialogue: The Debate Between Moltmann and Ratzinger as a Means to Public Theology" (1 June, 10.15-11.10 am, MB 3-435)

From the abstract: "In 2008, eminent theologian of hope, Jürgen Moltmann, published a critical response to Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Spe salvi. This paper will analyze the main contours of Moltmann's argument in light of a summary of the theological contents of the relevant papal encyclical and highlight the ongoing debate between Moltmann's public theology and Joseph Ratzinger. [...] By outlining Moltmann's eshcatological [sic] and ethical theology of hope this paper will analyze the ad hoc engagement with Catholic theologians which Moltmann employs throughout his writings. The paper will call several of these readings into question utilizing encyclicals from the Catholic social tradition and documents from the Second Vatican Council complimented by the doctrine of hope outlined by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae (IIaIIae.17-22). This intersection between Moltmann and the Roman Catholic Church on the ethical relevance of theological doctrines raises pertinent issues regarding the potential for an eschatologically informed public theology to be a potential avenue of viable theological dialogue between traditions through a coherent and ecclesiologically informed public ethic."

Further information (including how to register) is to be found on the above website.

The CTS annual meeting is part of the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, an annual event in Canada that brings together thousands of scholars under the aegis of more than seventy associations from various disciplines.

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