07 July 2010

CONF: "Politics and Religion" in the Early Church

Sixth International Triennial Conference "Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church: Politics and Religion" of the Centre for Early Christian Studies of the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and the Asia-Pacific Early Christian Studies Society, ACU Melbourne campus, 7-10 July 2010


This conference features a panel on "Political Theology" (Session 3 C, 9 July, 11.00 am-12.45 pm) with the following papers:

Satoshi Toda (Hitotsubashi University), "'Political Theology' of Eusebius of Caesarea: A Reappraisal"

Abstract: "It seems that the so-called 'political theology' of Eusebius, a subject of much dispute, has greatly contributed to distort the image of this bishop-scholar. I discussed the matter in some detail at the annual APECSS conference held in Sendai last September, but in view of the ever-increasing scholarly literature on the subject (especially works related to the period of Constantine the Great), more discussion seems necessary. Briefly summarising the discussion made in my previous paper, I will try to show that Eusebius has nothing to do with the so-called 'political theology', and how we should understand Eusebius' position in the church history of the time. Furthermore I will discuss some materials which were not properly covered in my previous paper."

Shigeki Tsuchihashi (Chuo University), "The Trinity and Political Metaphor in Gregory Nazianzen's Theological Oration 29.2"

Abstract: "His Theological Oration 29.2 [sic], Gregory Nazianzen classifies opinions about the deity into three groups, using political metaphor: atheism-anarchy, polytheism-polyarchy, monotheism-monarchy. What he values among them is monarchy, not defined as the sovereignty of a single person but the single rule produced by equality of nature. In that case, however, how could we understand the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity without self-discordance (stasis). In this paper I will pursue that problem focusing attention on Gregory's emphasis upon the economy of salvation (oikonomia)."

Naoki Kamimura (Tokyo Gakugei University), "The exercitatio animi of Augustine in the City of God"

Abstract: "In his most comprehensive work, the City of God (413-427), Augustine expounds the destined beginning, progress, and end of the 'two cities' into which all humanity is divided: one is the earthly and the other the heavenly. In the first part of the work, he attempts to refute the 'false teaching' of pagan religious practices and ideas, and enters into a discussion of the philosophers proclaiming the usefulness of the cult of the gods (Books 8-10). It seems noteworthy that not only does he admire the 'entire effort of philosophy' made first by Socrates as the 'correction and regulation of morals' (City of God 8.3) but also emphasises the spiritual exercises (exercitatio animi) as overcoming the limits of Platonists' philosophical reflections. In this paper, I shall consider these seemingly similar types of training and discipline, thereby examining the significance of his critical assessment of pagan thought from the viewpoint of the division of all humanity in the City of God."

Further information (full programme, how to register, etc.) is to be found on the above website.

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