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Past Events at CTMET

Seminar and book launch: Heidegger's Eschatology
Tuesday, 26th November 2013


This seminar on the occasion of the publication of Judith Wolfe's Heidegger's Eschatology. Theological Horizons in Martin Heidegger's Early Work (Oxford: OUP, 2013), and sponsored by St John's College Research Centre, featured the following panelists:
  • Werner Jeanrond
  • Stephen Mulhall
  • Thomas Sheehan
  • The author, Judith Wolfe


Book launch & discussion: Theology as Science in Nineteenth Century Germany | TORCH
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Part of the TORCH Book Series. A roundtable discussion introduced by Prof Graham Ward (Theology) with Dr Sondra Hausner (Modern Religion), Prof Michael Bentley (History and Philosophy of History) and Dr David Lincicum (New Testament Studies) to celebrate the publication of Johannes Zachhuber's Theology as Science in Nineteenth-Century Germany. From F.C. Baur to Ernst Troeltsch (Oxford: OUP, 2013).

The book describes the origin, development, and crisis of the German nineteenth-century project of theology as science. Its narrative is focused on the two predominant theological schools during this period, the Tubingen School and the Ritschl School. Their work emerges as a grand attempt to synthesize historical and systematic theology within the twin paradigms of historicism and German Idealism. Engaging in detail with the theological, historical and philosophical scholarship of the story's protagonists, Johannes Zachhuber reconstructs the basis of this scholarship as a deep belief in the eventual unity of human knowledge. This idealism clashed with the historicist principles underlying much of the scholars' actual research. The tension between these paradigms ran through the entire period and ultimately led to the disintegration of the project at the end of the century.

Bernd Irlenborn

Relativism and Christian Belief, Bernd Irlenborn
Wednesday, 20th November 2013

Abstract: Most philosophers and theologians would consider atheism as the main opponent of contemporary Christian belief, but there are reasons to question this view. Relativism, although less conspicuous than atheism, might be a far more challenging, even contagious opponent. The paper examines the philosophical concept of relativism and analyses its impact for Christian truth claims.

Prof Bernd Irlenborn is Chair for Philosophy of Religion, Catholic University of Paderborn and Visiting Associate, St John's College Research Centre.

Book Launch and Panel Discussion
Julia Meszaros and Johannes Zachhuber (eds), Sacrifice and Modern European Thought (Oxford: OUP, 2013).
8th November 2013

Featuring: Pamela Sue Anderson, Oliver Davies, Gavin Flood, Sondra Hausner, Julia Meszaros, Johannes Zachhuber, and Joel Rasmussen (Chair).

Furthermore, some short interviews (around 15 minutes each) have been recorded with authors of chapters. Please see http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/sacrifice-and-modern-thought

Martin Heidegger

Heidegger and Antiphilosophy
A lecture given by Prof Richard Wolin (CUNY)
7th June 2013

Was Heidegger an “antiphilosopher?” Was it his view, following Nietzsche, that the Western philosophical tradition, rather than setting us free in accordance with the Socratic maxim, “Virtue is knowledge,” further ensconces us in networks of domination and social control, as his critique of technology, “enframing” (das Gestell), and the ethos of Western humanism (in the 1947 “Letter on Humanism,” for example) might suggest? It would seem that the answer to this question hinges on how one interprets Heidegger’s reconceptualization of truth qua “unconcealment” and “disclosedness” – a revision of he ideal of truth that signifies a radical and possibly risky rejection of “propositional truth” in toto.

William James and the transatlantic conversation
Pragmatism, Pluralism & Philosophy of Religion
23—25th September 2010

This was an international conference to appraise the work and influence of American psychologist and philosopher William James (1842–1910) upon the centenary of his death. In his own time, James engaged and transformed a number of international conversations in science, philosophy, religion, literature and culture, not least through his 1901–2 Gifford Lectures in Edinburgh, and his Hibbert Lectures in Oxford in 1908. Subsequent to his death in 1910, interest in his work has only increased (often in connection with other ‘Pragmatists,’ or with his brother, the novelist Henry James, and his sister, the diarist Alice James). Given the historical vantage of a full century, 2010 marked an appropriate year for an international gathering of scholars from a range of disciplines to assess James’s work, to take stock of his multi-disciplinary reception across the twentieth century and around the globe, and to evaluate his legacy as a resource for twenty-first-century thought.

A conference of the Oxford Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought in collaboration with the Centre for American Studies, University of Leicester the British Association for American Studies and the ian ramsey centre for science and religion, oxford

Kierkegaard’s Upbuilding Discourses
International Conference in Modern European Thought
16–18 April, 2010

Speakers included: Christopher Barnett, Iben Damgaard, Arne Grøn, Helle Møller Jensen, George Pattison, Jolita Pons, David Possen, Hugh Pyper, Joel Rasmussen, Steven Shakespeare, Claudia Welz

The Oxford Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought, in connection with the Søren Kierkegaard Society of the UK, organised this international conference focusing on Kierkegaard’s Upbuilding Discourses. While often overlooked, the Upbuilding Discourses provide a rich ground for understanding Kierkegaard’s wider work, as well as his own identity. Furthermore, the Discourses offer a valuable contribution to a more general discussion of such issues as sin, love, suffering, salvation, and personal identity.

This was the first of three conferences on the discourses and focussed on the 18 Upbuilding Discourses of 1843–4 and the Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions. Further conferences considered the 1847 discourses (Århus 2010) and the last discourses (Copenhagen 2011).

Sacrifice and Modern Thought. A Series of Colloquia and Public Lectures in 2008/09
Michaelmas Term 2008 - Trinity Term 2009

See here for detail of the series of events, including links to some scripts and presentations.

The Political Dimension of Sacrifice. A Residential Conference
28—30 September 2009

Supported by Haniel Logo and the John Fell Fund.

This interdisciplinary conference was organised jointly by CTMET and the Research Programme on Religion, Politics, and Economics, Berlin.

It was devoted to recent changes in the perception of, and discourse about, sacrifice within the political realm. While still pervasive in many areas of modern life, talk about sacrifice has often been replaced by the related yet distinct categories of victimhood and victimization. Notably, the rhetoric of warfare has over the past half century shifted significantly from semantics of sacrifice towards that of victimhood.

As both terms, sacrifice and victim, have their origin in religious practice, their use in political discourse raises important questions about the relationship of religion and politics. To what extent can theological categories be helpful for understanding developments and debates that are largely taking place without explicit religious or theological references? What is the background of current perceptions of sacrifice and of victimhood in the religious history and the theological tradition of the West?

Such questions lead back to ethical and political issues that are of pressing relevance today. Can ‘sacrifices’ still be justified in political discourse and, if so, on which basis? For example, how can a case be made for the demand by the state of its citizens’ lives in extremis? Are there successful strategies for such an attempt on a secular basis, or does the political need for sacrifice necessitate a resacralisation of the political realm? Or, conversely, is there room for the utopia of an end of sacrifice, as some have suggested?

Speakers responded to these questions from the perspectives of Theology, Political Science, Law, Philosophy, and Anthropology.

Speakers and topics:
  • Blandine Chélini-Pont: Sacrifice in the political rhetoric of France and the United States. A comparative perspective
  • Karsten Fischer: Sacrifices and victims in contemporary political discourse. A paradigm shift and its significance
  • Eric Gans: Generative anthropology and sacrificial practice in politics
  • Douglas Hedley: Joseph de Maistre and 20th century debates about sacrifice. Some historical and theological links
  • Nils Ole Oermann: From ‘Sacrifrice’ to ‘Victim’ in the Nuclear Age. Albert Schweitzer as a Case Study
  • Marcia Pally: Sacrificing for the New Jerusalem or sacrificing for ‘the least of these.’ Changes in the religious dimension of American political discourse
  • Rolf Schieder: The failure of secular politics and the case for a civil religion
  • Walter Sparn: The political dimension of sacrifice.
    The ambiguous heritage of Christianity in theological and historical perspective
  • Arundhati Virmani: Self-sacrifice in politics: an Indian model?
  • Johannes Zachhuber: Why did Christ have to die?
    Some theological explanations since the 20th century and their political context



Martin Heidegger

Heidegger and Religion. A Series of Workshops in 2007/08
Michaelmas Term 2007 - Trinity Term 2008




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