The 2014 Karl Barth Conference: Barth, Jews, & Judaism

barth conference facebook cover photo

Princeton Theological Seminary is hosting their annual Karl Barth Conference on June 15–18. This year’s theme is ‘Karl Barth, Jews, & Judaism’, and the plenary speakers are:

  • Victoria Barnett (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
  • Eberhard Busch (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
  • Ellen Charry  (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • George Hunsinger (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • Mark Lindsay (MCD University of Divinity)
  • David Novak (University of Toronto)
  • Peter Ochs (University of Virginia)

For the first time, there’s also a call for papers on the theme. Further details on that here.

You can also follow related news and theo-gossip via twitter.

Living Amid the Principalities: Pro Ecclesia Annual Conference for Clergy and Laity

Brueghel-tower-of-babelThe Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology are sponsoring the 2014 Pro Ecclesia Annual Conference for Clergy and Laity. It will be held at Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland between 9–14 June.

The promo reads:

“We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness.” So Paul warns his Ephesian readers to put on the “whole armor of God” and be ready for struggle with the world. And yet Paul also says that these principalities and powers were created in and for Christ (Col. 1:16), have now been disarmed (Col 2:15), and cannot separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38). What are the principalities and powers of our time in politics, technology, culture, economy, and religion? How do we understand them as created, fallen, and disarmed? How does the Christian today engage these powers? The 2014 conference of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology will take up this theme. Presentations will represent a variety of traditions: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant.

Further details are promised in due course here. In the meantime, queries can be directed towards Michael Root.

It sounds like a great conference, and a great opportunity too to do some work with dear Uncle Stringfellow, among others.

The Future of Sacrifice: Evolution, Gender and Spirituality?: A conference with Sarah Coakley, Eugene Rogers, et al.

tansa conference flyer

Symposium on Theology, Spirituality and Cancer

Theology, Spirituality and CancerThe School of Theology at The University of Auckland, and Laidlaw College, are organising a Theology, Spirituality and Cancer symposium, an ‘interdisciplinary meeting exploring dialogue between theological (including biblical), religious, philosophical, spiritual, healthcare and pastoral arenas’. The symposium, which will be held on 20-21 February 2014 at the University of Auckland (City Campus), is aimed at academics and practitioners, including religious ministers, chaplains, counsellors and healthcare practitioners in related areas, and will ‘address issues such as theodicy, cancer therapies, end of life care, pastoral issues, and insights a theological, religious or spiritual perspective can bring to an understanding of all aspects of cancer’. More information, including the Call for Papers, is available here.

Ageing and Spirituality conference

Aging-5The Selwyn Centre for Ageing and Spirituality is organising a one-day conference to ‘hear New Zealand researchers and others with an academic interest in the area speak about ageing and spirituality’.

Dates:  6 September 2013, 9.30 am – 4 pm

Place:   Tamaki Campus – University of Auckland, 261 Morrin Rd, St Johns, Auckland

The conference is concerned with the following topics:

• Spirituality and ageing: a discussion from a principle-based, evidence-informed and zeitgeist-based approach
• Spirituality teaching in NZ medical schools
• Spirituality in a Dunedin rest home
• The church and older people after the Christchurch earthquakes
• Older people and euthanasia
• Religious and spiritual data from the LILAC study
• The role of religion/spirituality in mental health and mental health care – general findings and data and literature relevant to the older adult participants
• Caregiving across cultures
• Grief and loss in caregivers of people with dementia
• The role of caregivers and their interaction with rest home residents, particularly noting their preparedness to respond to needs of a spiritual nature
•  Spirituality in residential dementia care

More information here.

Some forthcoming conferences


Our Only Comfort: The Heidelberg Catechism at 450 Years

18-21 July, 2013. Heidelberg, Germany. The Heidelberg Conference on Reformed Theology seeks to bring together Reformed believers from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and elsewhere. Details.

Holy Trinity – Holy People

26-27 July, 2013. Sydney, Australia. We encourage scholars from a broad range of disciplines to submit paper proposals on aspects of the Wesleyan doctrine of Christian Perfection, especially in relationship to the doctrine of the Trinity. Details.

Addressing the Sacred through Literature and the Arts

2-3 August, 2013. Strathfield, Australia. The conference will address acts of creation and co-creation and encourage a dialogue between artists, scholars and audiences in a mutual exploration of the sacred. Details.

Virtues, Vices, and Teaching

3-5 October, 2013. Grand Rapids, USA. The purpose of this conference is to explore the implications of a focus on virtues and vices for the way Christian teaching and learning are approached. Discussions of virtues and vices direct our attention away from rules and consequences and toward the role of character. Details.

International Conference on the Council of Trent

4-6 December, 2013. Leuven, Belgium. This conference will first shed light on the Tridentine theology and perspective on pastoral care, as the consequence of both the internal struggle to bring about reform within the Catholic Church and the controversy with Protestant Reformation. Along the same lines, attention will be paid to initiatives subsequently taken by Rome in order to interpret and implement the Council, while at the same time giving shape to the Catholic identity, in confrontation with the Protestant confessions. Further, the conference focuses on three key questions: What kind of changes in the local religious life may be considered as the outcome of the Council? To what degree has the Council contributed, on a European level, to political polarization and confessionalisation? And finally, how were the Tridentine reforms implemented on a more global level, through mission and evangelization? In each of the above mentioned questions, special attention is given to the contribution of the religious orders, in addition to the interplay between the Catholic and the Protestant Reformation. It is the explicit aim of the conference to bring together junior and senior researchers from different disciplines and confessional backgrounds. Details.

Arts, Portraits and Representation in the Reformation Era

15-17 May, 2014. Bologna, Italy. This conference will attend to the theme of how the arts were used to represent power, theological and political standpoints and cultural changes during the Reformation. Details.

International Congress on Calvin Research

August 24-28, 2014. Zürich, Switzerland. The 11th international Congress on Calvin Research will take place hosted by the Institute for Swiss Reformation Studies at the Theological Faculty of the University of Zürich. Details.

Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa

28 June – 1 July 2016. Nairobi, Kenya. For better or worse, much ink has been used to write about their animosity, especially in the European context. While this important historical chapter will be explored in other venues, the international conference in Nairobi aims to re-examine the encounters between the Jesuits and the Protestants and their respective traditions in the context of Africa. The conference is organized by the Committee for the Study of Religion at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. Details.

Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Asia

9-11 November, 2016. Macau, China. This conference aims to re-examine the encounters between the Jesuits and the Protestants and their respective traditions in the context of Asia. Details.

Two conferences to note

AquinasThe department of theology at Durham University is hosting a one-day colloquium (13 June) on Ecumenical Readings of Aquinas. It will include presentations by Andrew Davison, Christopher Insole, Marcus Plested and Lewis Ayres. Details here.

The Australian Catholic University is organising a conference titled ‘Addressing the Sacred through Literature and the Arts’ (2-3 August). The conference will aim to ‘address acts of creation and co-creation and encourage a dialogue between artists, scholars and audiences in a mutual exploration of the sacred’. Keynote speakers are Amanda Lohrey, Kevin Hart and Rosemary Crumlin. Details here.

For details about other theology conferences, visit here.

Calvinism and Law: a conference

Calvinism LawThe International Reformed Theological Institute (ITRI), an affiliate member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, is organising its tenth International Conference. It will take place between 2–7 July 2013 in the picturesque town of Sárospatak in Hungary. The theme will be Calvinism and Law – a relationship with a long history, and with no shortage of contemporary relevance. They have also issued a call for papers. These, and relevant questions about the conference, can be emailed to Albert Nijboer before April 20. More information is available here.

Please note too that a listing of other forthcoming theological conferences is available here.

Martyn Percy in Dunedin

percy martynThe Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago is to host Martyn Percy for two public talks on Monday 15 April:

(i) Prof Percy will be giving the fourth Abbey College Prestige Lecture, in collaboration with the Centre, at 5.30 pm in Archway 3 Lecture Theatre in Dunedin. The title of the lecture is: Salvation and Soil: Some Challenges for Churches in Contemporary Culture.

(ii) And earlier, from 12.30-1.30 pm, he will be in conversation with Centre Director, Andrew Bradstock, in the University’s AV Studio (Owheo Building, 133 Union Street East, Dunedin). You are welcome to attend in person or watch on-line. If you plan to attend in person, you will need to reserve your seat either by e-mail or phone (+64 3 471 6458).

Conference on the doctrine of the Trinity

Henri Matisse - La DanseSt Mary’s College (University of St Andrews) is hosting what promises to be a very stimulating one-day conference on the doctrine of the Trinity. Here are the details:

Date: 30 April, 2013

Time: 9.30am – 5.30pm

Where: Parliament Hall, South Street, St Andrews

Cost: Free (but must email to register)


Classical Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity:

  • Professor Paul D. Molnar, St John’s University, New York
  • Dr. Stephen R. Holmes, The University of St Andrews

Relational Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity:

  • Professor Paul S. Fiddes, University of Oxford
  • Dr. Thomas H. McCall, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Conference flyer is available here.

To register for this conference, or for more information, contact Jason Sexton.

Theology, Disability, and the People of God: a conference

This looks like it’ll be a wonderful and worthwhile gig, and I’ll certainly be doing all within my powers to be there:

Disability Conf call for papers_Page_1Disability Conf call for papers_Page_2

The Los Angeles Theology Conference

Zondervan Academic – which is part of the Murdoch empire – are partnering with Biola University and Fuller Theological Seminary to launch the annual Los Angeles Theology Conference. The inaugural gathering will take place January 17–18, 2013 on the Biola University campus, and will explore the dangerous and disruptive theme – Christology, Ancient and Modern: Explorations in Constructive Theology.

The impressive band of speakers includes Oliver Crisp, George Hunsinger, Peter Leithart, Katherine Sonderegger and Alan Torrance.

More information about paper proposals and registration is available here.

Rutherford Waddell Conference

The University of Otago’s Centre for Theology and Public Issues is planning a one-day conference to celebrate the life, work and legacy of the inspirational Christian minister, social reformer and visionary Rutherford Waddell. Here’s the flyer:

I can still remember my first exposure to Waddell’s writing. It was his delightful collection of essays published as The Fiddles of God and Other Essays. One of those ‘other essays’ was entitled ‘The Lure of the Trout’; this title alone was enough to make me fall in love with the guy. Now it’s true that I’ve fallen in love many times before (and almost as easily out of it again) but I can confess that my affection for him has continued to grow (perhaps I’m still falling) the more I have immersed myself in his exquisite prose – fed as it is by healthy doses of John Ruskin, Emily Brontë, George Eliot and James Lane Allen – and the more I have learnt about his extraordinary ministry right here in my home town of Dunedin. James Gibb once described Waddell as a man who ‘lived under the spell of Christ’. It’s a good description. Suffice it to say that I’m really looking forward to this gig.

For those readers of PCaL unfamiliar with Waddell, here’s the relevant entry, written by Ian Breward, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography:

Rutherford Waddell was born in Ballyroney, County Down, Ireland, probably sometime between 1850 and 1852. His father was the Reverend Hugh Waddell, a Presbyterian minister; his mother, Jean Reid, was the sister of Thomas Mayne Reid, a famous writer of adventure stories. Rutherford’s mother died when he was small and he was brought up by an aunt. He was educated at a national school where the teacher was brutal; Waddell regarded the years as wasted. At the age of 14 he became a draper’s apprentice in Banbridge for four years, after which he decided to follow the calling of his father and older brother, Hugh, in the ministry. He graduated MA from Queen’s University in Ireland in October 1875 and also studied at the Presbyterian Theological College, Belfast, from 1874 to 1876. On 27 January 1877, at Dublin, he married Kathleen Maud Ashton Newman. They were to have one daughter, Muriel Alice Newman, who was born on 28 April 1882.

Rejected both for missionary service in Syria and by an Irish congregation, Waddell accepted an invitation to join the ministry of the Canterbury Presbyterian Church Extension Association. He sailed with his young wife to Lyttelton, New Zealand, on the Piako, arriving in May 1877. After a short supply ministry at St Paul’s Church in Christchurch, he was inducted to the charge of Prebbleton and Lincoln on 25 September 1877. Called to the flourishing new charge of St Andrew’s Church in Walker Street (Carroll Street), Dunedin, Waddell was inducted on 18 April 1879 to minister to about 300 members, including many of Dunedin’s leading citizens.

Suspect because of his radical belief that the Christian gospel should be actively interpreted through social justice, Waddell soon won the confidence of the congregation and exercised wide influence through his writing and commitment to civic affairs. In 1888 he was one of the founders of the Dunedin and Suburban Reserves Conservation Society and in 1888 and 1889 an early supporter of technical education. In the parish at the Walker Street mission hall, which opened in 1888, he set up a savings bank, a free library and the first free kindergarten (1889). He also developed a wide range of literary, religious and educational societies, along with a cricket club, gymnasium, and debating and mutual improvement societies. Waddell was deeply committed to overseas missions; the congregation supported three missionaries as well as providing a spiritual home for many students for the ministry.

Waddell was well read. His knowledge of classic and contemporary English literature went with wide reading in theology, economics and sociology, all carefully recorded in notebooks. In his student days he was decisively influenced by reading George Eliot’s Adam Bede. Young and old found his sensitivity to their doubts and questions one of the most attractive features of his ministry. He was deeply compassionate, but was not content just to offer help in his own parish. Reading in politics and social science convinced him that social change was possible, but with this went the conviction that changed laws must be accompanied by changed lives.

Waddell played a leading part in exposing sweated labour in Dunedin (he himself had worked long hours for nothing as a draper’s apprentice in Banbridge). In October 1888 he delivered a sermon at St Andrew’s Church on the ‘sin of cheapness’, arguing that a lust for bargains was forcing prices down to a point where wages fell below subsistence level. In November he took the matter to the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Otago and Southland and a motion was passed deploring the existence of sweating in New Zealand. The press took up the matter and revealed cases of sweating in Dunedin. His blend of prophetic passion and skilful use of the press and public meetings led in 1890 to a royal commission on sweating on which he served. Its recommendations were an important part of the foundation for the social legislation of the 1890s. Waddell believed that trade unions were an essential part of reform: he became the first president of the Tailoresses’ Union of New Zealand from 11 July 1889. He was also actively involved in temperance reform, the Bible in schools movement and was one of the main supporters of the First Offenders’ Probation Act 1886, a pioneering penal reform.

As well as being a notable minister and social reformer, Waddell was an active journalist and editor of the national Presbyterian weekly, the Christian Outlook (later called the Outlook), from 1894 to 1902. Forced by a breakdown in health to give up that responsibility, he continued to write elegant and thought-provoking columns for the Evening Star under the name ‘Ror’ for 27 years. His other notable achievement was to initiate the deaconess order in the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. In March 1901 Sister Christabel Duncan, one of the first to graduate from the Presbyterian Deaconess Institute in Melbourne, began her duties among the poor in St Andrew’s parish. Her stipend for the first year was paid by Waddell, but the caution of the deacons was overcome by the end of the year and they became her enthusiastic supporters. In addition, Christabel Duncan was actively involved in the expansion of the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union, working as travelling secretary for two years from 1918.

Lightly built and with a slight speech impediment, Waddell became one of the country’s most notable preachers, whose sermons were published in their thousands. He pushed himself to his physical limits and had to take sick leave in 1882, 1886, 1902 and 1913. The last years of his ministry were hampered by severe deafness. He retired in 1919, after a remarkable career. Kathleen Waddell became a chronic invalid and died in Seacliff Mental Hospital on 7 September 1920.

Rutherford Waddell married Christabel Duncan at Melbourne on 3 December 1923. He stayed intellectually vital during his last years; in 1929 he was first president of a fellowship of New Zealand writers. Despite illness he continued to hunt, fish and enjoy golf. He died in Dunedin on 16 April 1932, survived by his wife. Waddell was an important liberalising influence in the Presbyterian church, demonstrating that it was possible to be evangelical and missionary without being rigidly tied to the confessionalism of a strong group in the Synod.

Music and Theology in the European Reformations

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is planning to host a ‘Music and Theology in the European Reformations’ conference on 19–21 September 2012 at which theologians, historians, biblical scholars and musicologists will come together to consider the relationship between music and theology during the sixteenth century with a particular emphasis on the question of reformation in all its forms (Lutheran, Calvinist, Catholic, and Radical).

More information is available here, and short paper proposals can be submitted via here before 15 May.

Theatrical Theology: Conversations on Performing the Faith

The Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts (University of St Andrews) is hosting a conference on the theme Theatrical Theology: Conversations on Performing the Faith, held in St Andrews on 15-17 August 2012. Here’s the blurb:

Influenced and inspired by Hans Urs von Balthasar’s seminal work in The Theo-Drama, a growing number of contemporary scholars in various theological disciplines are discovering the potential for interdisciplinary conversation between theology and theatre. From a theological perspective, there are several reasons why drama and theatre present themselves as particularly fitting conversation partners, including the inherently dramatic form of God’s revelation in word and deed, the role of Scripture as a text which invites performance rather than passivity, faithful action as both the goal and means of theological understanding, the public and communal nature of theology, and the indeterminacy, provisionality, and ‘improvised’ nature of the theological task. For its part, theatre has always been compelled to acknowledge a debt to its ancient and longstanding entanglements with religious and theological perspectives, and may have much to gain from the process of revisiting and responding to these, not least in their present-day Christian form.

The task of pursuing a serious and constructive interdisciplinary exchange between theatre and theology, however, is one that has only just begun. Furthermore, suspicions persist in some theological quarters regarding the value of interdisciplinary approaches to theology as such, and towards theatre in particular which, among the arts, has experienced a particularly volatile relationship with the Church across the centuries. In response to all of this, Theatrical Theology: Conversations on Performing the Faith will seek to demonstrate the fruitfulness for constructive Christian theology and theatre alike of pursuing the conversation further, tracing some of the advances that have already been made, and identifying new challenges and opportunities still to be reckoned with as the interaction continues and develops further.

Our plenary speakers are among those whose work has already embarked upon the conversation between theology and theatre, including Shannon Craigo-Snell (Louisville Seminary), David Cunningham (Hope College), Jim Fodor (Bonaventure) Timothy Gorringe (Exeter), and Ivan Khovacs (Canterbury Christ Church). In addition to these plenary presentations, there will be several short paper sessions on the conference theme. Furthermore, it is expected that the conference programme will include conversations with theatre practitioners and a specially staged theatrical performance.

Short papers proposals are invited on the conference theme, including the following topics:

      • Theatrical models and metaphors in Christian theology
      • Character formation for life and the stage
      • Ethics, improvisation, and performative wisdom
      • Christian practices and theatrical skills
      • Scripture as dramatic text
      • Liturgy, worship, and performance
      • Theodramatic ecclesiology and company life
      • Mission and audience participation
      • Stage, place and contextual theology
      • Embodiment and performing the faith

Proposals should be for 20-minute papers to be followed by 10 minutes for questions. Please include in the proposal your name, institution, paper title, and abstract (not exceeding 200 words). Paper proposals will be considered immediately, and please send submissions by email to before the deadline 15 June, 2012. More information regarding conference proceedings and registration will be available soon at

‘To Mend the World’: conference and exhibition

I want to give the ‘To Mend the World’ conference and exhibition one final plug. The conference runs from 29–30 July, and the exhibition from 29 July through to 6 August. It really is shaping up to be a very exciting twin-project, with an impressive line-up of speakers and artists. Registration for the conference has exceeded expectation, and is still open if you’re keen to attend.

Dunedin to host two theology conferences

There can be little doubt that the 5-month delay of the parousia (until 21 October) is principally so that Dunedin – the global centre for theology, semi-decent coffee, and steep streets – can serve as host to two planned theological conferences.

The first, from July 29–30, is a conference on theology and art titled ‘To Mend the World’. The keynote speaker will be Professor Bill Dyrness from Fuller Theological Seminary and the conference will include an exhibition on the conference theme at the Temple Gallery, and a special screening of ‘The Insatiable Moon’ followed by discussion with the writer Mike Riddell. Further details here.

The second conference, to be held from September 2–3, will offer a Christian response to the phenomenon of  ‘The New Atheism’ as represented by writers like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. This conference, ‘The New Atheism: A Christian Response’, will be jointly hosted by the Faraday Institute at Cambridge University and the University of Otago. Further details here.

To Mend the World: a confluence of theology and the arts

The sixteenth-century Jewish mystic, Isaac Luria, made much of the notion of tikkun olam, a phrase which we might translate as ‘to mend the world’. Luria believed that the Creator of all things, in deciding to create a world, drew in – contracted – the divine breath in order to make room for the creation coming into being. In this enlarged space, the Creator then set vessels and poured into them the radiance of the divine light. But the light was too brilliant for the vessels, causing them to shatter and scatter widely. Since then, the vocation given to human person has consisted of picking up and to trying to mend or refashion the shards of creation.

Tikkun olam is also the theme of a conference and exhibition that I’m involved in organising, and which will take place in Dunedin this July. It is shaping up to be a very exciting twin-project, with an impressive line-up of speakers and artists. Registration for the conference has exceeded expectation for this stage so far out from the date, is still open, and there’s still some time to get in on the ‘early-bird’ rate.

Conference on The Bible and Baptists

The Australasian Baptist Research Forum, in conjunction with Whitley College, Melbourne, is organising a conference for 27–29 June, 2011 on the theme The Bible and Baptists: Readers, Teachers and Preachers. Here’s the official lowdown:

2011 is the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Authorised Version of the Bible.  Such an anniversary provides an excellent opportunity for reflection on the place of the Bible among Baptists.  How have we and do we interact with the text of the Bible as ‘lay’ readers, professional teachers and preachers?  Papers are invited that explore this theme historically, theologically and pastorally, or provide examples of how Baptists are currently undertaking any or all of these tasks.  The audience at the Forum will hopefully include not only those engaged in theological study, teaching and ministry, but also thoughtful Christians ready to participate along side the ‘professionals’.

Keynote speakers will be Professor Sean Winter, graduate of Bristol Baptist College and Professor of New Testament at the Uniting Church Theological College, Parkville, Victoria; and Dr George Wieland lecturer in Biblical Studies, Mission and Cross-cultural Field Education at Carey Baptist Theological College, NZ.  We are also negotiating to have an academic from Asia present at the Forum.  It is proposed that a book of papers from the Forum will be published as the third ABRF publication.  Presentations at the Forum will be no more than 20 minutes long with 5 minutes question time.  Final papers should be no more than 5000 words including footnotes and written for thoughtful Christians.

A call for papers has also been issued:

Abstracts due: 15 April , 2011

Confirmation of Papers Accepted: 30 April , 2011

Final Papers Due: 3 June, 2011

For further information, or to submit abstracts, please contact Dr Graeme Chatfield (email or +61 02 92627890).


Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth: An Unofficial Protestant-Catholic Dialogue

The Center for Barth Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Thomistic Institute of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies, in cooperation with the Karl Barth Society of North America are organising what promises to be a wonderfully stimulating conference, to be held at Princeton. More information is available here.