Event details

Date: January 27-29, 2022
Location: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Description

Whereas many contemporary universities originated from theological programs, over the past centuries the status of theology as a proper academic discipline has become heavily contested, to say the least. Among the many allegations levelled against theology is the idea that there is no progress in theology. The aim of this Winter Seminar is to investigate under which conditions, if any, theology can still function as an intellectually respectable player in the field of public academic studies. In particular, it zooms in on the notion of progress in theology. Is there any such progress? If not, is that a problem? If so, what shape does such progress take and are there ways in which theology might make more progress? The questions that this Winter Seminar’s speakers address are:

  • How can we best define the intellectual tasks of theology?
  • Does it count against theology if there is no progress in theology?
  • Are there important differences in progress between theology and the humanities on the one hand and the sciences on the other?
  • What sort of knowledge is being produced by theology and what kind of research methods enable such knowledge production?
  • Can the results of theological research be replicated and if so, how?
  • To what extent can progress in theology be facilitated by including the tools of analytical philosophy in its methodology?
  • What are the prospects of an ‘empirical turn’ in theology, as to be achieved e.g. by connecting theology with the cognitive science of religion?
  • How should a publicly funded theological department in a (post-)secular and multi-religious society ideally look like?
  • What can be gained from making the very concept of progress the subject of theological and philosophical criticism?

Speakers in this seminar have backgrounds in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of science, theology, and religious studies. University staff, students, PhD students, professionals in the field and others who are interested are warmly invited to attend this Seminar.

Program

The program will be published on this webpage when it is available. Confirmed speakers include:

Registration

Please send us an email or subscribe to our newsletter so we can inform you when registration opens for the Winter Seminar Progress in Theology 2022.

Call for papers

We invite contributions from theologians, scholars in religious studies, philosophy, and anyone else interested in progress in theology.

Please send a 500 word abstract to Samira van der Loo (via abrahamkuypercenter@vu.nl) by September 1st 2021. The abstract should be suitable for blind review. Questions can be sent to the same email address.  Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • How desirable is progress in theology?
  • Are there important differences in epistemic progress between theology and the humanities on the one hand and the sciences on the other – or even between theology and the (other) humanities?
  • Can the tools of analytical philosophy and its methodology facilitate progress in theology?
  • Should we aim at an ‘empirical turn’ in theology, as to be achieved e.g. by connecting theology with the cognitive science of religion?
  • What does the desideratum of progress mean for the future of theology?
  • Is replication a proper way for theology to make progress?
  • How should a publicly funded theological department in a (post-)secular and multi-religious society ideally look like?
  • How should the concept of progress be critically assessed from a theological or philosophical perspective?

Organising committee

This Winter Seminar is organised by:
Gijsbert van den Brink
Rik Peels
Jeroen de Ridder
René van Woudenberg
Samira van der Loo

Contact

For questions or more information, please contact:

Samira van der Loo
project manager Abraham Kuyper Center
@: s.vander.loo@vu.nl