Friday, 29 August 2008

On Barth and Rome

Unfortunately, posting here will continue to be sporadic over the next week or two. I’m now en route to Rome for the Grandeur of Reason conference, and then I’ll be settling into Princeton for the rest of the year, where I’ll be working at the Center of Theological Inquiry.

The (terrifyingly massive) program for the Rome conference is finally available for download [104 KB]. My own paper on Rowan Williams is at 11.15 Tuesday morning; and F&T guest-blogger Scott Stephens also has a paper on Milbank and Žižek at 9.00 the same morning. There’ll be loads of good stuff, including a closing plenary by Giorgio Agamben. And I’m especially looking forward to this Wednesday afternoon all-star session on politics and theology:

  • Oliver O’Donovan, “Deliberation, Reflection and Responsibility”
  • Stanley Hauerwas, “A Worldly Church: Politics, Theology and the Common Good”
  • John Milbank, “Transcendence and the Scope of Reason”
Meanwhile, be sure to check out Rudy Koshar’s excellent article, “Where Is Karl Barth in Modern European History?”, in the latest issue of Modern Intellectual History. Koshar observes that Barth’s political thought remained “inassimilable to any particular ideology,” and that his “prohibitions on idolatry made up an important part of a developing repertoire of antitotalitarian politics.” Koshar suggests that this anti-totalitarian, anti-idolatry politics “might be applied not only to the classical political ideologies …, but also to the more general phenomenon of the ‘sacralization of politics’, or even to the recent ‘identitarian’ movements, which have acted so corrosively in so many ways.”

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