Thursday 28 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.”


Anonymous said...


Do you happen to know if there will be MP3s or CDs from the conference available for those of us who can't make the pilgrimage to Rome?

Dave Belcher said...


I found it interesting that the person listed just before you on the Center's page, "Densil Morgan," is also working on a project that begins: "The Reception of Karl Barth's..."!

I am currently working -- as you might have suspected from our last correspondence -- on a piece on Karl Barth's doctrine of election, so I'm very interested in your research findings, and your project. We'll have to talk about this a bit in Rome I suspect.


There is not currently anything like this set up at the present time. My guess is that unless someone takes the initiative (and I'm of no help here because I don't have a microphone), you'll likely have to rely on written reports such as those that will be almost surely posted here by Ben, by me at my site, and others of course. There are quite a few "bloggers" who will be there (at least 4 or so to my knowledge, all of whom are fairly regular posters) so I'm sure there will be some good commentary out there available. Peace.

Eric Lee said...

I will be video-taping at least the plenaries in Rome (and potentially more depending on how much tape we have). We then will edit them soon after and post them online!

David Williamson said...

Have a brilliant time in Rome and Princeton!

If you're looking for a great place to have lunch in Rome, swing by Trattoria Otello, just by the Spanish Steps on Via Della Croce. It is food cooked and served with joy.

I do hope you put up the MP3 of your talk. What an event! All the best with the move, too.

mike d said...

It seems as if I remember Peter Van Inwagen included on the earlier fliers. If I'm right its a shame he couldn't make it - given the subject matter it would have been useful to have a philosopher of the quality of Van Inwagen there. Not that Charles Taliaferro won't do a fine job.

Anonymous said...

Have a great time at the conference, Ben, and in Princeton, with safe journeys.

Anonymous said...

"unfortunately" - yeah, you said that with such sincerity!

Dave Belcher said...

Mike D,

It seems that there were a lot of changes...if you look at the first poster that was released and the most recent one, there are quite a few differences: no more Zizek, Remi Brague, van Inwagen, David Bentley Hart, EJ Lowe, etc.; and added are Steve Fuller, Tracey Rowland, etc. I think this is just the nature of a conference this big and one that takes place in....Rome.

mike d said...

Thanks Dave - I figured it was something like that. I had forgotten that Zizek was also on that early poster. Looks like a great lineup nevertheless. Looking forward to the reports from the conference.

byron smith said...

See you there Ben (and others).

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