The 17th Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society Lectures on Public Ethics: Christian Humanism and the Challenges of Moral Formation in "a world come of age".

Speaker(s): Barry Harvey, Brad Gregory, Charles Matthewes, David Goa, Jens Zimmermann, John Conway, Ralf Wustenburg, Wendy Fletcher
Date: May 1-3 2014
Length: 14h36min
Product ID: RGDL4411S

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The current cultural landscape of Western societies has been classified by Charles Taylor as "a secular age," to indicate that all moral reasoning takes place within an immanent natural order without assured reference to the transcendent. This "immanent frame" is not necessarily closed to transcendence, as scientism would have it, but religious or transcendent grounds will have to be argued for from within a common secularity. What, however, grounds and guarantees this secularity? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, long before the Second Vatican Council came to the same conclusion, argued for a theological grounding of secularity. Christianity has to exist in "a world come of age," and a robust this-worldliness requires a Christological foundation.

Based on this theological premise, Bonhoeffer's Christian humanism argued for a common human rationality and espoused the relative autonomy of human spheres of activity (marriage, government, culture, the church, etc.), which nonetheless find their ultimate unity in Christ. Only from such a theologically conceived secularity can Christians credibly respond to the pressing questions of modern culture: How accurate are current philosophical descriptions of Western culture as "a secular age" or as "post-secularity"? What do moral formation and responsible Christian ethics look like in such a secular age? What role do the Christian sacraments and scriptural exegesis play in the pursuit of virtue? How does the Christian church in its multiple manifestations understand its identity within the world? How ought one to define nature or the natural? How do reason and faith, public and religious life, work together for a common good?

This conference addresses these questions from a "catholic" angle by inviting Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox speakers to address moral formation in a secular age. Sessions include:

  • Bonhoeffer's Christian Humanism and "A World Come of Age" - Jens Zimmermann
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Biography and Historical Background - John Conway (John Conway introduces a viewing of the Documentary video, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister" by Martin Doblmeier, and answers questions on the video)
  • Kyrie Eleison and the Path to Holiness - David Goa
  • Christian Discipleship, the Virtues, and Consumerism - Brad Gregory
  • Religionless Christianity and Social Ethics in "A World Come of Age" - Ralf Wustenberg
  • Panel on Christian Humanism - Marilynne Robinson, Jens Zimmermann, Brad Gregory and David Goa
  • The Future of Political Theology for a Worldly Christianity - Charles T. Matthewes
  • Wordless Proselytization: Ethics of a New Missiology After Residential Schools - Wendy Fletcher
  • The Ironic Myth of "A World to Come" - Barry Harvey
  • Graduate Conference Papers: Derek Witten, Regent College - Humanism and the Spirituality of the Mundane in Marilynne Robinson and Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Bernadette Roe, University of Victoria - Memory in Gilead; Heidi Vanderveen, Trinity Western University - Listening in Love: The Hermeneutics of Human Relationships
  • Graduate Conference Papers: Karola Radler, Stellenbosch University - The Interdisciplinary Formation of Bonhoeffer's Understanding of Human Dignity and its Enduring Impact on (Post-)Modern Realities; Marlana Duggar, Trinity Western University - Hegel's 'Master Slave Dialectic' in Bonhoeffer's 'Who Am I?': Reemerging of the Self in the Incarnation'; Roger Revell, Vancouver School of Theology - Visionary Orthodoxy: Imagination in the Work of Theology - An Examination of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Creation and Fall



See All Audio by Barry Harvey Brad Gregory Charles Matthewes David Goa Jens Zimmermann John Conway Ralf Wustenburg Wendy Fletcher

Barry Harvey is a Senior Scholar and Professor of Theology in the Honors College at Baylor University, and an ordained Baptist minister. His academic interest and research centers around systematic and philosophical theology, theological ethics, hermeneutics, and social theory. He has been on the Board of Directors for the International Bonhoeffer Society, English Language Section since 2004 and is also on the Editorial Board for the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English Language Edition.

Brad Gregory is Dorothy G. Griffin Associate Professor of Early Modern European History at The University of Notre Dame. He is the co-editor of Seeing Things Their Way: Intellectual History and the Return of Religion and the author of The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.

Charles T. Matthewes is Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia where he teaches religious ethics and religious thought. He is the author of Evil and the Augustinian Tradition, A Theology of Public Life, The Republic of Grace, and Understanding Religious Ethics.

David Goa is Director of the Ronning Centre at the University of Alberta-Augustana. His work and thinking were largely shaped through his field research work exploring living religious traditions and their encounter with modernity. He has published widely on religion and modernity, on the Orthodox tradition of Christianity, art and culture, and the challenges of the modern world to the human spirit.

Jens Zimmermann is Associate Professor of German and English at Trinity Western University and has been awarded a five-year Canadian Council Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture, beginning in the fall of 2006. He has published works across several disciplines, including Recovering Theological Hermeneutics: an Incarnational-Trinitarian Theory of Interpretation and, with Dr. Norman Klassen, The Passionate Intellect: Incarnational humanism and the future of university education.

John S. Conway is professor Emeritus of History at the University of British Columbia. He was a founding member of the Scholars' Conference on the German Church and the Holocaust, and has written a large number of articles dealing with the role of the European churches and the Vatican during the Holocaust, as well as on other topics of Christian-Jewish relations during the twentieth century. He is also the author of The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, 1933-1945, recently reprinted by Regent College Publishing. He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte and the Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Ralf K. Wustenberg is the Director of the Faculty for Protestant Theology at Flensburg University and, since 2013, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (St. Edmund's College). From 2003-2005 he served as minister (Pfarrer) in the Lutheran Church at the Berliner Dom and was a Visiting Professor at Freie Universitat Berlin between 2005 and 2009. He is author and editor of several books including the English titles A Theology of Life: Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Religionless Christianity and Theology in Dialogue: The impact of Arts, Humanities and Science on Contemporary Religious Discourse

Wendy Fletcher is Professor of the History of Christianity at the Vancouver School of Theology. Dr. Fletcher also served as Principal and Dean of VST until June, 2012. She has also published extensively in the areas of women and Christianity, spirituality and religion and ethnicity, including significant work in the arena of First Nations Education with particular reference to residential schools..

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