29 May–Dwight Hopkins

Friends and colleagues of the Theology Workshop, please join us for our final event of the year and the capstone presentation of our spring quarter “Theopraxis” series: a conversation with Dwight N. Hopkins, Professor of Theology & Director of MA Studies in the Divinity School, on civil disobedience and civil rights as theological production. This event is co-hosted with the Race & Religion Workshop.

Tuesday, May 29th

12:00 – 1:30 pm

Swift 106

What do we gain by describing ways of life that are in opposition to category-based social inequities as extra-verbal forms of theological activity? What is the relationship between the discursive motivations and tactics involved in civil rights struggles and the deployment of the body as a physical, kinesthetic confrontation of “the powers”? How do such practices both destabilize existing theological expectations/forms and simultaneously create new forms and pathways for religious reflection and inquiry? What salient parallels and distinctions between American civil rights struggles / black theology and the theological movements from the underside of history in many other parts of the world are brought to light in such a discussion of theopraxis?

Such questions and more will be on the table at Tuesday’s workshop. Responding to Prof. Hopkins will be Barnabas Pusnur, PhD Student in Theology. No preparation is expected from workshop attendees. A celebratory, year-end lunch will be provided, along with much delicious coffee.

Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Julius in advance at jrcrump@uchicago.edu.

23 May–Gianluigi Gugliermetto

Talking Queer—Sexual Theology for the Whole Church
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

6:00 – 8:00 PM
Brent House

This week we will be joining forces with the LGBTQ Divinity Studies Reading Group and Brent House for a special presentation by visiting scholar Gianluigi Gugliermetto, exploring the disconnect between the Church and the Academy in the debate on human sexuality. Dinner and drinks will be served!

Conflicts about the meaning of human sexuality, its relevance, and its regulation within the scope of a faithful religious life have been common in Western Christian churches for the last few decades.

Academic theology has also taken up the subject in earnest, both reflecting and fueling the conflicts present and alive ‘on the ground.’ It could be argued indeed that this is one of the areas in which academic theology shows its desire to provoke “real change” and to be challenged by it. Yet the debate within churches is polarized by the conservative vs. liberal frame, is dominated by issues of sexual identity, and is stuck on specific questions of biblical interpretation, all of which are quite far from the concerns of those professional theologians who deal with sexuality and gender as theological topics today. Is it possible today to build a bridge between the academy and the Church on this particular subject?

Feel free to RSVP for the event on facebook if you’d like to help us plan the quantities of food and drink:  https://www.facebook.com/events/252869478144830/

Persons with a disability who would like assistance, please contact Kyle in advance at kgr@uchicago.edu.



15 May–Adrian Guiu & Aaron Hollander

Tuesday, May 15, 4:30-6:00 pm, S200

Our next regular Workshop session will take place with one of a couple experimental formats we are trying this quarter. Adrian Guiu and Aaron Hollander will present material from their own work in progress, in order to launch an open dialogue on spiritual exercises, the contemplation of creation, and natural science. Figures who may be covered include Marcus Aurelius, Plotinus, Abba Anthony & the desert dwellers, Evagrius Ponticus, Boethius, Maximus Confessor, J. S. Eriugena, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, John Polkinghorne, and His All-Holiness the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. If you are interested in any of these figures or are outraged that we omitted your favorite, you have a place at the table. There will be snacks and drinks. No preparation is expected.

11/12 May–Before Authority: Renegotiating Power and Religion

May 11-12, 2012

Swift Hall 

Co-sponsored by the Religion and Ethics workshop, the Theology workshop, the Divinity Students Association, and the Department of Political Science

Theologians, ethicists, and social and political theorists share a sense today that the scope and consequences of human power are growing at a rate perhaps unmatched in history. The 20th century witnessed the rapid expansion of human capacities, ranging from the atomic bomb to the Fordist and post-Fordist assembly line to exponentially-growing insights into and control over our own biology. New possibilities – from the devastation of our planet to redefinition of the genome that makes us who we are – have emerged that call for an imagining of human agency that will both account for and check the uses to which human power is put in our world. Complicating all of this is the recent upsurge in power that different religious communities wield, which has accompanied rather than been voided by secularizing processes.

At the same time, it is not clear that the various contemporary discussions deploy the term “power” univocally. In some, “power” denotes that quality of all social relationships which creates effects on subjects. In others, the “powers” refer to transpersonal structures of human relation that govern and shape life. Meanwhile, “power” names both that contemporary phenomenon that evokes human responsibility, demanding both acts of empowerment and limitation, as well as that aspect of human agency long recognized as susceptible to human formation. What is shared among these is a sense of the urgency of questions of power for contemporary discourse about our social life. But is the common word a mere equivocation, or are these various discourses, in fact, imbricated in a way that opens avenues for fruitful conversation?

What animates this conference is the attempt to understand power within critical and normative approaches to religion that are sensitive to its multifaceted character and attuned to possibilities for its creative exercise. Thus, this conference invites theologians, ethicists, and social theorists to share their work on power in a way that seeks new approaches to the subject.


J. Kameron Carter (Duke University)

Marion Grau (Church Divinity School of the Pacific)

Vincent Lloyd (Syracuse University)

Robin Lovin (Southern Methodist University)

Kathryn Tanner (Yale University)

Jonathan Tran (Baylor University)

William Schweiker (University of Chicago)

Joshua Daniel (University of Chicago)

Rick Elgendy (University of Chicago)



* All sessions will be in the Lecture Hall, 3rd floor

Afternoon session 1pm-4pm

Robin Lovin: “Religious Authority and the Fragmentation of Power”

Joshua Daniel: “Patient Authority and Enduring Novelty: Pragmatizing Robert W. Jenson on Time and Language”

Vincent Lloyd: “Theology and Real Politics: On Huey P. Newton”

Reception, Common Room 4:30 — 5 pm

Morning session 9am-11:30am

Kathryn Tanner: “The Power of Love”

Rick Elgendy: “Revelation without Authority”

Jonathan Tran: “Ontological Participation, Epistemological Certainty, and Political Legitimation: Conceptualizing Authority”

Afternoon session 1pm-4pm

J. Kameron Carter: “Before (Sovereign) Authority: Towards a Counterhistory of Political Theology”

Marion Grau: “Interpreting Power: Towards an Intercultural Theological Hermeneutics”

William Schweiker: “The Love of Power”