29 October–Theology in Public: Reflections on Clinical Pastoral Education

Monday, Oct 29th
12:00-1:20 pm
Swift 201

The Theology Workshop continues exploring our fall theme–Theology in Public–by reflecting on the practice of theology in the particularly vulnerable and marginalized “publics” where Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) takes place.
CPE is a nationwide educational initiative that places ministry students of diverse religious backgrounds in hospital and hospice settings, as well as social service organizations, prisons, and street ministries, to serve as chaplains: ministers of healing, listening, solidarity, advocacy, and companionship.  Practicing pastoral theology at the bedside, in the prison, and on the streets can present special challenges and insights for the academic study of theology.

Our panelists will reflect on how accompanying sick, lonely, and displaced people required them to re-imagine such theological categories as healing, redemption, and incarnation, and how the space of the settling itself — sanitized or dingy, bustling or abandoned, locked down or out of doors — shaped their theological practices.

Join us on Monday, October 29th, for a panel discussion with Ruthie Coffman, Topher ElderkinHannah Gustafson, and Thandiwe Gobledale, moderated by Kevin Boyd, Director of Field Education at the Divinity School and Supervisory Candidate with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education.  All are welcome, and no advance preparation is required.

This workshop is free and open to the public.  Lunch will be served.

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


15 October–Jacob Swenson

Monday, October 15, 12:00-1:20 pm. Swift 201.

“Two Traditions in Virtue Ethics: Christian Virtue and the Depoliticization of Aristotle”

The Theology Workshop will welcome Jacob Swenson, PhD Student in Philosophy, for a presentation and discussion on the de-politicization of Aristotle’s practical philosophy. He will contend that modern Aristotelians have fundamentally misunderstood Aristotle’s concept of human excellence, reducing his concept of the political to the level of the social. By sketching the rise of a distinctly Christian form of virtue ethics in the early middle ages, Swenson will frame two distinct, and often conflicting, traditions of thought about the virtues, giving a genealogy of the features particularly pertinent to the subsequent rediscovery of Aristotle in the 13th century: (1) the Latin re-conceptualization of certain Greek virtues in a Christian mold, (2) the re-envisioning of the end of virtue such that it entails a comprehensive Christian worldview, and (3) the emphasis on virtue as a feature of personal piety that is best exemplified in close-knit social relationships. We will consider and discuss Swenson’s argument that the project of the Latin fathers, while substantial in its own right, has perpetuated a mistaken interpretation of Aristotle’s practical philosophy — which has continued into the rise of contemporary neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics and its relation to the political order.

Brian Herlocker, PhD Student in Philosophy of Religions, will respond. No advance preparation is expected of workshop participants, but the paper will be made available through the Workshop listserve for those who would like to prepare.

This workshop is free and open to the public. A light lunch will be served.

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