Conference presentations, publications and research by our graduate students.

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  • A Theology of Grace in Six Controversies, by Edward T. Oakes, S. J., Eerdmans

    Vanderleek, Ethan; Institute for Christian Studies; Regent College (2017-07)
  • Re-Imagining the Whore: An Intertextual and Intratextual Feminist Reading of Revelation's Woma/en.

    Bott, Ruth; Institute for Christian Studies; Ansell, Nicholas (2015-05-31)
  • Navigating the Crisis of Movement: Rupture, Repetition, and New Life

    Kirby, Joseph Morrill; Institute for Christian Studies (The Other Journal, 2015-10-08)
  • On the Varieties of Religious Rationality: Plato (and the Buddha) Versus the New Atheists

    Kirby, Joseph Morrill; Institute for Christian Studies (Cosmos Publishing Cooperative, 2015)
    Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl claims that human beings are spiritually and mentally free, and that it is possible to maintain one's dignity even in a concentration camp. If this tremendous claim is true, it is true regardless of who says it. However, it is only when the claim is made by someone like Frankl that it functions rhetorically, actually prompting the listener to reflect on what it might mean. In the Georgias, Socrates argues for an even more extreme version of this same idea: that it would be better to be tortured to death than to torture someone else, because it is impossible for a torturer to be happy. This paper shows why, if what Frankl and Socrates say is true, both tradition and myth are perfectly rational modes of discourse, and why a culture that rejects the capacity of tradition and myth to disclose truth will almost inevitably reject these claims as irrational. This discussion is framed in terms of an interesting disjunct in the meaning of the term "atheist," as it is used by the New Atheists and as it is used by Plato, and is set in dialogue with the claims of as Vipassana meditation teacher S. N. Goenka, whose teachings bear remarkable similarity to Plato's.
  • Christianity: Slave Morality or Anthropotechnics?

    Dettloff, Dean; CPRSE (CPRSE, 2015-01-13)
  • Christmas for Cynics

    Dettloff, Dean; CPRSE (CPRSE, 2015-01-05)
  • Expanding Our Response to the Call of Justice: An Interview with Gerda Kits

    Dettloff, Dean; Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics; Kits, Gerda (CPRSE, 2015-02-20)
  • Risking idolatry? Theopoetics and the promise of embodiment

    Hocking, Jeffrey S.; Institute for Christian Studies (Association for Theopoetic Research & Exploration, 2015)
    John Caputo recently remarked that deconstructionism has not taken hold in the church as he had hoped. The "good news of post-modernism" is not generating the kind of buzz that a gospel should. Is this perhaps because deconstruction is unable to fully embody an alternative, life-giving picture to traditional ways of theologizing? Poetics, etymologically, is about the creation of something new. Despite its ability to break apart ossified ground in order to open up fertile earth for new possibilities, is deconstructionism unable to provide the newness which the church seeks? This essay suggests, with theopoet Rubem Alves, that we do not simply wait for God's promised future. Instead, we make (or fail to make) God bodily present to our fellow human beings and to creation as a whole. To answer this calling means practicing Luther's imperative to "sin boldly" in pursuit of justice (hence "risking idolatry"). Caputo writes that "deconstruction saves us from idolatry," but what this results in is a paralysis which prevents us from embodying the presence of God in the world? What if our calling is such that it brings us right up against the brink of idolatry? Theopoetics, in a Wittgensteinian sort of therapy, might be able to offer a different picture that both resists the ossification of language, and is able to better handle the church's calling to function as the body of Christ, a Nazarene who claimed to be God
  • The Ordeal of Solitude: Solitary Confinement in Prisons and Monasteries

    Kirby, Joseph; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-05-04)
  • In the Beginning(s): The Gifts and Calls of God

    Dettloff, Dean; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-12-13)
  • A Particular Collision: Arendt, CERN, and Reformational Philosophy

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-03-27)
    In this paper, I will explore how recent discoveries in particle physics that are part of the pursuit of a so-called “unified theory of everything” play into a worldview that has the potential to poison ethical life. I will explicate Hannah Arendt’s critique of modern science’s pursuit of knowledge by means of (what she calls) “acting into nature,” and I will place the groundbreaking experimental research at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, as well as the theoretical search for a unified “theory of everything,” within the scope of Arendt’s critique. In order to maintain Arendt’s concept of unprecedented newness inherent in human action (or what she calls “natality”) as a response to a scientific reductionism that tends to accompany these claims and pursuits of theoretical physics and to expose what is at stake in Arendt’s critique, I will turn to the anti-reductionistic Reformational philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, which offers a model that resonates with Arendt’s critique of modern science, while also allowing for a potentially viable way forward for considerations of the scope of scientific knowledge. Finally, I will conclude with the implications of this Reformational anti-reductionism on Arendt’s concern that human action, with its power to create new and unprecedented historical situations and natural processes, must be held accountable by reflection. What is learned from Arendt and the Reformational philosophers is that giving ground to the possibility of a unified theory of everything carries with it a determinism that disallows the recognition of both newness and irreducible complexity, both of which are essential to the ethical life.
  • Songs of Solidarity: A New Approach to Liturgical Music and Community Cohesion

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-03-06)
    In this paper, I will focus on a single type of music used in a religious setting, namely congregational song, which I will broadly refer to as “liturgical music.” Though liturgical music in the context of Christian community serves a variety of functions for community participants, this paper will focus on two major functions liturgical music plays in the way it facilitates community coherence: (1) it connects participants via embodied empathetic imagination to a particular defining narrative or mythology, and (2) it connects participants via co-performance directly to one another. I will suggest that liturgical art in religious community is actually a constitutive force in that community, having the capability of illuminating and affirming the communal identity shared by the participants. Participation in liturgical music is a way of actively shaping the community as a community, re-telling together a deeply held defining mythology in the context of the present world and creating a shared moment of co-performance in which participants enter into true face-to-face relationships with one another. Finally, I will illustrate how these functions may play out in a religious community through an analysis of Psalm 136’s content and use in ancient Israelite liturgy.
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hermeneutic Circle

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-09)
  • Memes, Tradition, and Richard Dawkins

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-11-29)
  • Sea to Sea: Cycling to End Poverty

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-08-13)
  • Letting It Get To You: Why Philosophy is a Dead End

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-02)
  • Building with a Borrowed Axe

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2014-01-22)
  • Scholarship in the Information Age: An Interview with Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-10-25)
  • The Hermeneutics of Ancient Astronaut Theory

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-05-21)
  • How to Be a Being: On Brainless Bots, Martin Heidegger, and Mental Representation

    Johnson, Matthew E.; Institute for Christian Studies (2013-09-03)

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