The first is the Annual Forum of the Koinonia Journal, taking place on March 3-4 at Princeton Theological Seminary. As the executive editor of Koinonia, it is my responsibility to organize the forum that becomes the following year’s journal. Our theme this year is “New Conversations in Religion and Popular Culture.” It should be an exciting conference, and I invite anyone in the area to attend. Here is the schedule of events:
Thursday, March 3, 2011 – 7:00-9:00 pm (Stuart Hall 6)
- Jeremy Ian Kirk (Union Theological Seminary, New York): “James Cameron vs. James Cone: Avatar’s False Messiah and the Continued Relevance of Liberation Theology”
- Emily Dumler (Princeton Theological Seminary): “A Profile in Courage: A Young Woman in No Country For Old Men”
- Respondents: Adam Hearlson and Courtney Palmbush (both of PTS)
Friday, March 4, 2011 – 12:00-2:00 pm (Mackay Student Center, Main Lounge)
- Peter Kline (Vanderbilt University): “Christ-Haunted Ohio: The Spiritual and Theological Vision of Over the Rhine”
- Nicholaus Benjamin Pumphrey (Claremont Graduate University): “Judges and Heroes: The Scholarly Misinterpretation of the Biblical Judges Reflected in Modern Superheroes”
- Marc Boswell (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary): “Thomas Merton Gets the Blues: A Theopoetics of Cultural Engagement”
The second event is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), which will take place on March 17-18 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ. As usual, Princeton Seminary students will be out in force at this conference. My own paper is entitled, “Event and Being: Bultmann Reads Badiou.” It is an attempt to reassess the relation between Alain Badiou’s philosophy and Christian theology by bringing Badiou into conversation with Rudolf Bultmann (who is the subject of my dissertation). My starting-point is a paragraph tucked away in a blog post by Carl Raschke, professor of religious studies at the University of Denver, who writes:
- Respondents: Blair Bertrand and Sarah Stewart-Kroeker (both of PTS)
I've never been able to prove that Badiou all along has been reading Bultmann's theology of several generations ago about the "Christ event" that is historical, though unintelligible to history itself. But these associations are not merely aleatory. It is not accidental that Badiou's well-received book on St. Paul really complements Bultmann, or that Badiou himself is a source of growing fascination among a newer generation of "postmodern" academic theologians (though they all struggle to follow him half the time, as they once did with Derrida). Badiou is probably more instructive for latter day "Bultmannians", since he has unshackled himself from Heidegger, which Bultmann couldn't.The third event is the upcoming graduate student conference at the University of Notre Dame on the theme, “New Conversations on Bonhoeffer’s Theology,” sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. In addition to public lectures by Bernd Wannenwetsch, Christiane Tietz, and Robin Lovin, there will be twelve graduate student papers. I will be one of those presenters. My paper is tentatively titled, “Bonhoeffer and Bultmann: An Overlooked and Misunderstood Relationship.” Here I will attempt to redirect the conversation regarding these two giants of 20th-century theology. The problem is that most scholars, with the notable rare exceptions of Gerhard Ebeling and Gerhard Krause, have accepted Bonhoeffer’s critical comments on Bultmann at face value. Theologians from Götz Harbsmeier to Russell Palmer to Adam Kotsko have made a sharp distinction between Bonhoeffer’s non-religious interpretation and Bultmann’s program of demythologizing, but really without probing the deeper underlying issues that connect and divide them. I will examine the problem of the relation between the ontic and the ontological—which first appears in Act and Being—since this is the issue that really vexes Bonhoeffer; I will offer a critique of Bonhoeffer’s critique of Bultmann and propose that soteriology, not hermeneutics, is the true point of divergence; and I will conclude by suggesting reasons for and ways of bringing Bonhoeffer more in line with Bultmann.
So that’s Princeton, New Brunswick, and South Bend. If you’re around any of those areas in the coming two months, I hope you’ll consider coming to these events. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.