Theology & Anthropology

05 - 09 september 2016


Theology & Anthropology

Locatie : ETF Leuven

Taal : Engels

De doctoraatsweek vormt het jaarlijkse hoogtepunt van de doctoraatsopleiding. Studenten die werken aan een proefschrift komen in deze week bij elkaar en ontmoeten hun hoogleraren, bereiden zich voor op examens, presenteren hun onderzoek en ook de promoties vinden voor een groot deel in deze week plaats.

U bent van harte welkom een of meerdere sessies van het openbare programma (zie schema hieronder) bij te wonen.

Meldt u zich hiervoor aan tot 26 augustus 2016 via . Vermeld ook uw aankomst- en vertrektijd en of u gebruik wilt maken van de maaltijd. De sessies bijwonen is kosteloos, een lunch kost € 10, een diner € 20.

maandag 5 september
12:00 – 13:00 Faculty Lectures (parallel sessions)

The Spectre of Nestorius: Christology and the Latin Discussions of Grace, Prof. Dr. Donald Fairbairn (HT) (Abstract)

From the Perspective of the Reader or the Perspective of the Writer: Coming to Grips with a Starting Point for Analyzing the Use of Scripture within 1 Corinthians, Dr. Drake Williams III (NT) (Abstract)

dinsdag 6 september
12:00 – 13:00 Faculty Lectures (parallel sessions)

What the will can(‘t) do. An Anthropological Exploration, Prof. Dr. Nico den Bok (ST) (Abstract)

“Palmyra Destroyed!” – Justified by Islamic Theology? ISIS’ Claim of Reviving “True” Islam by Fighting “Unbelievers” and Damaging Classical Antiquities, Prof. Dr. Christine Schirrmacher (RM) (Abstract)

14:30 – 16:15 Promotion: Maria Verhoeff (HT)

Presentation & Defense of Dissertation: More Desirable than Light Itself. Friendship Discourse in John Chrysostom’s Soteriology

16:15 – 17:15 Reception
19:30 – 20:30 Farewell Lecture by Prof. Dr. Klaus Fiedler (RM)
Fake Healings of HIV/AIDS in Malawi: Traditional, Christian, and Scientific
20:30 – 21:30 Reception
woensdag 7 september
12:00 – 13:00 Faculty Lectures (parallel sessions)

The Ancient Cosmology of the Israelites, Prof. Dr. Mart-Jan Paul (OT) (Abstract)

Misanthropy and Philanthropy in Reformed Piety, Prof. Dr. Jan Hoek (ST) (Abstract)

17:00-18:00 Presentation Dr. Gert van den Brink

Does the Heidelberg Catechism Teach the Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience?

donderdag 8 september
12:00 – 13:00 Faculty Lectures (parallel sessions)

Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived” (1 Tim 2:14). A New Testament Stereotype on Gender Differences in Exegetical, Historical and Social-Psychological Perspectives, Prof. Dr. Armin Baum (NT) (Abstract)

“We are (kind of) Protestants too!” How Free Church Evangelicals Relate Themselves to Other Protestants When Approaching Belgian Secular Authorities, Dr. Jelle Creemers (RM) (Abstract)

14:30 – 16:15 Promotion: Richard Kronk (RM)

Presentation & Defense of DissertationChristians of Maghrebi Background and French Evangelical Protestant Churches: The Role of Social, Cultural and Religious Values in Conversion and Affiliation

16:15 – 17:15 Reception
vrijdag 9 september
11:00 – 11:50 Institute of Leadership and Social Ethics Lecture

Driven by Hope: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Prof. Dr. Patrick Nullens & Dr. Steven van den Heuvel (Abstract)

12:00 – 13:00 Faculty Lectures (parallel sessions)

What Does ‘fides quaerens intellectum’ Mean?, Prof. Dr. Antonie Vos (HT) (Abstract)

Pastoral Leadership as Public Identity Leadership, Dr. Jack Barentsen (PT) (Abstract)


The Spectre of Nestorius: Christology and the Latin Discussions of Grace – Prof. Dr. Don Fairbairn

It is sometimes assumed that the Christological controversy and the Pelagian and (so-called) Semi-Pelagian controversies were distinct discussions, with relatively little overlap of ideas. However, these controversies took place at the same time and involved many of the same people. Moreover, most of the people involved in the so-called Semi-Pelagian controversy actually wrote refutations of Nestorianism. This paper—representing explorations that will develop hopefully into a book—will show how varying conceptions of what was wrong with Nestorianism led to varying understandings of grace and salvation in the Latin-speaking Church of the fifth century. (Back to program)

From the Perspective of the Reader or the Perspective of the Writer: Coming to Grips with a Starting Point for Analyzing the Use of Scripture within 1 Corinthians – Dr. Drake Williams III

Paul’s use of the Old Testament within the New Testament has challenged lay people and scholars for years. One of the latest questions in this field of study concerns the starting point for considering the function of the Old Testament in Paul’s writing. Should one consider its use from Paul’s vantage point as one who was quite influenced by Scripture, or should one begin with the audience’s knowledge of Scripture?

First Corinthians is a particularly interesting letter to consider this question.  The Corinthian church is predominantly Greco-Roman in background. Corinthian Christians would have had much less understanding of the Old Testament than Paul as a result.

Paul did, however, spend eighteen months with them, and then wrote First Corinthians to them six years later. The letter contains eighteen agreed upon Scripture citations or echoes, comprising four percent of the book. These references come from the Law, the prophets, and the writings.

This paper will analyze how much Scripture the Corinthians actually knew, especially considering “do you not know” references within First Corinthians as well as ancient literacy, and draw some conclusions regarding the Corinthians’ knowledge of Scripture. It will then bring fruits of this study to the larger question of the starting point for Scriptural examination in Paul’s letters –  from the perspective of the readers or that of the writer.(Back to program)

What the will can(‘t) do. An Anthropological Exploration – Prof. Dr. Nico den Bok

Free will has a central place in theology. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the   will is a powerful faculty. What is it that the will can do, always, under all circumstances? Choose, yes; it is free. But it is not, by that fact, strong, or good, or independent. This lecture will explore some limitations in human willing with the help of some classical authors. Augustine, for instance, not only discovered the freedom of the will (against the Manichees), but also the weakness of the will (against    the Pelagians). One of the leading ideas will be that most, if not all, of what we call ‘will-power’ is dispositional, we have that power by nature (creation), by acquisition (training) or by ‘infusion’ (a special gift) and we have it for better or worse. For making choices only the will is required, but for making good dependable choices a set of good dispositions is required as well. A culture that values freedom above everything else becomes unreliable. Sustainability requires the formation of virtues – mental, psychological, religious virtues. (Back to program)

“Palmyra Destroyed!” – Justified by Islamic Theology? ISIS’ Claim of Reviving “True” Islam by Fighting “Unbelievers” and Damaging Classical Antiquities – Prof. Dr. Christine Schirrmacher

The so-called “Islamic State“ (ISIS) has been repeatedly in the news, not only because it was and still is fighting a cruel, merciless war against Non-Muslims and non-conforming Muslims alike, but also because of its destructions of cultural sites and classical antiquities. Should the damaging of the famous Arch of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra be understood as a sheer demonstration of power of a pseudo-state trying to impress enemies and allies alike? Is it justified or even demanded by Islamic theology to aggressively attack cultural heritage? The presentation will specify earlier examples of the destruction of cultural sites in history and its justification by Wahhabi theology and shed some light on the ideological foundations of ISIS.  (Back to program)

The Ancient Cosmology of the Israelites – Prof. Dr. Mart-Jan Paul

John H. Walton writes in The Lost World of Genesis One (2009): “They [= the Israelites] did not know that stars were suns; they did not know that the earth was spherical and moving through space; they did not know that the sun was much further away than the moon, or even further than the birds flying in the air. They believed that the sky was material (not vaporous), solid enough to support the residence of the deity as well as to hold back waters.” (14).

Based on such views many illustrations are made.

It is possible to question these representations of the cosmology of the Israelites. The pictures are partly dependent on interpretation of Babylonian texts. I will offer alternative interpretations of Old Testament texts concerning:
1) the firmament and the storehouses of the heaven,
2) the relations between the sun, the moon and the stars, and
3) the waters under the earth. (Back to program)

Misanthropy and Philanthropy in Reformed Piety – Prof. Dr. Jan Hoek

The presentation focuses on some tensions within Reformed piety regarding philanthropy and misanthropy. Though Reformed piety is in its essence philanthropic  and apt to foster reconciliation and peaceful human relations, nevertheless the danger of derailment is always at hand. Misanthropic utterances in sermons and treatises by several representatives of the Reformed tradition  can account for a negative Wirkungsgeschichte. The paradox of being helpless and nevertheless fully responsible has been a source of depressive thoughts and even despair. It will be shown that a retrieval of genuine and sound Reformed piety will avoid these negative effects and will on the contrary further human dignity and solidarity. (Back to program)

Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived” (1 Tim 2:14). A New Testament Stereotype on Gender Differences in Exegetical, Historical and Social-Psychological Perspectives – Prof. Dr. Armin Baum

1 Timothy 2:14 has provoked severe critical objections. The statement is regarded as a serious misinterpretation of Genesis 3 (J. Roloff) and as a misogynistic text (A. Merz). Consequently quite a few Christian interpreters of the New Testament call its theological authority into question (M. Küchler). This critical rejection challenges us to reexamine the exact meaning as well as the plausibility of this disputed New Testament statement. I would like to look at ancient judgments on the influenceability of men and women, draw on modern insights on the influenceability of men and women, and interpret 1 Timothy 2:14 in the context of the Pastoral Epistles. I hope to be able to demonstrate that there is no reason to pigeonhole this New Testament statement as chauvinistic. (Back to program)

“We are (kind of) Protestants too!” How Free Church Evangelicals Relate Themselves to Other Protestants When Approaching Belgian Secular Authorities – Dr. Jelle Creemers

In strongly secularized Europe, Evangelical free churches have little credibility and are often labelled as sects. Since 1987 Evangelical churches in Belgium have strived to gain acceptance and influence in society by claiming full membership in the officially recognized Protestant religion. Their quest for recognition and consequential benefits has led them into difficult negotiations among themselves, with the state, and with other Protestants. The desired recognition became official in 2003. This lecture provides insight into the underlying processes of emancipation and socialization, highlighting the issue of compatibility between ‘free churches’ and ‘state support’. (Back to program)

Driven by Hope: Interdisciplinary Perspectives – Prof. Dr. Patrick Nullens & Dr. Steven van den Heuvel

The mission of the Institute of Leadership and Social Ethics is to contribute to public theology. We want to relate theological insights to contemporary challenges. During this presentation, we will present one of our current research projects, entitled “Driven by Hope: Hope in Theology and Economics.” This is a joint project, undertaken together with the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organisation, and completely funded by the Goldschmeding Foundation. The project starts from the recognition that hope is an important driving force both for human beings and for macro-economic developments. It can be a powerful motivation for transformation, innovation, economic growth and increased human well-being. With that in mind, the aim of the project is to stimulate the fostering of hope in human life and, especially, in economic life. In doing so, we bring theological, economic and psychological perspectives to bear on the analysis of hope. In this presentation, we will indicate possibilities for the integration of theology with economics regarding hope, presenting three different angles. First, in the tradition of Adam Smith, we consider hope from the perspective of the free market, describing hope as an entrepreneurial virtue (McCloskey). Second, we engage intensively with positive psychology, a relatively new field that is interested in personal happiness (Snyder). Third, we describe the significance of the virtue of hope for development economics, particularly for the capabilities approach (Sen & Nussbaum).(Back to program)

What Does ‘fides quaerens intellectum’ Mean? The Reaction of Cornelis Opzoomer – Prof. Dr. Antonie Vos

Many theologians are familiar with the famous adage fides quaerens intellectum, but its impact has diminished today as most current theological movements – whether liberal or orthodox – in fact do not embrace this ideal. Liberals oppose it straightforwardly. Barthians do not accept fides quaerens intellectum, because, according to them, what we believe cannot be proven and our Christian situation is rationally helpless. Other kinds of orthodox theologies follow the same track. Even Emil Brunner rejects the principle and only allows room for a few exceptions to fideism. Bultmann even argues that we can only believe what can be refuted rationally. So most orthodox and evangelical theologians do not subscribe to the program of fides quaerens intellectum, because – like Barthians – they embrace fideism.

Thus a major difference between modern orthodox theology and classical orthodox theology consists of the fact that classical thinkers are friends of  Anselm, and modern ones are not. Karl Barth seemed to be sympathetic to Anselm in his fides quaerens intellectum, but he interpreted Anselm in a fideist way. However, the classical tradition of Christian theology and philosophy is not fideist.

I propose the view that ancient philosophy excludes the main line of medieval theology and philosophy. We have two quite different series of key concepts:

necessity contingency
impersonal personal
closed open
many gods one God
cosmos creation
universals individuals
ideas matter
statics dynamics
balance internal mercy
amorality ethics
polytheism incarnation

The second series represents fides quaerens intellectum thinking.(Back to program)

Pastoral Leadership as Public Identity Leadership – Dr. Jack Barentsen

Models of pastoral leadership demonstrate shifts over the last decennia, from psychological and therapeutic models, to organizational models, to models of sense-making leadership and spiritual guidance most recently. This roughly parallels sociocultural shifts in Western societies. However, in a postmodern society, pastoral leadership not only faces the challenge of individualized spiritual guidance. An even greater challenge is that of community formation in an increasingly deinstitutionalized network culture where transparency and security have become primary values. Therefore, identity formation is an indispensable element for future models of pastoral leadership, at collective and personal levels, and in interaction with public concerns and relevance. Indeed, pastoral leadership has significant parallels with newer models of identity leadership and public leadership. This paper explores some of these parallels in a late modern, Western sociocultural context, and will present a multi-dimensional model of religious leadership that has been developed to meet these challenges. This model will be presented along with a research agenda to further develop and validate it. (Back to program)

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