Call for Papers – International Wolfhart Pannenberg Symposium: 24–26 April, 2024

The International Wolfhart Pannenberg Symposium and the research project Talking about Divine Action are pleased to announce a call for papers exploring the concept of divine action in dialogue with Wolfhart Pannenberg.

The talk of God as agent is at the center of Christian theology and practice, but at the same time it is also the point where basic theological programs show deepest differences. After the topic had been the subject of intensive interdisciplinary research for several decades, its complex theological and philosophical presuppositions as well as questions of theological relevance have recently moved into the center of attention. Wolfhart Pannenberg stands out amongst contemporary theologians who have dealt with these issues. Ten years after his death, the impulses of his work for contemporary debate are ripe for further development.

The following key questions, among others, are helpful as starting points for the discussion with Pannenberg.

  • In what sense is it correct to talk about God as an agent? Is it for example plausible to say that God has intentions or capacities such as will and reason? Which concept of personhood is in the background of such a speech?
  • Are there better conceptual alternatives to “God’s action” that adequately describe God’s relationship to the world?
  • What is the relationship between analogy and doxology in the speech about God’s action? How are subject- or event-hermetical interpretations to be evaluated?
  • What possibilities for thinking from the theological tradition have not yet been sufficiently exhausted?
  • How does the notion of God as agent do justice to its trinitarian-theological context?
  • Is the idea of God’s action compatible with historiographical principles and sufficiently reflected hermeneutically? Moreover, is it fruitful for exegesis or church history? What are the possibilities and limits of speaking of God’s revelation in history?
  • Which possibilities of thinking that have been worked out in the science-and-religion-dialogue are also theologically fruitful and which are not?
  • Societally, few would say that our contemporary situation is not one marked by crisis all around the world.How are we to interpret the nature and implications of divine action along all these lines? Does the idea of God’s action exacerbate the problem of theodicy, or does it rather offer the possibility of coping with it?Or both?
  • Does it make sense to abandon a predicate such as “simplicity” or to transform “infinity” into an adverbial phrase (e.g., God being “infinitely good”) from a theological or philosophical perspective?

The research project “Talking about Divine action” (Tübingen) is pleased to announce a call for papers in cooperation with the “International Wolfhart Pannenberg Symposium”, exploring the questions raised in dialogue with the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg. We welcome proposals on a wide range of topics on this fertile area of conversation concerning divine action and welcome all topics showing how Pannenberg’s conception of divine action can assist us in a variety of contexts as we make further progress in the world.

Proposals for papers should be no more than 500 words and will be evaluated on the contribution that they could make to the conversation, the clarity of the proposed research plan, and their significance for the field. Proposals should be received by 31 July, 2023 to receive full consideration. Email proposals to pannenbergsymposium@gmail.com.

Selected proposals will be presented at a conference at the University of Tübingen on 24-26 April, 2024.

After a proposal has been accepted, financial support for the participation in the conference can be applied for. We would particularly like to support those researchers who do not have their own funds with regard to flights and hotel accommodation. While we welcome attendance in person from all who are interested, proposals for papers to be delivered via virtual meeting will also be considered. At the conference, further plans and possibilities for cooperation on Wolfhart Pannenberg’s theology will be discussed.


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