"Transforming Religion", ESPR President: Hans-Peter Grosshans (Münster), Conference commitee: Hans-Peter Grosshans (Münster) and Klaus Müller (Münster)
On the following pages you will find information about the history, organisation and present activities of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion
If you work in the field of philosophy of religion in Europe, we invite you to participate in our activities - especially in our biannual European Conferences on Philosophy of Religion.
If you plan and organise a conference in philosophy of religion, we would be happy to advertise information about such a conference on our homepage.
10 - 13
BSPR Conference on "Divine Hiddenness"
The BSPR's Eleventh Conference: Divine Hiddenness
Oriel College, Oxford, Thursday 10th through Sunday 13th September 2015
Saturday 12th will focus on the legacy of Richard Swinburne in honour of him on his 80th birthday.
Keynote Speakers: Richard Swinburne (Oxford), Stephen R. L. Clark (Liverpool), Sarah Coakley (Cambridge), Trent Dougherty (Baylor)
Call for Papers:
The problem of the "Hiddenness of God" has been explored in analytic philosophy of religion in recent decades mainly as an issue of theodicy and providence: if God wishes to make Godself transformatively available to humans, why does God not do so more obviously and openly? Many, such as Russell and, more recently, Schellenberg, have taken this to be an argument against theism.
There is however also a deeper ontological issue at stake, that of the apparently intrinsic divine transcendence of God as creator. What philosophical sense can be made of a God who is (it is said) utterly unknowable in 'essence' but equally utterly available ‘in energies’, grace and revelation? Is there anything to be gained by a comparison with modern cosmological speculation here? We know what ‘dark matter’ does (namely, pull visible baryonic matter into stars and galaxies) but not what it is.
There is also an epistemological problem, with echoes in other (non-religious) spheres. We may hope one day - though perhaps without much reason - to know the nature of 'dark matter', whereas - we are told - God is forever incomprehensible. How - as Hume enquired - does an incomprehensible divinity differ from an equally incomprehensible, non-divine, origin? How does "God does it" differ from "we can never know what does it"?
Papers are invited which probe these philosophical issues from different directions, in connection with Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or classical pagan traditions, both ancient and modern, and from the perspective of abstract metaphysics and epistemology. The theodicy question in the earlier discussion need not be neglected, but should be considered in the light of the metaphysical and epistemological issues already named.
Please send abstracts either in the body of an email or as a .doc file (no pdfs) of a maximum of 250 words to me (Victoria.Harrison@glasgow.ac.uk) by the end of March 2015. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to consider abstracts that exceed the word limit or that are submitted after the closing date (allowance being made to colleagues in other time zones).
Final versions of accepted papers will be due one month before the conference begins.
Preference will be shown towards papers that are on the theme of the conference. Time and space at the conference will be limited, so we shall have to be selective, even allowing for the fact that we plan to run parallel sessions and request people presenting papers to keep to half-hour slots.
In order to keep to the tight timetabling required to permit participants to hear (the whole of) as many papers as possible, papers should take ideally fifteen minutes and an absolute maximum twenty minutes to deliver, leaving ten minutes or so for discussion.
8th - 11
NSPR Conference on "The origins of religion in philosophy, theology and religious studies" - Call for Papers
The 5th Nordic conference in Philosophy of Religion pursues the multifaceted and interdisciplinary theme of the origins of religion. The subject is considered at historical, phenomenological, metaphysical, theological and scientific levels. We aim at bringing together methods of research within religious studies, theology and philosophy of religion. Some central questions of the topic are: Where are the roots of religion as a human form of life? Where and why has the concept of religion originated? What is the relationship between religious beliefs and superstitious views? Have the former evolved from the latter? Why do we have religious and magical beliefs? Can we explain religions and religious phenomena by reference to something else than religious self-understanding itself? How should we approach religious texts, lifestyles, communities, and rituals in order to understand them? Is religious practice primary to detailed and reflected religious beliefs? Does religion as a way of life even need doctrinal theology?
Confirmed Speakers include : Ingolf U. Dalferth, Jan-Olav Henriksen, Simo Knuuttila and Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir
We invite papers on the following interrelated topics (A-C):
A. Explanations and understandings
Phenomenology of religion in the early 20th century aimed at both understanding religious phenomena as experienced by human individuals and finding universal features across different religions. At present we have witnessed both explanatory and hermeneutic efforts within religious studies and theology. Cognitive science of religion aims at explaining why and how religious behavior is induced and how religious activities connect to other forms of human behavior. On the other hand, hermeneutics, phenomenological philosophy, and critical studies have emphasized the need to understand and describe the lived experience of religious people, including getting their own voices heard, in order to make sense and empower people across cultures. In addition to these approaches, religion is often understood and explained by reference to divine revelation or some other method or source by which religious truths are acquired.
This session invites papers on the methodology of religious studies and theology in the light of the question on the origin of religious phenomena. How can we approach the question on the nature of religious behavior? The origin of religion has been studied with different methodological approaches by evolutionary psychologists, historians, sociologists, philosophers and confessional theologians. What is the relation between different approaches: contrarian, contradictory or complementary?
B. Religion, magic and rituals
Comparative religion separated into its own field of study in the late 19th and early 20th century in the rise of phenomenological, historical, and anthropological studies of different cultures and their religious practices. Figures in this movement were, for example, Edward Burnett Tylor, James Frazer, Émile Durkheim, Bronislaw Malinowski, William James, and Claude Levi-Strauss. So-called primitive cultures and their religious myths, rituals, and beliefs were the main area of interest and highly present in the source material. While these themes have been prevalent in comparative religion and many early researchers in the field had philosophical undertones, in philosophy of religion rituals, magic, and myths have not had a prominent role.
This session invites papers on the perspective of philosophy of religion to the phenomena and concepts of magic, ritual, and myth, and the philosophical background of studies on these themes in comparative religion, anthropology, and history of religion. What questions arise from the philosophical point of view with regard to magic and religious rituals? What is the difference between religious and magical/animistic beliefs and practices? Are animism, magic, and religion normative concepts? Is religiosity exclusively human phenomenon, or can animals have religious or ritual behavior, too?
C. Religion without theology
Monotheistic traditions in particular have emphasized that one important aspect of religious activity is theology, which can be seen as a systematic attempt to rationally analyze religious concepts and realities. When described in this way, religion comes before theology and religious metaphysical systems: there needs to be a religion first so that there can be theology about it. However, many modern and post-modern philosophers have argued that detailed theological doctrines and metaphysical constructions are irrelevant and misleading aspects of religious phenomena. Should religion and especially religious practice then be seen as the only meaningful feature in religion? Is theological reflection needed for religion? In addition, some, especially atheist or naturalist, thinkers prefer to talk about spirituality instead of religion.
This session invites papers concentrating on the manifold relationships between religion, spirituality and theology. If religion does not need theology or metaphysics, then religion must be capable of maintaining itself without them. But is this obvious? Can religion function without theology? What could this mean? What are the differences and similarities between spirituality and religion?
D. A special Symposium organized by the Centre of Excellence Reason and Religious Recognition (University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland): ‘Recognition and Religion’
Invited keynote speakers: Wayne Proudfoot, Thomas Schmidt, Heikki Ikäheimo
The Centre of Excellence Reason and Religious Recognition (University of Helsinki and Academy of Finland) organizes in conjunction with the 5th Nordic Conference in Philosophy of Religion a one-day symposium titled ‘Recognition and Religion’. This special symposium, to be held on the 11th of June 2015, only features invited presentations.
The notion of recognition has been widely discussed by scholars working on Hegel, critical theory, and the French tradition, as well as those working on contemporary social and political philosophy. Recognition may be seen as an intermediary concept between the less demanding concept of toleration and that of full agreement. Toleration is a prerequisite for the flourishing of multicultural societies. Moreover, mutual recognition between various religious and other groups is necessary for the development of positive group identities as well as for social cohesion. But what are the conditions for the possibility of recognition? Do for example religious identities promote individual and social flourishing, or does religion simply foster attitudes of intolerance? In what ways does recognition contribute to the constitution of individual and group identities? These and other themes will be discussed in this symposium.
We invite max 300 words abstracts of papers on topics A, B and C. The due date of the abstracts is 16th February 2015. The abstracts should be sent to email@example.com and must include applicant’s name, professional affiliation and the title of the paper.
For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference is arranged by Nordic Society for Philosophy of Religion, the Centre of Excellence Reason and Religious Recognition, the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, the Faculty of Theology in University of Helsinki and the project Philosophy of religion and the method of philosophy in the Department of Systematic Theology in University of Helsinki.
The conference planners are Timo Koistinen, Simo Knuuttila, Sami Pihlström, Hanne Appelqvist, Heikki J. Koskinen, Hanna Ronikonmäki and Dan-Johan Eklund.
25 - 28
21st European Conference on Philosophy of Religion
The 21st European Conference on Philosophy of Religion will be from 25th - 28th of August 2016 and take place in Uppsala (Sweden) on the subject of "Evil".
Contact: Dr. Ulf Zackariasson - email@example.com
President of the ESPR is Dr. Ulf Zackariasson; Vice-Presidents are Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans. Dr. Victoria Harrison, Prof. Dr. Peter Jonkers and Dr. Janusz Salamon.
Members of the Board of the Society are:
University of Münster, Germany
Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans
University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Dr. Victoria Harrison
University of Tilburg, Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Peter Jonkers
Charles University Prague, Czech Rep.
Dr. Janusz Salamon
University of Uppsala, Sweden
Dr. Ulf Zackariasson
The Society was founded in 1976 with the aim to arrange regular biennial European conferences on the philosophy of religion. These conferences are intended to further the study of the philosophy of religion and the cooperation between philosophers of religion in Europe. Originally the conferences were set up as joint meetings of the British Christian Philosophers Group (later to become the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion), the GermanScandinavian Society for Philosophy of Religion and the Netherlands Society for Philosophy of Religion. However, from the very beginning, philosophers of religion who were not members of these organizations, also from outside Europe, were always welcome.
At the 9th conference in Aarhus, it was decided to have official statutes drawn up for the Society and to have the Society officially registered as such. The draft statutes were approved by the general meeting of the Society in Swansea in September 1994 and officially registered before a notary on the 24th of June 1996 by professors Vincent Brümmer and Henk Vroom, who at the time were president and treasurer of the Society. Included below is a copy of the official statutes of the Society as these are entered in the Register of Societies at the Utrecht Chamber of Commerce [Kamer van Koophandel en Fabrieken], as well as an English translation for use in the Society.
"Transforming Religion", ESPR President: Hans-Peter Grosshans (Münster), Conference commitee: Hans-Peter Grosshans (Münster) and Klaus Müller (Münster)
"Embodied Religion", ESPR President: Peter Jonkers (Tilburg), Conference commitee: Peter Jonkers (Tilburg) and Marcel Sarot (Utrecht)
"Religion in the Public Sphere", ESPR and conference President: Roger Trigg (Oxford)
"Sacrifice", ESPR President: Marius Timmann Mjaaland (Oslo), Conference commitee: Marius Timmann Mjaaland (Oslo) and Jan-Olav Henriksen (Oslo)
"Religion after Metaphysics", ESPR President: Ingolf U. Dalferth (Zürich), Conference commitee: Ingolf U. Dalferth (Zürich) and Hans-Peter Grosshans (Tübingen)
"The Criticism of Enlightenment", ESPR President: Henk Vroom (Amsterdam), Conference commitee: Henk Vroom (Amsterdam), Lieven Boeve (Leuven), Joeri Schrijvers (Leuven)
"Religion, Aesthetics and the concept of the Imagination", ESPR and Conference President: Douglas Hedley (Cambridge)
"The Future of Religion and the Future of Suspicion", ESPR and conference President: Reijo Työrinoja (Helsinki)
"The Concept of Religion", ESPR and conference President: Ingolf U. Dalferth (Zürich)
"Revelation and Experience", ESPR and conference President: Vincent Brümmer (Utrecht)
"The Concept of 'Person', human Subjectivity and its Consequences for the Philosophy of Religion", ESPR President: Michael Durrant (Cardiff), Conference commitee: Michael Durrant (Cardiff) and Dewi Zephania Phillips (Swansea)
"Traditional Theism and its modern Alternatives", ESPR and conference President: Svend Andersen (Aarhus)
"Divine Agency", ESPR and conference President: Ingolf Dalferth (Tübingen)
"Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Language and their Relevance for the Study of Religious Discourse", ESPR and conference President: Vincent Brümmer (Utrecht)
"Philosophy and Eschatology", ESPR and conference President: Michael Durrant (Cardiff)
"The Concept of Revelation", ESPR and conference President: Hampus Lyttkens (Lund)
"The Concept of Sin", ESPR and conference President: Eilert Herms (Munich)
"Religion and Understanding", ESPR and conference President: Vincent Brümmer (Utrecht)
"Transcendence and Religious Experience", ESPR and conference President: Donald Hudson (Exeter)
"Recent Subjects in Philosophy of Religion", ESPR and conference President: Hampus Lyttkens (Lund)
If you want to be on the Mailing-list of the European Society for the Philosophy of Religion you can register with this formula, which will be send to the secretary of Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans, who is one of the Vice-Presidents of ESPR.
Selection of Short Papers at the ESPR Conference 2014
1. The name of the society is the European Society for Philosophy of Religion.
2. The Society is registered in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3. The Society is founded for an unlimited period of time.
1. The aim of the society is to promote the study of the Philosophy of Religion in Europe and to undertake actions which directly or indirectly further or have a bearing on this aim.
2. The Society will try to achieve this aim by means of biennial European conferences for scholars engaged in teaching and/or research in the philosophy of religion, and by all other legal means which are considered necessary or useful in order to realize its stated aim.
3. The location of these conferences will rotate between various European geographical Areas including at least: (a) the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, (b) the Benelux, (c) German speaking countries, (d) Nordic and Baltic region, and (e) Central and Eastern Europe.
The Society year consists of two consecutive calender years. The first Society year started on the first of September nineteen hundred and seventy six and ended on the thirty first of December nineteen hundred and seventy eight.
1. Membership of the Society is open to scholars engaged in teaching and/or research in the Philosophy of Religion. Members are appointed by the Board, to whom applications for membership should be submitted.
2. The Board keeps a register of the names and addresses of all members. Members are required to inform their representative on the Board directly of any change in address.
Members are required to pay a biennial membership fee as determined by the General Meeting of the Society.
1. Membership is terminated by:
1. The death of the member;
2. Cancelation of membership by the member;
3. Cancelation of membership by the society;
4. Expulsion from the Society.
5. Nonpayment of membership fee within six months after the end of the society year.
2. Cancelation of membership and expulsion from the Society occur in accordance with Dutch law.
The Board of the Society consist of at least four and not more than six members elected by the General Meeting of the Society from among its members. Each of the geographical areas mentioned in article 2.3 should be represented by one member in the Board. The member in whose area the next biennial conference is to be held, will act as President of the Society.
1. Board members are elected for a period of four years, except when the General Meeting of the Society should decide otherwise. At the end of this period, Board members are eligible for reelection. In accordance with Article 7, the president is appointed for the period between two conferences.
2. Membership of the Board is terminated when a Board member: 1. ends his/her membership of the Society 2. resigns from the Board in writing 3. loses his/her capacity to function as Board member.
3. If a vacancy should occur in the Board during the period between two General Meetings of the Society, the Board will be entitled to appoint a temporary representative for the geographical area not represented on the Board. This representative will serve on the Board until the next General Meeting of the Society, when the vacancy will be filled.
4. Any Board member can be dismissed at any time by the General Meeting of the Society.
1. The function of president rotates among Board members in the sense that the Board member in whose area the next biennial conference is to be held, functions as president. The remaining board members function as vice presidents.
2. Decisions can only be taken in the Board when at least half the members are present. Decisions can also be taken without a meeting, provided that all Board members express their views on the relevant issue in writing.
3. All decisions in the Board are taken by majority vote.
The management of the Society is vested in the Board. The Board is entitled to delegate any of its tasks provided these are clearly circumscribed. Persons to whom such tasks are delegated, act under the responsibility of the Board.
The Society is legally represented by the Board. It can also be represented by two Board members acting jointly.
1. The Board shall conduct the financial administration of the Society in such a way that the rights and duties of the Society can be made known at all times.
2. At the General Meeting of the Society the Board shall report on the activities of the Society and submit a financial report for the period since the previous General Meeting
1. A General Meeting of the Society will be held during every biennial conference of the Society referred to in Article 16 below.
2. Further General Meetings of the Society may be convened whenever the Board deems this necessary.
1. The General Meeting of the Society is convened by the Board. At least fourteen days before the General Meeting all members are invited to attend. Convocations are sent in writing to the members' addresses as these occur in the register kept by the Board.
2. Convocations for the General Meeting are accompanied by a written agenda.
3. All members of the Society are admitted to the General Meeting. The Board may also invite others to attend the General Meeting.
1. All members are entitled to vote at the General Meeting of the Society Each member can cast one vote.
2. Decisions are taken by majority of the valid votes cast.
1. The Board shall convene a biennial conference of the Society, by rotation in the area from which the current president comes.
2. The president shall be responsible for organizing the conference. In this heshe shall be assisted by the other members of the Board in working out the programme and inviting the speakers. Each Board member shall be responsible for the contacts with the members from the area which heshe represents.
3. In organizing the conference, the president shall be assisted by a secretary and a treasurer from the area where the conference is to be held. Together they form the conference committee. The secretary and treasurer are nominated by the president and appointed by the Board.
4. The Board can invite scholars from other countries who are not members of the Society to take part in the conference.
1. Changes in the statutes of the Society can only be made by decision of the General Meeting of the Society.
2. The written text of proposed changes are to be sent in advance to the members with the convocation for the General Meeting.
3. A decision to change the statutes can only be taken by a twothirds majority of the valid votes cast at the General Meeting of the Society.
Statutory changes take effect after these have been legally registered. Any Board member is empowered to sign the relevant registration documents.
1. The Society can be dissolved by a decision of the General Meeting taken in accordance with Article 17 above.
2. The Board members function as liquidators of the Society. Wherever applicable, the statutes remain valid during the period of liquidation.
3. In the event of dissolution of the Society, any accounts remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts shall be applied to charitable purposes of a like nature of those of the Society, such at the discretion of the General Meeting.
4. After dissolution the accounts of the Society shall be held in safe keeping for a period of ten years by some person nominated by the General Meeting.
(These statutes were approved by the General Meeting of the Society in Swansea in September 1994. A revision of these statutes was approved by the General Meeting of the Society in Muenster in August 2014.)