PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Ecclesiological Investigations Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is a part of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network, which seeks to serve as a hub for national and international collaboration in ecclesiology, drawing together other groups and networks, initiating research ventures, providing administrative support, as well as acting as a facilitator to support conversations, research, and education in this field. Hence the Network exists to promote collaborative ecclesiology. The Network’s five fundamental aims are as follows:

• The establishment of partnerships between scholars, research projects, and research centers across the world
• The development of virtual, textual, and actual conversation between the many persons and groups involved in research and debate about ecclesiology
• Organizing and sharing in colloquia, symposia, and conferences
• Encouraging joint teaching and exchanges of postgraduate students and faculty
• The Unit seeks to publish the best fruits of all such collaboration in our new Palgrave Series, Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, as well as in the journal Ecclesiology (Brill), published in association with the Network. The Network is a “network of networks” serving a “church of churches.” See http://www.ei-research.net/ for more information.

Call for Papers: 

● Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: Impact and Reception -
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church. With the World Methodist Council, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the Anglican Communion affirming the JDDJ, this bilateral agreement has now developed into a multilateral document. The JDDJ opened new ecumenical horizons, but has not led to visible structural Unity. It has also raised objections among some Lutheran theologians. In this session, we will consider the impact and the reception of the JDDJ in theological, magisterial, practical, and other terms. We invite papers that focus on JDDJ-related developments on the global, regional and/or local levels from a variety of perspectives (doctrinal, ecumenical, ecclesial, cultural, linguistic, methodological, etc.). One of the questions that could be explored is why the JDDJ has so far not been received (or is not even well-known) by the “local communities.” We are open to papers from scholars who belong to the signatory churches of the JDDJ and who are associated with traditions that have not signed the JDDJ. Such contributions could also examine the JDDJ's impact and reception in the wider ecumenical movement. We are also interested in studies that explore the methodology used in the JDDJ, the “differentiated consensus” it invokes, its impact on more recent dialogues, and its limitations and potential for future ecumenical dialogue, as well as in proposals for how this ecumenical methodology might be developed further.

● Doing Public Theology: Theologians and Theological Academic Institutions in Public Spaces -
In this session, we wish to explore the role of Christian theology and the institutions where it is developed in contributing to public theology. One area of interest here is the theologian as public intellectual, focusing on the personal and vocational consequences of her or his visible public engagement in this discourse. Questions that might be raised include: How do scholars navigate the costs and sacrifices (familial, professional, institutional) of public engagement in the interest of the church? Are churches truly engaged in protecting the role of the scholar in public? How do publicly engaged scholars understand their vocations/callings and sustain them? Do churches and academic/ecclesial-academic institutions provide theologians with the academic freedom necessary for public engagement and are they promoting new generations of theologians who will carry this engagement forward? A second area of interest is how theologians navigate public engagement and ecclesial ties. How does theological education for ecclesial ministry serve the public good? What happens when these types of service come into conflict? What patterns of theological discernment shape wisdom in different public spheres? Are there boundaries around the personal and the professional in the new territory of social media and civic protest? Finally, we are interested in proposals that explore the corporate, ecclesial contribution to public discourse, particularly in a post-truth and highly polarized and divisive context or in the face of shrinking public spaces and creeping authoritarianism globally.

Crisis in the Church: Patterns of Abuse as Challenge and Opportunity for Reform (For a planned joint-session with the Vatican II Studies Unit) -
The sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, both past and present, and related patterns of abuse of power by church leaders who valued the protection of the institution over the needs of victims in country after country point to a systemic failure of church leadership, structures, and practices. Efforts to cover-up the full extent of abuse and misconduct perpetrated by the ministers of the church have given rise to an unprecedented crisis of confidence and sense of betrayal by Christians world-wide, and have profoundly damaged the church’s credibility as a witness to the gospel in the world. What might we learn from the broad history of Christianity, the Second Vatican Council, and the experience of ecumenical partners? What insights might present theology and teaching contribute to a substantial renewal of ecclesiology and to the reform of structures and practices so as to ensure greater accountability and transparency in church governance and in the administration of ecclesiastical justice? Where might the limits of contemporary theology and practice need to be met by new visions, complemented by the resources of the synodal tradition, or by the knowledge of contemporary sciences?

Method: 
PAPERS
Process: 
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
Leadership: 
ChairSteering Committee