This Unit promotes new constructive work in Christian systematic theology that is in dialogue with the historical Christian theological traditions on the one hand and with all aspects of the contemporary context on the other — intellectual movements, methodologies, multiple theological and religious perspectives, and ethical/social/political contexts.
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Christian Systematic Theology Unit
Call for Proposals
The Christian Systematic Theology Section invites proposals for individual papers or complete panels related to our theme of participation. We invite proposals to consider the nature of participation as deployed in Christian theology. We welcome both arguments for and against the use of participation as a theological category, as well as discussions making use of this category to advance substantive claims. We are especially interested in work that clearly indicates just what is meant by its use of the term, filling it out with specific and meaningful content.
We are also interested in proposals for a possible co-sponsored session with the Eastern Orthodox Unit on the question of universal salvation. Within Orthodox Christian traditions, patristic authors have espoused varying conceptions of heaven, hell, apokatastasis, and the hope that even the devil might be eventually saved. From Origen and Isaac of Nineveh, to the modern St. Silouan the Athonite and Sergii Bulgakov, influential theologians and philosophers have questioned how beliefs in God’s ultimate love and compassion might be balanced with commitments to divine justice and human freedom hypothesizing the salvation of all. Recent scholarship has prompted renewed interest in theologies of universal salvation more broadly—notably, David Bentley Hart’s That All shall be Saved: Heaven, Hell & Universal Salvation (Yale University Press, 2019), Ilaria Ramelli’s The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013), and Michael J. McClymond’s The Devil’s Redemption: An Interpretation of the Christian Debate over Universal Salvation (Baker Academic, 2018). For this session, we invite proposals for individual papers and pre-arranged panels on all aspects of, and approaches to universal salvation. In addition to addressing theological and philosophical inquiries and scholarship related this topic, we also welcome proposals that comparatively address universal salvation in other religions and Western Christian traditions, and in diverse forms of Orthodox Christian expression (hymns, icons, liturgical rites, lived practice, etc.).
Papers should be constructive or synthetic rather than merely historical or analytical in nature, but grounding in traditional texts and discussions is desired. We especially invite proposals related to the following sub-themes:
• Transformation (in God and in creatures), including justification and sanctification
• Ethics (imitatio Christi)
• Suffering and embodiment as participation in Christ
• Theological participation applied to political participation and/or issues of social justice
• Exclusion within / from the Christian community
• Conversations with Orthodoxy (synergy, theosis)
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Adams, Nicholas, University of BirminghamMember Since: 2017
Carnes, Natalie, Baylor UniversityMember Since: 2015
Fodor, Jim, St. Bonaventure UniversityMember Since: 2015
McClain, Daniel Wade, College of William & MaryMember Since: 2015
Newsome Martin, Jennifer, University of Notre DameMember Since: 2019
Wong, Jessica, Azusa Pacific UniversityMember Since: 2018