Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Theology Workshop is pleased to be co-sponsoring, with the Late Antiquity & Byzantium Workshop, a presentation by Aaron Hollander, PhD student in Theology. The paper is entitled “Paradox and Wonder: The Catastrophic Holiness of Saint Symeon the Fool, and will be submitted as the orals statement for Aaron’s qualifying examination in the Autumn.

Tuesday, May 28th * 4:30 – 6:00 pm * Cochrane-Woods Arts Center, Room 152

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The Theology Workshop warmly invites you to participate in the capstone event of our spring quarter sequence, “Imagining Evil.” Professor Jean-Luc Marion and Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr, distinguished members of the Divinity School faculty, will join us to lead a dialogue on “the logic of evil” in modernity.

Tuesday, May 21st

4:30-6:00 pm (with reception to follow)

Swift Hall Common Room (first floor)

Marion: Evil begins with experiences of injury and injustice, then leads either to revenge or to resentment. So it is more about my own identity than the other. Its logic leads eventually to ideological or physical suicide.

Mendes-Flohr: Jean-Luc Marion’s meditation on “the logic of evil” seems to call into question the prophetic injunction to transcend our personal suffering and identify compassionately with that of the disinherited members of society, and to “Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the cause of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). But what empowers the prophetic ethos? Certainly it is not a mere altruistic consciousness, or a version of the Kantian ethical imperative. Our readiness to heed the prophetic calling, as Marion suggests, is often crippled by personal woe, ressentiment, and the anguish engendered by the witness to the enormity of the evil that surrounds us—captured by reference to Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Biafra, and 9/11. Perhaps one may take counsel from the biblical and rabbinic authors who acknowledge that the prophetic ethos alone is insufficient, for it is to be animated by the divine pathos.

This event is free and open to the public. No advance preparation is expected of participants. Persons with a disability who would request assistance, please contact Aaron in advance at athollander@uchicago.edu.

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Please join the Theology Workshop for the next in our series of discussions on “Imagining Evil,” on Tuesday, May 14th, 12:00-1:30 pm, in Swift 200. Ekaterina Lomperis, PhD student in Theology, will present her upcoming conference paper, entitled “Faithful Medics, Faithful Patients:  Non-Idolatrous Health Care in Martin Luther’s Theological Writings.” Tim Hiller, PhD candidate in Theology, will respond. Lunch will be served.

Abstract:

Is there a religiously appropriate way for a Christian medical caretaker to conceive of her work of helping others heal?  Does her offering preventative care or human-designed medical intervention to help sick Christians signify the lack of trust on part of both the doctor and the patient in God’s benevolence and healing power?  What are the ultimate ends towards which Christian medical care should be practiced?  The paper examines theological responses to these concerns as found in the works of Martin Luther. Informed by his perpetual worry about idolatry in Christian living and humans’ susceptibility to the deceits of the Devil, Luther’s theology of medical care addresses the proper regard of sickness by both patients and caretakers, affirmative view of medical care, and Christian doctors’ due understanding of their work as a self-sacrificial rather than gainful service.  Yet Luther’s ultimate concern was with the doctor and the patient’s internal dispositions towards the enterprise of healing rather than with external actions of curing.  For Luther, maintaining an attitude of hope in God alone, and withstanding the temptation of alternatively putting one’s trust in the effectiveness of medical science, while offering and receiving medical care, is a matter of greater importance than the material outcome of medical intervention.  Otherwise, both the healer and the healed risk falling into the trap of dangerous idolatries of self-reliance and the foolish lust for wellbeing.  My paper will demonstrate that such spiritual dangers, in a world deadly stricken by sin, are, for Luther, graver threats than the harm of physical sickness.

No preparation is expected of workshop participants. Persons with a disability who would request assistance, please contact Aaron in advance at athollander@uchicago.edu.

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