The UChicago Theology Workshop

Aaron HollanderMonday, April 7, 2014 12:00 noon-1:25 pm Swift Hall, Room 200

Join us for a special joint session of the Theology Workshop and the Workshop on Late Antiquity and Byzantium for Aaron’s Hollander’s paper, “A Heart Like Bright Water: Contemplating and Cultivating Holiness with the Theological Metaphor of Evagrius Ponticus”.

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Olivia BustionMonday, January 13, 2014 12:00 noon-1:30 pm Swift Hall, Room 200

What do queer culture, Star Trek fandom, and the Quiverfull movement have in common?  Come find out at the next Theology Workshop, where Olivia Bustion will present her work-in-progress, “Counterpublic Theology and Pacifist Ways of Knowing (with John Howard Yoder and Virginia Woolf).”  The essay maps out a new way for theology to travel publicly, namely, ‘counterpublic theology.’

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20130926_162824Monday, December 2, 2013 12:00 noon-1:30 pm Swift 106

Join us for Barnabas Pusnur’s paper, “Narsai and the theological articulation of Identity”.

Narsai was a fifth century Syriac Christian theologian who wrote homilies in poetic form.He lived at the cultural and geographical boundaries of the Roman and Persian Empires. The paper attempts to study Narsai’s theological articulation of identity in relation to his historical context.
Evan Kuehn will be responding.

Berhan Selassie (1)

Monday, November 18, 2013 12:00 noon-1:30 pm Swift 106

Join us for Andrew DeCort’s paper, “”Authority, Martyrdom, and the Question of Axiality in Ethiopian Political Theology””

This paper will (i)  briefly converse with Bellah’s description of sacral kingship and the transition to ‘axiality’ in his Religion in Human Evolution; (ii) show how early Ethiopian Axumite civilization was essentially a sacral kingship; (iii) argue that this basic understanding of authority didn’t change substantially with the Christianization of Ethiopia in the fourth century under Ezana and following to the medieval period; and (iv) investigate to what extent Abba Estifanos should or should not be understood as one of the first clear cases of “axiality” in Ethiopian politico-religious history (in short, Estifanos challenged the emperor Zara Yaqob based on a notion of ‘divine law’ that transcended royal law and the king’s claim to represent God). As a final step (v) I will make some remarks about the ongoing relevance of this medieval martyr and his ‘school’ for contemporary Christian theology in Ethiopia confronted by political oppression and the temptation to retreat into political silence. In short, I will be making the claim that Christian theology in Ethiopia, among other things, should – and periodically has – challenge(d) prevailing notions of authority with a constructive vision of ‘martyrdom’ (which doesn’t simply mean dying).


Evan Kuehn will respond. You can find the paper here (UChicago ID and password needed). Please feel free but not obligated to read the paper in preparation. Please email contact if you are not a University of Chicago affiliate but would like to look at the paper in preparation for the workshop meeting.


A light lunch will be served.



Shannon Craigo-Snell, “Performing Epistemologies of Resistance”

Wednesday, November 13, 4:30-6pm, University of Chicago Divinity School, Swift Lecture Hall


The theme of Alternative Epistemologies raises the question: alternative to what? This presentation explores two different accounts of modern epistemology and its discontents. The first, articulated in feminist theory, implicates the drive to singularity in modern thought. It critiques the judgment that there is a single path to an objective, universal truth. The second, articulated in performance theory, analyzes the role of the written word in colonialism, identifying political imperatives and implications of text-based knowledge. Taken together, these distinct accounts offer insights into epistemology as a possible arena for political resistance.


Shannon Craigo-Snell is Professor of Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Faculty Director for the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Her published works include Silence, Love, and Death: Saying “Yes” to God in the Theology of Karl Rahner (Marquette, 2008) and Living Christianity: A Pastoral Theology for Today, which is co-authored with Shawnthea Monroe (Fortress, 2009). More of her work on theology and performance will be found in her forthcoming book, The Empty Church: Theatre, Theology, and Hope (Oxford,  2014).


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