Between Kant and Hegel: Alexandre Kojève and the End of Law

Law, Theology & Culture & The End of Law Seminar 1/6, 16:00: Between Kant and Hegel: Alexandre Kojève and the End of Law.

We are happy to announce the second Law, Theology and Culture lecture (organized together with the project End of Law) on Tuesday 1st of June 16.00 to 18.00.

Our guest is Jeff Love, Research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University and translator from German, Russian, and Portuguese.

Alexandre Kojève is best known for the influential lectures he gave on Hegel to an enthralled audience of French intellectuals including Raymond Aron, Henry Corbin, Jacques Lacan, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Aside from these lectures, published in 1947 as Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Kojéve published relatively little before his death in 1968. Yet, he left over 26 boxes of unpublished material on a variety of topics, from quantum physics and the continuum hypothesis to a major treatise on law called Outline of a Phenomenology of Right (Esquisse d’une phénoménologie du droit). Kojève wrote this treatise (586 pages in the French book edition) in 1943 while living in Vichy France. He expounds in it a comprehensive theory of justice and the universal homogeneous state that promises to usher in the end of history and perhaps of law itself. In my talk, I shall examine some of the central legal features of Kojève’s  universal and homogeneous state and consider whether Kojève actually affirms that history can be brought to an end through a final legal regime or not. In this respect, Kojève reprises his end of history thesis from the Hegel lectures as well as putting it in question, opposing Hegelian finality to what Kojeve terms Kantian “skepticism” about final ends. 

Jeff Love is Research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University. He is the author of The Black Circle: A Life of Alexandre Kojève (Columbia University Press, 2018), Tolstoy: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2008), and The Overcoming of History in War and Peace (Brill, 2004). He has also published a translation of Alexandre Kojève’s Atheism (Columbia University Press, 2018), an annotated translation (with Johannes Schmidt) of F.W. J. Schelling’s Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom (State University of New York Press, 2006), and recently a translation of António Lobo Antunes’s novel Until Stones Become Lighter Than Water (Yale University Press, 2019).

Time: Jun 1, 2021 16:00 Stockholm

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Public Theologies in Vibrating Cities: Precious and Precarious, call for working groups

VII CONSULTATION CURITIBA, BRAZIL, 03-06 OCTOBER, 2022 Public Theologies in Vibrating Cities: Precious and Precarious
Call for Working Groups

Cities vibrate, shine, resonate. They are vibrant, tourist brochures tell us – lively, that is, interesting for those who seek for good food, nightlife, and entertainment. But much more than that, public life is vibrating. What do these vibrations mean? What kind of vibrations are we feeling? Which ones are we systematically closing our senses to? Cities are both precious and precarious. They represent the precious: creativity, mobility, sound, colour, construction, organization, interaction. But they also feature the precarious: poverty, traffic jams, noise, smog, destruction, chaos, exclusion. A diversity of publics, of interests, of beliefs, of needs, of longings and belongings emerge from the cities. Thus, by amplifying our understanding on publics and theologies, by appreciating the preciousness and discovering the precariousness, by realizing that there is preciousness in what is considered precarious, and that there is precarity in what is regarded as precious, we believe that there may be a more complete analysis of cities’ ambiguities and the critical and constructive role public theology can play in this context.

These are some of the issues the upcoming 7th Global Network for Public Theology (GNPT) Consultation intends to address. Alongside panels and lectures, our Working Groups will help us think through current challenges and possibilities for public theologies in vibrating cities. As a new development in the GNPT Consultations, we invite you to send us Working Group proposals first, and individual proposals per Working Group later, following a second call. This initiative follows the purpose of articulating continuous research and exchange of different groups connected to the network, beyond and in-between Consultations. Such Working Groups need not necessarily reflect the above-mentioned Consultation theme; however, they have to show a clear connection to public theology. There could be, for instance, a “Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Public Theology Working Group”, joining those for whom research on Bonhoeffer in this perspective ranks high in their interest, academic and practical engagement.

The call will be open for application till the end of June. Thereafter, the Executive shall analyse the proposals and decide either to accept, to ask for amendment (also asking for possible mergers of similar groups), or to reject the application. In a second call, in early 2022, for individual papers, the application will be directly sent to a specific Working Group whose leadership will be responsible for the acceptance, amendment, or rejection of the paper proposals. The Working Groups Call is open to different institutions, but there should be at least one representative of a GNPT Member Institution in each proposal.

The proposal must contain:

1. At least two and at most three proponents representing different institutions, preferentially from different countries. At least one proponent should be connected to a GNPT Member Institution.
2. A short academic biography of each proponent.
3. A Title.
4. An Abstract. The abstract, written in English, should be no longer than 250 words. It should give a succinct account of context, the objectives, and significance of the matter the Working Group is aiming to address. It should also mention previous collaboration within or beyond the GNPT on the proposed topic.
5. Keywords.

Proposals shall be sent to by June 30, 2021, 18.00 hours BRT. The GNPT Executive will then proceed to analysis and make a decision by August 15, 2021, whereafter the proposers will be informed about the decision taken.

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Islamsk rettstradisjon i europeisk lovgjeving: Sicilia, England, Kastilja og Noreg

Article by Torbjørn Kalberg in Kirke og kultur.

I vestleg idéhistorie har ein ikkje brydd seg stort om å drøfte islamsk påverknad på kristen europeisk kulturutvikling. Islam hadde nok ein viss påverknad når det galdt arkitektur og språk, og kan hende når det galdt formidling av gresk filosofi, arabarane hadde jo tilgang til dei klassiske skriftene før dei vart kjende i europeiske kjerneområde. Men når det gjeld lov og rett har tonen vore avvisande. Berre kristentrua skapte eit juridisk system med fridom for den einskilde. Den europeiske rettsstaten var noko eineståande, eit førebilete for alle andre kulturar. Dette synet er ikkje lenger einerådande. Forskarar viser no til samband mellom tidlege uttrykk for samlande lovgjeving i europeiske statar og den islamske rettshistoria.

Bolsonaro og hans evangelikale støttespillere i Brasil: Sekularisme under nytt press?

Article by Ole Jakob Løland & Yuri Kasahara in Kirke og Kultur.

Evangelical Christians have been a growing political force in Latin America. In Brazil, particularly, the election of the rightwing candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president in 2018 made the political relevance of evangelical Christians clearer than ever. The support of evangelicals was a key element for Bolsonaro’s victory. His political debt is reflected in a rhetoric that emphasizes the importance of evangelical Christian values and this rhetoric often blurs the separation between the state and religion. In this article, we analyze the political impact of evangelical Christians in Brazil and discuss to what extent the alliance between this group and president Bolsonaro represents a threat to Brazil’s secularist tradition.

Med valget av Jair Messias Bolsonaro som Brasils president i 2018 ble de evangelikale kristne sin politiske makt i landet mer tydelig enn noen gang. For første gang hadde de mest profilerte protestantiske lederne omfavnet samme presidentkandidat. Det bidro til seier for høyrekandidaten Bolsonaro – som siden har basert seg på alliansen med dette nye kristne høyre i Latin-Amerikas største økonomi. Det er en allianse som setter landets sekularistiske tradisjon under press.

Theological Genealogies of Modernity

International virtual conference on the stories of how we came to inhabit the modern world

8-11 July, 13:00-16:50 (BST)

Genealogies of modernity are broad narrative accounts of the rise and nature of our present cultural condition. Theology nearly always features, in some way or another, in narratives about the formation of modernity, even if its role is just being a discourse and set of practices that was gradually marginalized by the onset of a more secular age. This conference gathers together an international team of scholars to explore genealogies of modernity sympathetically and to evaluate them critically. The contributors will discuss a range of important figures and focused topics, and they will pay special attention to stories that are often, though perhaps unhelpfully, understood as decline narratives—accounts of modernity that do not associate it unambiguously with progress. So-called decline genealogies have significant influence within theology across several confessional traditions, but like any narrative with the massive scope of a genealogy of modernity, making a case for them is necessarily complex. How are “decline” narratives and other accounts constructed? If these stories seek to do something more than just to describe historical processes, how do subtly normative dimensions enter into them? How do genealogical narratives look from the perspective of constituencies that are often marginalized?

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Conference Papers

Christine Helmer, “Gen[der]ealogy: A Theological Account”

Jonathan Teubner, “Liberal Progress, Historical Decline: Adolf von Harnack and the Practice of Historical Theology in the United States”

Cyril O’Regan, “Heidegger’s Apocalyptic Philosophy and the Return of Marcionism”

Brad Gregory, “Is Global Ecological Disaster a Sufficient Criterion for a ‘Narrative of Decline?’ Capitalism, Liberalism, and the Anthropocene”

Joel Rasmussen, “A Vote of Thanks to Nietzsche: Christianity, Modernity, and Cultural Plurality”

John Milbank, “Theology, Philosophy and History”

Silvianne Aspray, “How Then Should We Write Genealogies? A Proposal”

Ragnar Misje Bergem, “The Spirit of Modernity and its Fate”

Peter Harrison, “Genealogy, Normativity, and Naturalism”

Darren Sarisky, “Recharacterizing ‘Decline’ Narratives”

Pui-Him Ip, “Spiritual Exegesis, Ressourcement, and Theological Genealogies”

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Whose Memory? Which Future?

New article by Jayne Svenungsson in Jan-Ivar Lindén (ed.), To Understand What is Happening: Essays on Historicity (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2021), 115–127.

This paper was originally presented in conversation with Christoph Türcke and Bernhard Waldenfels as part of the event ‘The Future of Memory’, which took place in Helsinki in 2019. The paper offers a reflection on the theme against the backdrop of recent developments in memory politics, both in the Swedish context and more generally. Alluding to MacIntyre’s classical work Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, I argue that there is a close relation between memory politics and the ways in which we are able to conceive of the future. In other words, while MacIntyre argued that there is a correlation between ahistorical notions of rationality and poor conceptions of justice, I similarly contend that uniform constructions of the past tend to breed exclusory and potentially repressive visions of our future societies. An open and critical discussion of whose memory we tend to favour in our constructions of the past is therefore essential to our ability to conceive of the future in constructive and dynamic ways. It is also, I argue, essential for the future of memory itself as a critical element in any democratic society.

Ole Hallesbys politiske tenkning og samfunnskritikk i møte med nazismen

New article by Arvid Nærø in Teologisk tidsskrift

Professor Ole Hallesby held a central position in the Norwegian Church’s struggle for independence during the Nazi occupation of our country from 1940 to 1945. In this article his attitudes and actions as leader during the occupation will be related to his social criticism, which had been expressed since the early 1930s, among which was a theologically founded antisemitism. His close co-operation with the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and SS Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Wagner will be presented and documented. Ole Hallesby’s social criticism from this period is characterized by the frequent interconnection of political and theological views and arguments in his thinking and by a reciprocal justification of the two.

CfP: Being human – Anthropology through the eyes of modern science and biblical faith

Teologiska föreningen Theofil invites paper proposals for a conference on 25-26 October 2021 in Lund, Sweden. The keynote speaker is Professor Alister McGrath, Oxford.

Vi välkomnar papers som i konstruktiv dialog med den kristna traditionen behandlar teologisk antropologi. Bidragen kan antingen relatera till konferensens fokus på naturvetenskapliga och exegetiska perspektiv på antropologi, men även andra perspektiv är välkomna (t.ex. etiska eller teologi -historiska)

Varje paper får 20 minuter till presentation och beroende på antalet inkomna bidrag tid för respons. Vi planerar att efter konferensen kunna publicera en konferens-volym med bidrag från konferensen.

I urvalsprocessen kommer särskilt bidrag från masterstudenter och doktorander at beaktas. Sammanfattning om max 400 ord insänds senast 23 juli 2021, till

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Med bønnens kraft: Et islamisk og kristent arabisk perspektiv på covid-19

Article by Ehab Galal in Tidsskrift for Islamforskning.

I de arabiske lande har covid-19, ligesom andre steder i verden, ført til restriktioner af den religiøse praksis, blandt andet i form af periodevis lukkede kirker og moskeer. Ligeledes har religiøse autoriteter med henvisning til religionen deltaget i debatten om covid-19’s betydning og håndtering. På denne baggrund analyseres i denne artikel, hvordan religiøse argumenter bekræfter henholdsvis udfordrer de arabiske staters håndtering af covid-19 i foråret 2020, og hvordan disse afspejler samspillet mellem stat og religion. Mens staterne gør brug af sundhedsvidenskabelig og sekulær argumentation, identificeres tre positioner blandt religiøse autoriteter: de, der støtter op om og med henvisning til religionen legitimerer staternes håndtering af covid-19; de, der finder alle svar i religionen og undgår at tale om politik; og de, der afviser og mistænkeliggør statens linje. Således afspejler debatten om håndtering af covid-19 i de arabiske lande gængse religiøse positioner i spørgsmålet om religionens rolle i samfundet.