Ethico-political imagination in Luther, Kant, and Løgstrup

Article by Svend Andersen in Studia Theologica.

Today, imagination is related to the classical concepts φρόνησις and ἐπιϵίκϵια, which both are about taking right action in particular situations. Some regard imagination as an essential requirement of the Golden Rule (GR). The role of imagination according to three thinkers is discussed here: Martin Luther, Immanuel Kant, and K. E. Løgstrup. In Kant’s ethics, the basic problem is the agent’s relation to practical reason. The two others regard ethics as rooted in the agent’s relation to the other. With Kant, imagination (Einbildungskraft) hardly plays an ethical role, but does so via aesthetic judgment. The GR needs “improvement” through adjustment to the categorical imperative. Luther empha sizes ἐπιϵίκϵια: taking the right action in a particular situation, getting free from general rules. The same is true of acting in accordance with GR, which for Luther is a summary of natural law. Løgstrup’s ethics is a reconstruction of Luther’s theory of natural law, philosophically based on existential phenomenology. In The Ethical Demand, imagination is central for the ability to take care of the other. Later, Løgstrup states that GR underlines the importance of imagination and the ability to place oneself in the other’s position. The article concludes by sketching Løgstrup’s view of imagination in political ethics. 

Da Gud forlot Gud: Jesu vei til døden og dens betydning for oss

Article by Knut Alfsvåg in Teologisk Tidsskrift.

According to the NT, the Father and the Son are one, but still the Father leaves the Son on the cross. What are the implications of considering this as the essence of divinity? In the Bible, humans are placed under the wrath of God because they have sinned against their neighbours. Jesus accepts this as the truth even of his own life, but is still carried through death to the resurrection. This could lead to a doctrine of apocatastasis, but the ambiguity in the image of God is retained through the idea of an eternal judgment with two different outcomes.

Ifølge NT er Faderen og Sønnen ett, samtidig som Faderen forlater Sønnen på korset. Hvordan blir vår gudsforståelse om vi antar at denne motsetningen uttrykker kjernen i Guds vesen? Ifølge Bibelen står mennesker under Guds vrede fordi de har gjort urett mot sitt medmenneske. Jesus identifiserer seg med denne plasseringen, men bæres likevel gjennom døden til oppstandelsen. Heller ikke under Guds vrede faller en ut av det frelsende gudsforhold. Dette betinger isolert sett en verdensrettferdiggjørelse, men tvetydigheten i gudsbildet fastholdes ved at frelse formidles i form av en utvelgelseslære som fastholder dommens to utganger.

Resonans seminar 7 Sept: ‘I Will Shake All Nations’: Theological Perspectives on Nationalism and Universalism

7 September 16.16-18.00 (CET)

Joint seminar with the “Christianity and Nationalism” project at Centrum för teologi och religionsvetenskap, Lunds Universitet. 

Since the beginning of Christianity, Christian theology has struggled to articulate  the difference of the Christian message and practice in relationship to the universal visions of political communities. With the crisis of representation and the heightened tensions between apparently ‘particularist’ nationalism and ‘abstract’ cosmopolitanism, how can theology formulate anew a universalism that is neither irreducibly particularist nor without place, context, or identity? And how can such an approach shed light on contemporary debates about nationalism? 

Ragnar Misje Bergem is a postdoctoral fellow in systematic theology at the MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society.

Mårten Björk is a postdoctoral researcher in systematic theology at CTR, Lund University.

Chaired by Jayne Svenungsson (Lund).


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Velfærdsstatens religiøse rødder

PhD thesis by Hanne Puk Dahl at Aalborg University.

The Religious Roots of the Welfare State

Searching for the religious roots of the welfare state is the subject of this PhD dissertation.

The aim has been to conduct a comparative study of Denmark and Germany. The idea is to determine the influence of the reformation in the view of fighting poverty.

The analyses are based on three studies of microcosmic character. The studies are based on historical empiric material found describing the nature of institutions fighting poverty from the middle age until 18th. Century.

I have chosen three cities. They are Aalborg in Denmark and Lübeck and Passau in Germany. The cities all have a monastery of The Holy Ghost, which still is functioning. This has been a reason for choosing these cities as historic micro cosmos. The idea is to make a comparison based on almost similar institutions. Monasteries of The Holy Ghost are institutions founded by citizens who gave a large donation in order to help fight poverty. The institutions had various functions as hospitals, orphanages, elder homes and almshouses for poor people. The monasteries have been founded before the reformation. This gives a possibility to investigate which changes the reformation led to in everyday life for poor people.

The comparison will also cover the general outline of the way poverty has been addressed in the three cities.

For Germany, the timespan is from the foundation of the monasteries until 1803/06. 1803 is the year of secularization, which in Germany means that all property of the church is taken over by the state in order to pay reparations to France after having lost the Napoleon Wars. 1806 is the year where “Code Napoleon” is implemented in Germany as the new way of legislating.

The year of secularization is the year of major changes in Passau, since Passau is not affected by the reformation. It stays catholic and so does its social institutions.

For Lübeck 1531 is the year of major changes. This is the year where it adapts a new constitution for the city because of the reformation.

Of Aalborg, the important year of change is 1537/39 where the Lutheran constitution for the church is adapted. For Aalborg, the timespan for the historic microstudy continues until 1708 where a nationwide legislation considering how to deal with poor people is passed. The law from 1708 ordains the first assessment tax on income with the purpose of paying for the need of poor people. I have studied the tax lists from Aalborg as a primary source of information, which has never been investigated before.

Call for Papers: October Symposium – NSU ​Summer Session 2021

Solidarity and the Political

Feminist thinking and the needs of today

What are the political aspects concerning solidarity? Solidarity is one of the six principles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. But what is solidarity and how does it foster or hinder cooperation between oneself and the other? The Oxford dictionary tells us that solidarity describes a state of physical and political organisation, as well as a feeling. 

British philosopher Timothy Morton works on solidarity and climate change. According to him, solidarity goes against the fundamental and traumatic fissure between reality and the real, and as such it proposes an ontological basis that goes against dominant Western philosophy. How to create a solidarity that does not violate the other? How can we think the openness of hospitality, without losing the identity of the one that invites? And how are we to invite the other, what kind of relationship do we presuppose in that invitation? How do we create the political in solidarity?

What does solidarity mean when teaching? Is solidarity possible in Hannah Arendt’s ‘political realm’? How does this relate to the black feminist movement, and the call for solidarity on ”mainstream” feminism: what is the critique and how is solidarity achieved? And with regard to nature and in bioethics: how does solidarity function in the discourse of climate change?

The symposium will take place online. There will be a two-day symposium, plus several satellite events, organised by our study circle. There will also be many more events and symposia organised during the whole month of October by the Nordic Summer University

Categorized as Events