Seminar Series: Populism and Religion

Online seminar Series: Populism and Religion, Lund
Autumn 2021 — three seminars online

Right-wing Populism and Religion – a Case of Banal religion? 
Andreas Mebus
September 28, 16h15-18h00
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

We are all nationalists; in some banal way or another – as Michael Billig taught us in the late ’90s. And we are all Christian; at least we all share common Judeo-Christian values – or so have most European populist radical right parties tried to convince us for over a decade. Especially populist radical right parties in Scandinavia. This seminar welcomes students and scholars alike to discuss the uses of religion by populist radical right parties in a Scandinavian context and together explore the hypothesis, that the uses of religion by e.g. Danish People’s Party can be conceptualized as banal religion.  

Andreas Mebus is Lecturer in the Study of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark and specialized in philosophical related topics in the field. He teaches various courses, in particular on philosophy of science, philosophy of religion and political philosophy in relation to religion. His research interests include philosophy of history within the field of metaphysis and related topics, populism, nationalism, and extremism as political ideas, as well as the interrelation of religion, ideology and democracy with a political philosophical approach. In 2019 he published a monograph on populism: Populism, Slave morality, and Democracy.

On People in Populism and Religion
Ervik Cejvan
October 14, 16h15-18h00
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

Reviewing religion through the critique of ideology will reveal the formations of ideology itself. This approach bases on observation that the religious organisation of human life precedes and conditions its political organisation. This allows for the critique and analysis of the transmissions and omissions of the particularities of the religious organisation in the political organisation. Employing the logic of displacement at work here, we will establish first steps toward the analysis of the function of the people, in religion and populism. In the instance of the people, we will see, the interpolation of religion in populism, is not incidental. Religion is the primal form of the organisation of the people. Populism is its current expression, of the impossibility of establishing a true religious/democratic universalism.  

Ervik Cejvan is affiliated researcher in philosophy of religion at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University. His research interests include the philosophical applications of psychoanalytic theory, the interpretations of religion in political philosophy and social sciences, and the expressions of religion in populism and nationalism. In January 2021 he successfully defended his doctoral thesis Critique of Exaggeration: Thinking Beyond. 

NB The previously announced seminar with Marc Boss is postponed due to personal reasons. 

Populist Discourse, Authenticity and Violence
Patrik Fridlund
November 25, 16h15-18h00
Meeting ID: 675 7986 2136

Populist political discourses, exemplified by Trump’s rhetoric, are not primarily based on facts. They must rather be judged on the effects they have. A thesis is that what is important to for instance Trump’s supporters is whether Trump is authentic, not whether every uttered word is ‘true’ in a simple sense. Therefore, a critical evaluation of populist political discourses is not helped by analyses of whether they are ‘true’. Therefore it is more fruitful to ask populists what kind of authenticity they are striving for, including the issue of violence. Theology and philosophy can provide useful tools regarding being authentic.

Patrik Fridlund is Associate Professor (docent) in Philosophy of Religion at Lund University, teaching and tutoring students on all levels. In particular, Fridlund is responsible for a course on populism and theology. His research interests include  plurality of religions, religion and politics, post-truth politics, and populism. He is Deputy director of the journal and senior scholar at the platform Christianity and Nationalism. Among his recent publications are ’Post-truth Politics, Responsible Irresponsibility and Ethics — Postmodernist Philosophers Revisited’ (2020), ’Post-truth Politics, Performatives and the Force’ (2020), ’Le dialogue interreligieux est-il vraiment un dialogue des rationalités religieuses ou culturelles ?’ (2019).

About the Seminar Series
These seminars on populism and Christianity focus on the theoretical, philosophical and theological aspects of populism. The worldview and the conception of politics — political community, political processes and political decision-making — are typically issues that characterise populist thought. One fundamental conviction is that precisely this kind of questions is necessary to deal with if we want to deepen the dialogue about how society is organised beyond straightforward descriptions and explanations of certain facts. Descriptions and certain facts cannot exclusively account for all the questions society constantly poses, let alone the answers.

Both senior and junior scholars, as well as doctoral students and beginners are welcome to the seminar. In order to reach as many as possible, the main language is English, but in the future occasional seminars in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, French or German, are not precluded, if that is appropriate.

Categorized as Events

European Conference in Science and Theology

The European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XIX) will take place in Ålesund, Norway, May 4-8, 2022:«Global Sustainability: Science and Religion in Dialogue»

Conference webpage:
ESSSAT’s webpage:

At our 2022 ESSSAT conference in Norway, in one of the most scenic environmental settings in Europe, we want to bring science, humanities, social science, ethics and theology into interdisciplinary dialogue about questions of sustainability and about how religions, being a primary resource of values in any culture, might contribute to this task. Our main speakers will be drawn from the fields of Sustainability Science, Ethics, Sociology and Theology, and we invite everybody from within and outside the ESSSAT community to join our exchange of ideas and to contribute to our discussions and paper sessions.

(Dirk Evers, President ESSSAT)

Categorized as Events

Christoph Schwöbel, 1955-2021

We regret to inform you that the German theologian Christoph Schwöbel recently passed away.

More information St. Andrews:

“Christoph Schwöbel studied at the Kirchliche Hochschule Bethel and the University of Marburg, before taking his first academic post as Lecturer in Systematic Theology at King’s College London in 1986. With Colin Gunton, he founded the influential Research Institute for Systematic Theology at King’s in 1988, and he served as its Director until 1993, when he left London to take up a chair in Kiel. Christoph had a glittering career in Germany: he moved to Heidelberg in 1999, and to Tübingen in 2004, and served academy and church with great distinction, notably as chair of the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Theologie from 2008 to 2011; as editor of the leading journal Die Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie since 2007; as a member of the Leuenberg Fellowship from 1989 to 1994, drafting its influential statement, ‘The Church of Jesus Christ’; and as co-chair of the Meissen Conference, which brings together the Church of England and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, from 2004 to 2010.

He returned to the UK, to St Andrews, in 2018 to take our Chair of Divinity, established in 1643. His teaching here was inspirational, from introductory doctrine for first-year undergraduates to seminar programmes for doctoral students. Unsurprisingly, long queues formed, wanting to study with him, but he was generous with his time to all students and colleagues, and committed to the flourishing of the School. He was a founding father of our ongoing St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology project and gave himself selflessly to the task of making it the best it could be.

Christoph was committed to the worldwide church, with a particular focus on Asia, where he maintained strong relationships and helped found the East-West Theological Forum. He was also deeply committed to inter-religious dialogue, and his work in promoting Christian-Muslim conversation and understanding, both individually and institutionally, will be of lasting significance.

Over his career he published six monographs, about two dozen edited volumes, and several hundred journal articles or book chapters. His writings have shaped the discipline in very significant ways, but those of us who knew him would say his presence and personality were more transformative than even his writings were.

Christoph had a zest for life and cultivated a wide acquaintance. Everyone who knew him was drawn to his passion and his joy in seeking to explicate the gospel. We are all the poorer for his passing, but we remember particularly his children Martin, Christine, Johannes, Stephan, and Simon and Jonathan, and his widow Katrin.”

Seminar: Flesh of One’s Flesh: The Bible, George Bataille, and Black Studies

We are happy to announce the second lecture organized by the project End of Law on 30 september 16:00 to 17:30 (CEST).

Our guest is Bruce Rosenstock, professor and director of graduate studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who works in the field of philosophy and religion.

Rosenstocks’s talk will be centered around the notion of kinship and slavery in Leviticus and its Nachleben in Black Studies and how it can be used to confront George Bataille’s discussion of sovereignity and law.

The phrase “flesh of one’s flesh” is used in the Levitical prohibitions against incest (Lev 18) to refer to individuals with such proximate kinship bonds to one another that they are excluded from becoming marriage partners. The prohibited act of incest is named with the phrase “to reveal nakedness.” The incest prohibitions in Leviticus are part of a Priestly stratum known as the Holiness Code, the goal of which is to extend access to the holy across the entirety of the people in their behavior outside of the Temple. This Holiness School program has been called “egalitarian” and “revolutionary,” and in the first part of the presentation Rosenstock will explore the theopolitical implications of this program to sacralize human reproduction and to identify incest as the most egregious assault possible against the enfleshed holiness of Israel’s and humanity’s One God Yahweh. The second part of the talk will examine the terrible legacy of the Holiness Code’s attempt to sacralize kinship flesh and how it was used by Christians as a means to legitimate slavery, and how it can be related to George Bataille’s exploration of the “inner experience” of the sacrality of the reproductive power of human flesh

Rosenstock has written several books and articles on ancient and modern philosophy and religion. His latest monograph is a study of Oskar Goldberg: Transfinite Life: Oskar Goldberg and the Vitalist Imagination which argues that Goldberg’s philosophy is best understood as part of the resurgent vitalism of the early twentieth century. He is at the moment working on a book to be titled Hegel and the Holocaust. This study will treat thinkers who have attempted to respond to the Holocaust in the terms of Hegel’s philosophy of history.

Joing through the following Zoom link: or send an email to

Categorized as Events

Prot­est­ant Nar­rat­ives on Europe after 1945

We warmly welcome you to join us in next week’s EuroStorie research seminar on Friday, 24th of September at 1:00pm–2:00pm (EEST) via Zoom live stream.

Please see the link below. 

Dr. Kath­ar­ina Kunter (University of Helsinki) will be presenting on the subject of “Prot­est­ant Nar­rat­ives on Europe after 1945”.

When: Friday 24.9.2021 at 1:00pm–2:00pm EEST

Where: Please join us live via Zoom-stream on the following address:
Meeting ID: 698 5345 9330

Event webpage:


In contrast to Catholicism in Europe, which quickly became a supporter of European Integration after 1945, Protestantism’s attitude towards Europe was much more diverse and ambivalent. Federal ideas of Europe emerged during the Second World War in the context of the Ecumenical Movement, but did not enter the Protestant mainstream after 1945. Much more dominant, on the other hand, was a Eurosceptic narrative, which was represented above all by German and some Eastern European Protestants and in the World Council of Churches. The talk unfolds this as well as other Protestant narratives on Europe after 1945, such as the pan-European bridge-building idea of the Conference of European Churches or the pastoral interpretation of Europe among Protestants in Strasbourg and Brussels.

About the speaker

Katharina Kunter studied History and Protestant Theology at the Universities of Gießen and Heidelberg in Germany and is Professor for Contemporary Church History at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki.  Since her dissertation on the “Churches in the Helsinki Process”, she has been researching the history and historical narratives of European Protestantism after 1945. For more information, please visit here.

For more information about EuroStorie, the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives, please visit, or follow us on social media @eurostorie.

Categorized as Events

20th Nordic Conference for Systematic Theology

Creation and Crisis: Reopening the Scandinavian Creation Theology

January Friday 14 – Sunday 16 2022
Aarhus University, Denmark

Conference fee:
950 DKK

Registration deadline:
15 December 2021

Call for Papers deadline for short papers:
1 November 2021

Creation theology and Climate change
Creation and Vulnerability
Vulnerability and Climate Justice
A World with Corona – historical, ethical, and epistomological perspectives

About the keynotes:
Niels Henrik Gregersen is Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Copenhagen, after having taught 17 years at Aarhus University. Within the field of science-and-theology, he focused on and is well known for developing theories of self-organization and information. Within the field of systematic theology, he developed the concept of Deep Incarnation in the context of a theology of creation. He is the author of seven monographs, three co-authored books, and numerous articles. His work is translated into ten languages.

Simone Kotva is Postdoc in Systematic Theology at the University of Oslo. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and has taught at the universities of Gothenburg and Cambridge. She works at the intersection of religion, philosophy and geopolitics, and has a special interest in French spiritualism and the relationship between mysticism’s technologies of the self and the science of techno-fixing the earth. She is the author of Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2020) and is currently working on a second monograph, An Enquiry Concerning Nonhuman Understanding: God/s, Species, Crossings.

Serafim Seppälä is Professor of Systematic Theology and Patristics at the University of Eastern Finland, and a hieromonk in the Orthodox Church of Finland. In addition to a number of monographs and translations in Finnish, he is the author of multiple articles in the areas of patristic studies, Byzantine aesthetics, Syriac literature, Jewish-Christian encounter, early Islamic-Christian encounter, and the cultural heritage of Armenian genocide.

For further information, please contact the planning committee:

Else Marie Wiberg Pedersen, University of Aarhus (chairperson)

Christine Svinth-Værge Põder, University of Copenhagen:

Anni Maria Laato, Åbo Akademi University:

Marius Timmann Mjaaland, University of Oslo:

Petra Carlsson, Stockholm School of Theology:

Sólveig Anna Bóasdóttir, University of Iceland:

Conference website.

Categorized as Events

Resiliensteologi : En studie av den kristna traditionens hållbara förändring

Doctoral thesis by Sabina Koij at Åbo Akademi.

The aim of this doctoral thesis is to confront the problem of how Christian faith, constantly expressed and fashioned in new ways, can be said to be the same faith. This problem is formulated in a central question: If Christian faith constantly takes on a variety of new expressions, how can the theology of the Christian faith appear to have continuity? 

The thesis begins by observing the discontinuity of the Christian tradition over a period of 500 years in Storkyrkan, the Cathedral of Stockholm. Starting in the 1980´s and journeying backwards towards the beginning of the reformation, a series of tableaus are outlined which reveal how Christian faith has continuously been manifested in new forms and content. Against this background of discontinuity, I want to suggest how a resilient contemporary theology for the Church of Sweden might appear. 

The question of how Christian faith and it´s continual variety of expressions can be combined simultaneously with continuity is treated as a problem of tradition. This problem of tradition is confronted by referencing the American Catholic theologian David Tracy and his understanding of tradition from a critical hermeneutical point of view. Tracy´s understanding of tradition is compared to the function of the so-called dynamic system and the concept of resilience. Resilience concerns the sustainability of dynamic systems and their ability to accommodate change without losing their basic function and thereby collapsing. 

A central thought enclosed within the theories concerning the concepts of resilience and the dynamic system is the acceptance of complexity, innovation and a readiness for surprise. According to Tracy, the concepts of resilience and the dynamic system are used as tools of analysis in order to shed light upon that which needs to be strengthened regarding a tradition´s ability to endure change without collapsing. The strengthening is accomplished by three moldable criteria presented by a number of Lutheran theologians. These criteria are a biblical criterion, a criterion of reason, logic and personal experience and an ethical criterion. These three criteria reinforce David Tracy´s understanding of the Christian tradition in relation to the concept of resilience, including the acceptance of complexity, innovation and readiness for surprise. The purpose of these criteria is to contribute to the discussion within the Church of Sweden concerning the resilient and sustainable Christian tradition. A suggestion then follows as to how resilient contemporary theology could be formulated, a theology that hopefully will be beneficial in understanding how one and the same faith can absorb a variety of continual new expressions and, as a dynamic system, function according to its intentional purpose. The thesis begins in the Cathedral of Stockholm and concludes in this same room with speculations concerning the future of Christian faith and its ability to meet and absorb a continual flow of new expressions in an ever changing world.

Det övergripande syftet med denna studie, Resiliensteologi. En studie av den kristna traditionens hållbara förändring, är att mot bakgrund av den diskontinuitet som kan observeras i Storkyrkans historia undersöka de teologiska villkoren för kristen traditionsförmedling samt presentera ett förslag till hur en resilient samtidsteologi för Svenska kyrkan skulle kunna se ut. Undersökningen tar avstamp i iakttagelsen att den kristna tron över tid förkunnats och gestaltats på ständigt nya sätt. Därmed reses frågor om vad som kan sägas vara kontinuerligt i tron, om den nu samtidigt hela tiden förändras. 

Avhandlingen inleds med ett Baklängespreludium, vars syfte är att visa hur gestaltningen av den kristna tron har skiftat över tid i ett och samma rum. Det handlar om ett antal historiska tablåer från Storkyrkans historia med början i 1980-talet tillbaka till 1500-talet som synliggör en problematik som sedan formuleras i studiens huvudfråga om hur man kan förstå och tala om den kristna trons kontinuitet och samtidiga diskontinuitet. För att göra frågan om den kristna trons samtidiga förändring och kontinuitet mer hanterlig bearbetas den i termer av en traditionsproblematik. Genom att knyta an till olika teoretiker resoneras kring begreppet tradition i allmänhet och därefter med hjälp av hermeneutisk filosofi. Utifrån den kritisk-hermeneutiska teologen David Tracy och hans traditionsförståelse fördjupas sedan diskussionen genom att fokusera på specifikt den kristna traditionens förändring och kontinuitet. Tracys traditionsförståelse relateras därefter till funktionen hos det dynamiska systemet, såsom det definieras inom social-ekologin, och det tillhörande begreppet resiliens, som handlar om ett systems förmåga att härbärgera förändring utan att det förlorar sin grundläggande funktion och kollapsar. Genom att jämföra Tracys traditionsförståelse med idéer om ett social-ekologiskt dynamiskt system i rörelse, och låta resiliensbegreppet hjälpa till att ställa frågan om vad som kan sägas vara en hållbar kristen tradition, introduceras begrepp från det social-ekologiska fältet i den kritiska hermeneutiken inom den systematiska teologin, för att därigenom bidra till en teologisk analys. Detta görs med särskilt fokus på tre aspekter – komplexitet, innovation och beredskap – som alla utgör förutsättningar för systemresiliens. Dessa tre aspekter hos resiliensbegreppet ställs sedan i relation till David Tracys kritiskt hermeneutiska traditionsförståelse med utgångspunkt från frågan om vad som kan förstärkas hos Tracy för att man bättre ska förstå traditionens hållbara förändring. 

Med hjälp av en rad lutherska systematiska teologer resoneras kring hur en sådan förstärkning skulle kunna se ut genom att presentera ett antal formbara kriterier för en hållbar tradition. Det handlar om ett bibliskt kriterium, ett förnufts-logiskt och personligt erfarenhetskriterium samt ett etiskt kriterium. Dessa förändringskriterier syftar till att öka förståelsen för den kristna traditionens hållbara förändring förstådd som ett resilient dynamiskt system som klarar av att fungera på det sätt systemet är tänkt att fungera. Insikterna från mötet mellan Tracys traditionsförståelse och resilienstänkandet, tillsammans med de formbara kriterierna, tas sedan med in i återvändandet till studiens huvudfråga om hur trons kontinuitet och samtidigt skiftande uttryck kan förstås. I slutet presenteras så ett konstruktivt förslag till hur en resilient samtidsteologi för Svenska kyrkan skulle kunna se ut, en teologi som jag hoppas kan bidra till förståelsen för och hur kyrkan idag kan tala kring trons ständiga förändring och på samma gång kontinuitet. Allra sist tas vi tillbaka till det kyrkorum vi befann oss i inledningsvis, för att i ett Framlängespreludium – som fungerar som pendang till Baklängespreludiet – för att med blicken framåt spekulera kring kyrkans framtida situation. 

CfP: “Civil Theology”: A History of the Concept

The Italian journal “Politica e religione. Annuario di teologia politica/Yearbook of Political Theology” welcomes submissions from various fields (History of Political Thought, History of Christian, Jewish or Islamic Thought, Philosophy, Theology, History of Law) for an issue focussed on the history of the concept of “civil theology”

Abstract submission deadline: October 15, 2021
Full paper submission deadline: February 28, 2022

The Topic

The phrase “civil theology” (theologia civilis) appears in Augustine (The City of God, book VI) and is attributed to Varro. Along with the “mythical theology” of poets and the “natural theology” of philosophers, Varro mentions the “civil theology”, which concerns the public cult of gods established within the city. Making occasional appearances in medieval texts, from the early modern period onwards the phrase was increasingly used, and overlapped with similar expressions as “civil religion”, “political religion”, “political theology”, with no substantial variation in the meaning until D’Alembert’s and Diderot’s Encyclopédie. Nineteenth-century debates attest the preponderance of “political theology”, both in theological and political areas, and the phrase was subsequently made famous by Carl Schmitt’s essay on Political theology, in 1922.

The volume aims at casting light on the historical roots and the different uses, functions and meanings of the concept of “civil theology”/”political theology” from Varro to Schmitt. Special attention is to be paid to the semantic shifts of the concept and to its actual presence in a number of classic texts. Topics of interest include,page2image51732928page2image51734272

but are

• • • • • •

not limited to, the following:

V arro on “civil theology”: origins, roots. Theconceptof“civiltheology”inAntiquity,fromVarrotoAugustine. Theconceptof“civiltheology”intheMiddleAges. Theconceptof“civiltheology”/“politicaltheology”fromtheRenaissancetotheEncyclopédieTheconceptof“civiltheology”/“politicaltheology”inthe19thcent. Theconceptof“civiltheology”/“politicaltheology”inthe20thcent.


Abstracts (c. 150 words, with essential bibliography) should be submitted to the address, by October 15, 2021. Selected authors will be notified by October 30, 2021. The full paper (in Italian, English, French, German or Spanish) should be approximately 45.000 characters, including footnotes, and should be sent electronically to, by February 28, 2022. All submissions undergo a double-blind peer review process and should be prepared accordingly. Publication is expected by the end of 2022.

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