Funded PhD-positions at MF, Oslo

Three PhD positions are now available at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society in Oslo.

Application deadline: 15th January 2023.

The position

MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society announces three PhD fellowships. The starting date for the PhD fellowships will be September 1st 2023.

A PhD position should to lead to a completed PhD degree. The positions are fully funded, fulltime, fixed term positions over three years, alternatively, four years with 25 % teaching or other relevant duties at MF. Proficiency in Norwegian might be expected for such duties.

The three positions are open to applicants with projects relevant to MF’s research areas and study portfolio in theology, religion and society. Applications with projects within religion and politics, educational research or the New Testament studies can be given priority.

Residency in Oslo is a requirement. Hiring is dependent on admission to MF’s PhD program. Completion of this program and a satisfactory progression throughout the employment period is a condition that has to be fulfilled. MF expects that project progress and writing production is satisfactory throughout the employment period. There will be a mid-way evaluation of the project.

The successful candidate is expected to work in accordance with MF’s aims and profile. 

Read more.

Categorized as Other

Cosmopolitical Spiritualities of Deep Time: Reading J.G. Ballard’s Mystical Impulse

Article by Simone Kotva in  Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology.

This article considers J. G. Ballard’s account of deep time in The Drowned World (1962) from a religious perspective. I situate Ballard’s account of deep time in the context of Mircea Eliade’s influential work on the “Real Time” of ecstasy—a time in which humans recognize their indistinctness from the animal and undergo an experience of self-annihilation. But Eliade’s is not the only interpretation of ecstatic temporality that is relevant to Drowned World. I argue that Ballard also narrates a constructive response to deep time that issues not in self-annihilation but in communal action and group living. It is in order to parse this aspect of Ballard’s account of deep time that I turn, in the final part of the article, to consider Drowned World as an anticipation also of more recent, cosmopolitical approaches to ecstatic temporalities by theologians, anthropologists and philosophers.

Negative Theology: A Short Introduction

Book by Johannes Aakjær Steenbuch on Wipf & Stock / Cascade Books

How do we speak about God if God is ineffable? This paradoxical question lies at the heart of one of the strangest traditions of philosophical and theological thought: negative theology. As a tradition of thought, negative (or apophatic) theology can be traced back to the convergence of Greek philosophy with Jewish and Christian theology in the first century CE. Beginning with a seemingly simple claim about the ineffability or unsayability of God, negative theology evolved into a complex tradition of thought and spirituality. Today, together with a growing interest in patristic and medieval studies, negative theology enjoys renewed attention in contemporary philosophy and theology. This short introduction presents an overview of how the tradition developed from antiquity until present. 

The significance of participation in transcendence in Luther and Przywara

Knut Alfsvåg in Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie.

Plato and Aristotle understood phenomena to be knowable to the extent that they participate in the reality of the unchangeable, and this attitude was appropriated by the church fathers as a way of exploring the world’s dependence on its Creator. Luther’s insistence on the world’s sinfulness and on salvation as one-sidedly dependent on divine agency has been criticized as a rejection of this understanding of the inherent goodness of the world, thus paving the way for the secularized world view of modernity. Among these critics is Erich Przywara in his works up to and including his book Analogia Entis from 1932. However, in 1952 Przywara published an article where he found Luther’s theology of exchange to be a close parallel to his own doctrine of analogia entis, the implication being that Luther is closer to a Catholic understanding of the world’s relationship with God than mainstream post-Enlightenment Protestantism, and this article is an attempt to substantiate that claim.

Akademisk teologi som universell kunskapsform

Article by Mårten Björk in Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift

This article seeks to define what academic theology can be at a secular university by entering into dialogue with, among others, the Swedish church historian Joel Halldorf and using the difference between juridical and critical authority established by Pius XII in the encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu. In the article, I insist that one has to differentiate academic from confessional theology as a science with critical, rather than juridical, authority. By using Paul J. Griffiths, Erik Peterson, John Henry Newman, and Hans Urs von Balthasar it is argued that academic theology is a non-denominational study of discourses on God and the religious archives to which they belong. Academic theology can be described as a science that investigates, shapes, and discusses theological discourses wherever they appear. This secular science has a systematic and summa­tive nature and requires a methodological openness as it is in dialogue with the other sciences by seeking universal and plausible knowledge. Its fate is that it can only approach its object in a distant and critical way. It lacks the love or desperation that confession entails, but on the other hand it has the glory of the sciences and can strive to say something scientifically true. Thus, at least for those who believe Pius XII, it can be part of the quest for the truth that religious traditions usually describe as a God, and there are therefore good religious reasons to grant academic theology scientific autonomy as a universal form of knowledge that is also plausible for those who lack belief.

Bör ersättningsteologin ersättas?

Article by Tobias Hägerland in Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift.

Should supersessionism be superseded? Noting that supersessionism is routinely dismissed as a detestable error in Swedish public discourse as well as in academic theology, this article aims at providing some deeper reflection on what is denoted by the term supersessionism and what sort of supersessionism is incompatible with the current positions of mainline Christian churches and communities. The study is carried out in critical dialogue with Jakob Wirén’s recent important work on supersessionist patterns in spirituality and preaching. It observes that two main types of def­initions of supersessionism exist. On the one hand, the narrow definition proposed by R. Kendall Soulen suggests that the annulment of God’s covenant with the Jewish people is a necessary element of supersession­ism; on the other hand, the broader definition associated with David Novak includes both “hard” and “soft” supersessionism, the latter not implying any termination of the covenant with Israel. The supersession­ist patterns identified by Wirén in the current hymnal of the Church of Sweden should almost exclusively be categorized as expressions of “soft” supersessionism. As this kind of supersessionism has not been officially rejected by mainline denominations such as Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Roman Catholic Church, it should not be put on a par with “hard” supersessionism, which is indeed rejected. The article calls for a more cautious handling of the concept of supersessionism in academic theology with the hope of curbing its frequent use as an invective in public dis­course.

“Den andra världen är den här världen”

Article by Peter Halldorf in Svensk Teologisk Kvartalsskrift.

“Den andra världen är den här världen”: Philip Sherrards theoantropokosmiska vision i ljuset av ett planetärt akutläge

“Philip Sherrard is truly a prophet for our present age, a messenger whose winged words are addressed not so much to the twentieth century in which he lived as to the twenty-first century that is now unfolding.” With this depiction metropolitan Kallistos Ware described the English poet and theologian Philip Sherrard, whose legacy and writings has a prophetic urgency in light of our current crises. For Sherrard, whose encounter with modern Greek poets in the 1950s led him to a study of the theological roots of Orthodoxy, the basic ecological challenge is not technological or economic but spiritual. Without a contemplative frame of mind, “the eye of the heart”, we cannot see the world in God. And only if we see the world in God can we overcome the present crisis. The leitmotif in Sherrards work is what he terms a “theantropocosmic vision” – a vision of man and nature which makes it possible for us to perceive and experience both ourselves and the world we live in as sacred realities. Our human vocation, as priests of the creation, is to reveal anew the holiness of nature, raising up the world from its fallen state and rendering it once more transparent to the divine glory.

Special Issue on Christianity and Nationalism

Svensk Teologisk Kvartalsskrift has published a special issue on Christianity and Nationalism (ed A. J. Goldman & T. Metreveli, Vol 98 Nr 2, 2022)

Table of contents:

Lund Seminar Series on Populism and Religion

Online seminar series on populism and religion, spring 2023 (CTR, Lund University)

Into the Arms of the Far Right: The New Temptation of French Catholicism
Anne Guillard
January 25, 16h15–18h00, Swedish time [CET]
Meeting ID: 621 5261 6728

For decades, the historically dominant Catholic Church in France has strongly opposed the far right. More recently, however, there have been cracks in this Catholic bastion against far-right politics. Catholic hierarchies have gradually retreated from politics, while conservative Catholic laypeople have sought to erode traditional taboos by forming a union of the rights. Meanwhile, the Rassemblement National and the new party Reconquête!, launched by Eric Zemmour, increasingly referr to Christianity in their right-wing identity politics. We will investigate these recent dynamics between Catholicism and the far-right in France.

Anne Guillard conducts post-doctoral research at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and Oxford University (United Kingdom), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Her research focuses on the political theory of public reason and on the religious claims to integrate these claims into public reason. She holds a double doctorate in Political Theory from Sciences Po Paris (France) and in Christian Theology from the University of Geneva (Switzerland).

“Citizens from all nations”: Lumen Gentium 13 as Counterpoint to Identitarian Concepts of Religion
Franz Gmainer-Pranzel
March 22 2023, 16h15–18h00, Swedish time [CET]
Meeting ID: 621 5261 6728

Chapter 13 of the dogmatic constitution on the church presents an interesting concept of catholicity. The community of the church is not a result of ethnic identity or cultural homogeneity, but instead of a specific kind of unity: the more it experiences plurality and diversity, the more it shares in a deep communion. This form of catholicity (not in a confessional, but in a structural sense) could be a model for societal and global relations, as well as a radical criticism of populistic and identity politics.

Franz Gmainer-Pranzl studied Catholic theology and philosophy in Linz, Innsbruck (Dr. theol.), and Vienna (Dr. phil.). Since 2009 he has served as professor at Salzburg University and Director of the Centre for Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions (ZTKR). His research interests are intercultural-theological epistemology, theology in Africa, and the dialogue between intercultural theology and critical development studies. He is also the editor of Salzburg interdisciplinary discourses. Gmainer-Pranzl’s recent publications include “Politics, Violence, Religion and irreconcilable Identities. The Role of the Catholic Church in the First Republic (1918–1938) in Austria” (2021), “Politische Theologie – ein Beitrag zur Gesellschafts- und Wissenschaftskritik” (2022), and “Religion in modernen Medien. Eine (selbst-)kritische theologische Analyse” (2022).

Populism and Its Four Poisonous Companions – A Theological Riposte
Antje Jackelén
May 9, 16h15–18h00, Swedish time [CEST]
Meeting ID: 621 5261 6728

In many countries throughout the world, people are drinking a dangerous cocktail of toxic ingredients all starting with the letter P: polarization, populism, protectionism, post-truth, and patriarchy. All these phenomena interact in multiple ways with religion, which calls for a theological analysis. The seminar will explore some of the resources that theology and spirituality can offer to counteract the effects of these poisonous P’s.

Antje Jackelén served as Archbishop of the Church of Sweden from 2014 to 2022. Prior to that, she was Bishop of the Diocese of Lund (2007–2014), Director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (2003–2007), and taught Systematic Theology/Religion and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (2001–2007). Educated in Germany and Sweden, she earned her PhD in Theology from Lund University. Jackelén has published numerous books and articles in Swedish, English, and German. She holds three honorary doctorates.

About the Seminar Series
The seminar series on populism and religion focuses on the theoretical, philosophical, and theological dimensions of populism. Certain conceptions of politics – including political community, political processes, and political decision-making – characterize typical formulations of populist thought. A fundamental conviction of this seminar series is that we must investigate these conceptions if we want to engage in dialogue that goes beyond plain-sense descriptions of, or explanations for, facts, and which deeply addresses questions about how society is – and ought to be – organized. Descriptive language and references to facts cannot by themselves account for all the questions posed by society, let alone provide the answers.

We welcome to our seminars a range of intellectually interested parties, including senior and junior scholars, doctoral students, and beginners. In order to reach the broadest possible audience, the default language of our seminars is English, but occasional seminars may be hosted in Danish, French, German, Norwegian, or Swedish.

Categorized as Events