The idea of hospitality is deeply rooted in early Western culture. Homer is the first written source in which hospitality appeared as a well codified system of ethics, including notions expressing the recognition of otherness, the gift, sacredness, the traveller, and even the possibility of meeting God in the face of the foreigner. The Jewish tradition also offers a splendid source on the importance of hospitality, in the form of the story of Abraham—traveller and guest himself, who gives hospitality to foreigners (Gen. 18, 1-10)—which became central to all three monotheistic traditions and their several confessions. Furthermore, these notions were transmitted by the Roman Empire and the medieval civilization up to our day, nowadays drawing the attention of many contemporary philosophers.
The way hospitality is expressed differs, of course, from one culture to another. But every human encounter carries with it an expression of hospitality that in itself points to a common humanity full of shared experiences and ideas that indicate cross-cultural and universal values.
Today, after a long-lasted humanitarian crisis and one of the greatest waves of immigration, the notion of hospitality is more relevant than ever. Through our meeting in the Seminar of the Three Cultures we aim to understand the role of hospitality in our common humanity.
In order to offer a theoretical framework for dealing with the challenges of our day, we welcome contributions on the philosophical, historical, religious, aesthetic, and ethical value of hospitality. As a way of honouring the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, an eventual focus on the Lutheran tradition’s contribution to the understanding of hospitality will be well-accepted.
Presentation time will be 25 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion.
On the occasion of Aarhus as European Capital of Culture 2017, participants of the seminar will have the opportunity to join various cultural activities, see here