• 1 - 3 November 2017 at Aarhus University

Conference Information

 

ABOUT

2017 is the official 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. It is also the year in which Aarhus is to be the European Capital of Culture (EcoC), under the general theme of Rethink. These historical constellations provide a unique opportunity not only to celebrate and commemorate, but also to critically review the legacy of the Reformation, retool the vision of the European past and future, and reconsider in this light the basic conditions of human existence. On this occasion Aarhus University organizes an international conference that reflects on 500 years of European history raising the questions of what the historical event of the reformation means for European societies today and what new reformations the continent requires now.

Conference Themes

RETHINK the World: Graciously Given?

Both medieval theology and the Lutheran Reformation share an understanding of the world as fundamentally given by God. Yet, rejecting intermediary institutions, notably the papacy, the Reformation redefined the human place in the world and the human relation to God. The Reformation, however, was not only a confrontation with ecclesial scholasticism; it rebelled against various kinds of wonders and folk superstition and made the question of right interpretation a subject of public debate. In that way the Reformation in many respects paved the way for the Enlightenment and a critical thinking that might very well, with Immanuel Kant, initially have cleared a place for faith, but that nonetheless continued its critical path to a point where neither God, nor eventually human beings were left much room, but where the structural, the discursive, the neuronal, the economy etc. is thought to constitute reality.

Hence, the complex trajectories opened with the Reformation raise a manifold of metaphysical, theological and philosophical questions concerning the most basic conditions of human life in this world. What does it mean that the world and existence is given? What does it mean to receive and to respond to such enigmatic gifts? What is the place of wonder and awe in human existence? What is the status of the individual in relation to God and in relation to the Other? Is the Reformation a continuation of or a reaction against Renaissance Humanism? Is it the beginning of anti-humanism?

RETHINK Modernity: Communities beyond Disenchantment?

It is well known that Max Weber linked the development of capitalism to the Protestant ethic. But is the Reformation more broadly conceivable as a catalyst of the disenchantment of the world characteristic of the Enlightenment culture in the wake of which we are still living? Or, did the redefinition of the human place in the world, rather than disenchant the world, prompt a correlative reconceptualization of the modalities of sacred and divine presence? Add to these contested issues, the fact that the Lutheran Reformation changed the status of “good works” thereby unhinging practical life from the matter of salvation, while the bourgeoning Modernity during the subsequent centuries would posit as ultimate principles of practical life increasingly secularized understandings of human freedom.

This raises several questions pertaining to the possibilities of community, the status of morality and values, and the scope and potentiality of human agency. What was the impact of the Reformation on ideas and practices of community? How does the change in the status of the deed (e.g. indulgence, cultivation of virtue, donation, gift giving) affect community building? How are grace and (the works of) love implied in the constitution of community? Are there values and communal bonds in this world beside or beyond those extended by pragmatics and economic necessity? Does value ultimately mean economic value?

 

 

RETHINK Europe: Violence, Memory and Europe’s Others

Religion and identity are as closely linked as identity and conflict. In addition to theological and institutional innovations, the Lutheran Reformation added diversity to the already complex range of identities in Europe and opened up new zones of religious and political conflict. The experience and the memories of waves of armed conflict from the Wars of Religion and the Revolutionary Wars all the way to the world wars of the 20th century and the struggle with terrorism in the 21st century have had an enormous impact on the very idea of Europe and the self-definition of its citizens.

What role have the churches and religious communities of Europe played in these conflicts that have marred Europe for 500 years? What measures were taken, for instance, within the divided culture of Christianity in coming to terms with the extreme violence of the Thirty Years’ War? What measures were taken during and after the Holocaust? Could centuries of ecumenical dialogue be conceived of as memory politics of regret and reconciliation; that is to say, as the creation of a kind of cosmopolitan memory avant la lettre? Or have the Christian churches along with other elites fanned the flames of war and genocide? These are not purely intellectual or historiographic concerns. How we analyze and remember the violence of past centuries has decisive impact on how we envision our future. In that context it is particularly important to reflect about collective fantasies of belonging and the very real divisions between inside and outside, center and periphery, and privilege and oppression that they create. How have the key registers of modern European identities – religion, science, politics, and mass entertainment – created visions of collective destiny through powerful symbolic processes of inclusion and exclusion? How have prejudice and racism and the memory of prejudice and racism shaped Europe’s perception of itself? How can the ways we remember past crimes help create a better future?

In the current situation we should for instance ask ourselves what memories of migration Europe should embrace in order to open up new perspectives for social action and inclusion.

CONTACT MAIL

Rethink Reformation 2017

  • 1 - 3 November 2017 at Aarhus University

ABOUT RETHINK REFORMATION 2017

2017 is the official 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. It is also the year in which Aarhus is to be the European Capital of Culture (EcoC), under the general theme of Rethink. These historical constellations provide a unique opportunity not only to celebrate and commemorate, but also to critically review the legacy of the Reformation, retool the vision of the European past and future, and reconsider in this light the basic conditions of human existence. On this occasion Aarhus University organizes an international conference that reflects on 500 years of European history raising the questions of what the historical event of the reformation means for European societies today and what new reformations the continent requires now.

CONFERENCE THEMES

RETHINK the World: Graciously Given?

Both medieval theology and the Lutheran Reformation share an understanding of the world as fundamentally given by God. Yet, rejecting intermediary institutions, notably the papacy, the Reformation redefined the human place in the world and the human relation to God. The Reformation, however, was not only a confrontation with ecclesial scholasticism; it rebelled against various kinds of wonders and folk superstition and made the question of right interpretation a subject of public debate. In that way the Reformation in many respects paved the way for the Enlightenment and a critical thinking that might very well, with Immanuel Kant, initially have cleared a place for faith, but that nonetheless continued its critical path to a point where neither God, nor eventually human beings were left much room, but where the structural, the discursive, the neuronal, the economy etc. is thought to constitute reality.

Hence, the complex trajectories opened with the Reformation raise a manifold of metaphysical, theological and philosophical questions concerning the most basic conditions of human life in this world. What does it mean that the world and existence is given? What does it mean to receive and to respond to such enigmatic gifts? What is the place of wonder and awe in human existence? What is the status of the individual in relation to God and in relation to the Other? Is the Reformation a continuation of or a reaction against Renaissance Humanism? Is it the beginning of anti-humanism?

RETHINK Modernity: Communities beyond Disenchantment?

It is well known that Max Weber linked the development of capitalism to the Protestant ethic. But is the Reformation more broadly conceivable as a catalyst of the disenchantment of the world characteristic of the Enlightenment culture in the wake of which we are still living? Or, did the redefinition of the human place in the world, rather than disenchant the world, prompt a correlative reconceptualization of the modalities of sacred and divine presence? Add to these contested issues, the fact that the Lutheran Reformation changed the status of “good works” thereby unhinging practical life from the matter of salvation, while the bourgeoning Modernity during the subsequent centuries would posit as ultimate principles of practical life increasingly secularized understandings of human freedom.

This raises several questions pertaining to the possibilities of community, the status of morality and values, and the scope and potentiality of human agency. What was the impact of the Reformation on ideas and practices of community? How does the change in the status of the deed (e.g. indulgence, cultivation of virtue, donation, gift giving) affect community building? How are grace and (the works of) love implied in the constitution of community? Are there values and communal bonds in this world beside or beyond those extended by pragmatics and economic necessity? Does value ultimately mean economic value?

RETHINK Europe: Violence, Memory and Europe’s Others

Religion and identity are as closely linked as identity and conflict. In addition to theological and institutional innovations, the Lutheran Reformation added diversity to the already complex range of identities in Europe and opened up new zones of religious and political conflict. The experience and the memories of waves of armed conflict from the Wars of Religion and the Revolutionary Wars all the way to the world wars of the 20th century and the struggle with terrorism in the 21st century have had an enormous impact on the very idea of Europe and the self-definition of its citizens.

What role have the churches and religious communities of Europe played in these conflicts that have marred Europe for 500 years? What measures were taken, for instance, within the divided culture of Christianity in coming to terms with the extreme violence of the Thirty Years’ War? What measures were taken during and after the Holocaust? Could centuries of ecumenical dialogue be conceived of as memory politics of regret and reconciliation; that is to say, as the creation of a kind of cosmopolitan memory avant la lettre? Or have the Christian churches along with other elites fanned the flames of war and genocide? These are not purely intellectual or historiographic concerns. How we analyze and remember the violence of past centuries has decisive impact on how we envision our future. In that context it is particularly important to reflect about collective fantasies of belonging and the very real divisions between inside and outside, center and periphery, and privilege and oppression that they create. How have the key registers of modern European identities – religion, science, politics, and mass entertainment – created visions of collective destiny through powerful symbolic processes of inclusion and exclusion? How have prejudice and racism and the memory of prejudice and racism shaped Europe’s perception of itself? How can the ways we remember past crimes help create a better future?

In the current situation we should for instance ask ourselves what memories of migration Europe should embrace in order to open up new perspectives for social action and inclusion.

Conference Information

TIME:

  • 1 - 3 November 2017

REGISTRATION:

 

CONTACT MAIL:

Organizers

Bo Kristian Holm

Associate professor

Anne Marie Pahuus

Vice-Dean
M
H bldg. 1431, 213
P +4523287896
P +4523287896

Conference Coordinator

Rasmus Dyring

Assistant Professor

Collaborators and sponsors