The Department of Fundamental & Dogmatic Theology will be hosting a Public Lecture entitled 'Public Theology as the New Theological Metaphysics'.
Speaker: Prof. Dr Stephan Van Erp
Venue: Theology Board Room (317)
Date: Wednesday 21 February
Time: 16:00 - 17:00
Chair: Rev. Dr John Berry
The speaker will explore the recent attempts to reconnect theology and secular culture under the heading of ‘public theology’.
First, Prof. Stephan Van Erp will show how these attempts have failed to maintain a theological position. Which strategies has public theology developed to speak theologically about public life? What have been the consequences of these strategies for the way public theologians viewed the secular? In order to defend the need for a public theology, theologians had to construct a clear disjunction between the Church and the public, in order to account for public theology’s self-declared bridge-building tasks.
Second, he will describe how Catholic theology in the twentieth century, most notably Nouvelle théologie, provides a different ontology that allows for a less disjunctive representation of the relationship between the Church and the secular. This however, poses the question whether nowadays such an ontology is a convincing account of reality that could provide a possible appeal of the Church to the public. The sacramental ontology of twentieth century Catholic theology might need to be complemented by reflections on the responsive act of faith this ontology calls for.
Third and finally, Prof. Van Erp will propose that public life - both in its secular and religious forms - could itself be regarded as a sacramental practice of response or witnessing. This sacramental view will offer new opportunities for understanding how the Church becomes Church in that practice, and how public life can be viewed as already participating in that becoming.
Stephan van Erp is Professor of Fundamental Theology and Head of the Research Unit Systematic Theology and the Study of Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at KU Leuven, Belgium. He has studied in Tilburg and Oxford, and has taught Fundamental and dogmatic Theology at the Universities of Groningen and Nijmegen. His research interest are concerned with modern Catholic theology, especially in the work of Edward Schillebeeckx and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Currently he is working on political theology and on theories of secularization and atheism.
The general public is cordially invited to attend this public lecture.