sexta-feira, 18 de maio de 2012

Conciliating Revelation and Science in the Abrahamic Traditions

Co-Sponsored by the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (KAS) with a grant for KAS student participation, and also Heythrop College, King’s College London, Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)  & the Nicolas of Cusa Institute (San Francisco, CA) (For Donors and Sponsors page click here)

Co-organized by: Richard C. Taylor, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA, & member, DeWulf Mansion Centre, Institute of Philosophy K. U. Leuven, Belgium

Katja Krause, M.A.
PhD candidate in Medieval Philosophy, King’s College London, UK
Grantee of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

For many centuries scholars of the three Abrahamic traditions have worked to conciliate revelation and science. At the heart of what has brought Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers in this common enterprise is constant negotiation between what human reason can access and what lies beyond it as only accessible through faith. The greatest and most foundational collaboration between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in this enterprise can be seen in the medieval period. Here philosophical examination of Greek thought and the systematic adaptation of it to traditions of religious thought have facilitated a common and shared intellectual progress. Scientific disciplines such as anthropology, physics, and medicine – all conducted under the overarching umbrella of philosophy – flourished in these centuries across the various boundaries of beliefs and cultures. Much of what Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, and many other Greek philosophers bequeathed to thinkers of the Abrahamic faiths was developed further with great fervour and novel insights by thinkers such as Avicenna, Maimonides, Averroes, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas, to name just a few well known figures. At the same time adaptation of pagan thought to the belief systems of the various faiths, especially in the field of metaphysics, was a common and often very creative practice. With every great thinker in any of the three traditions the two poles of revelation and science were negotiated anew in a sustained effort to maintain the delicate balance of scientific progress and religious and cultural tradition.

In our world today, the picture has become more complex, but the two poles of revelation and science have largely remained in an intellectual dance of distinctiveness and commonality among the three Abrahamic traditions. Today contemporary thinkers continue to raise ultimate questions about a First Cause as a creative agent or a final purpose of human life and the universe itself, as well as about our human cognitive access to this ultimate reality. This is precisely where metaphysics as well as philosophical and theological inquiry maintain their own places in the dance and yet are equally foundational in the formation of the question of just what it means to be a religious person in our contemporary world. This is the intricate context which all religious thinkers, no matter to which of the three Abrahamic traditions they belong, need to navigate, discuss, and analyze the world since they share the common aim of reconciling revelation and science anew in order to find novel ways of expressing a rational belief in God. 

While contemporary discourse on reason and faith have oftentimes been productive and illuminating, it has frequently been lacking in two areas where greater attention to the historical traditions proves invaluable. The first dimension is of a methodological nature and concerns precisely the common historical grounds on which thinkers of all three Abrahamic traditions have long operated. This common enterprise of reconciling revelation and science is what has shaped common cultural, philosophical, and scientific values and foundations within and among the three Abrahamic traditions. Since there is obvious benefit in examining these common grounds for the same of fostering and revivifying successful academic dialogue between scientists and scholars from the three Abrahamic traditions, we believe this conference provides an extraordinarily timely and valuable intellectual opportunity. Conceived as a re-discovery of common scholarly foundations, this gathering of minds will be ground-breaking in shaping an innovative globalized academic practice for the 21st century based on intercultural and interdisciplinary values. 

The second dimension is of a practical nature and concerns a wider academic and societal discourse. While it is not at all uncommon for people in Western societies to think that there are insurmountable differences and breaks between the three Abrahamic traditions, the historical evidence shows quite the opposite. We believe that research into the dynamic relationship between revelation and philosophical sciences is one of the most important ways to help overcome prejudices among contemporary societies and also xenophobic fears of ‘the other’ in an increasingly globalized world. Among many believing thinkers within all three Abrahamic traditions, negotiations between faith and reason remain at the heart of their personal and cultural identities. Our conference on the shared and enduring reconciliation between revelation and faith in the three traditions is therefore intended to initiate a fresh direction of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. We will bring together scholars from various fields to meet the requirements of a true interdisciplinary approach. Systematically, the conference will be structured in shared historical and theological values on day 1, the shared history of philosophical sciences on day 2, and contemporary perspectives on day 3. We have invited eminent scholars in all these fields to contribute to our innovative approach.

Introductory Overview
Katja Krause, KCL: “Three Abrahamic Traditions: A Long Shared History of Conciliating Revelation and Science”

Historical and Theological Foundations
Chair: TBA
Martin Ganeri, Heythrop College: “Changing Water into Wine: Theology’s Use of Philosophy in the Work of Thomas Aquinas”
Ahmad Achtar, Heythrop College: “Reconciling Sharī‘a and Sophia: The Hermeneutics of Averroes (Ibn Rushd) in Context”
Jonathan Gorsky, Heythrop College: “Rereading Tradition: Reason, Revelation and Maimonidean Judaism”

Philosophical Foundations
Chair: TBA
Peter Adamson, King’s College London / Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München: “Christian-Muslim Relations and the Beginnings of Arabic Philosophy”
Ayman Shihadeh, SOSA, University of London: “Philosophy and Apologetics: The Transformation of Islamic Theological Rationalism”
Luis Lopez-Farjeat, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City: “Reason and Faith: Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Approaches in Medieval Philosophers”
Richard Taylor, Marquette University, Milwaukee: “Islamic Philosophy at the Heart of European Christian Theology”

Contemporary Perspectives
Chair: Prof. Dr. Günther Rüther – KAS, to be invited
Peter Schallenberg, Paderborn: “The Relevance of Religion and Science for Contemporary Christian Ethics”
Alister McGrath, King’s College London: “The Complex Interaction of Science and Religion Today: Some Christian Perspectives”
Rodney Holder, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge: “A Christian Perspective on Modern Cosmology”
Jason van Boom, Nicolas of Cusa Institute, San Francisco: “Human Reason and Divine Light: Analogous Developments in the Intellectual Histories of Islam and Christianity”

With a view to disseminating the outcome of our conference to a wide audience of expert and non-expert academics in the field of faith and reason, we intend to offer the proceedings of this conference to an internationally recognized publisher.

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