Past Conferences and Events

Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture Lecture Series

This speaker series features a combination of case studies, of concrete 'acts of interpretation,' and broader reflections on the intersection of exegesis, theology, and science and culture to address the question how a faithful, ecclesial reading of scripture handles these complexities of interpretation.

November 13, 2014

Dr. Christopher Seitz, Senior Research Fellow, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto 

Biblical interpretation is moving in a direction that gradually recognizes and seeks to redress a longstanding separation of biblical studies from ecclesial theology. To correct dogmatic abuse of scripture, historical criticism had justly drawn attention to the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of biblical texts, but largely neglected the Bible’s role as sacred text within a believing community. Over the last generation, theological interpretation has received renewed attention and seeks to close this gap. The tension between critical analysis of the Bible as an ancient text and its foundational function for the church’s faith has always existed, but historical criticism and modern hermeneutic theory has increased our awareness that biblical interpretation depends on a complex interaction of theological tradition, cultural influences, and exegetical practices. This speaker series features a combination of case studies, of concrete ‘acts of interpretation,’ and broader reflections on the intersection of exegesis, theology, and science and culture to address the question how a faithful, ecclesial reading of scripture handles these complexities of interpretation.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture [5].

November 12, 2014  Dr. Christopher Seitz, Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe College, Toronto, on “A Canonical Reading of Ecclesiastes”

Abstract: 
1. The unusual character of the protagonist’s depiction as “Koheleth” and its significance for the interpretation of the book.
2. The repeated use of the phrase hebel and how best to translate it, given its obvious thematic importance. 
3. The use of proverbs in Ecclesiastes and what this says about its relationship to Wisdom. 
4. Whether there is a dramatic movement to the book that tells us how to understand its more limited stance toward Wisdom? 
5. The canonical location of Ecclesiastes in various Jewish and Christian lists and the significance of this for proper interpretation of the book.

October 22, 2014 Dr. Stephen E. Fowl, Professor of Theology at Loyola College Maryland, on “Historical Criticism, Theological Interpretation and the Ends of the Christian Life”  Scripture, Theology, and Culture: Acts of Interpretation

Biblical interpretation is moving in a direction that gradually recognizes and seeks to redress a longstanding separation of biblical studies from ecclesial theology. To correct dogmatic abuse of scripture, historical criticism had justly drawn attention to the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of biblical texts, but largely neglected the Bible's role as sacred text within a believing community.

Over the last generation, theological interpretation has received renewed attention and seeks to close this gap. The tension between critical analysis of the Bible as an ancient text and its foundational function for the church's faith has always existed, but historical criticism and modern hermeneutic theory has increased our awareness that biblical interpretation depends on a complex interaction of theological tradition, cultural influences, and exegetical practices.

Abstract: "The past 20 years have witnessed a robust renewal of interest in reading Scripture theologically. This paper will trace out some of the reasons for this renewal. It will then consider three issues that seem to demand the attention of theological interpreters. The first looks at the pressure to come up with a clear definition of what constitutes theological interpretation. The second argues that the time is no ripe for a less fevered evaluation of the relationships between theological interpretation and the practices of historical criticism. Finally, I will raise this question: if theological interpretation is to flourish into the future, how will future theological interpreters be formed?"

September 22, 2014 Hans Boersma, Regent College - "Why We Need an ‘Other’ Reading: Or, why we ourselves are the ones taking the exodus journey"

Biblical interpretation is moving in a direction that gradually recognizes and seeks to redress a longstanding separation of biblical studies from ecclesial theology. To correct dogmatic abuse of scripture, historical criticism had justly drawn attention to the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of biblical texts, but largely neglected the Bible’s role as sacred text within a believing community. Over the last generation, theological interpretation has received renewed attention and seeks to close this gap. The tension between critical analysis of the Bible as an ancient text and its foundational function for the church’s faith has always existed, but historical criticism and modern hermeneutic theory has increased our awareness that biblical interpretation depends on a complex interaction of theological tradition, cultural influences, and exegetical practices. This speaker series features a combination of case studies, of concrete ‘acts of interpretation,’ and broader reflections on the intersection of exegesis, theology, and science and culture to address the question how a faithful, ecclesial reading of scripture handles these complexities of interpretation.

Abstract: Is there anything we can still learn from the way people used to read the Bible in the early church? Aren’t the strange, so-called allegorical readings of the fathers arbitrary? This lecture makes clear why we actually need the “other” readings of the early church. We will interrogate two early Christians (Melito of Sardis and Origen of Alexandria) with hard questions that contemporary Christians often raise when they first encounter the strange, new world of early Christian interpretation of the Bible.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture.

Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture Lecture Series - Scripture, Theology, and Culture: Acts of Interpretation
September 23, 2014
 Hans Boersma, Regent College 

Biblical interpretation is moving in a direction that gradually recognizes and seeks to redress a longstanding separation of biblical studies from ecclesial theology. To correct dogmatic abuse of scripture, historical criticism had justly drawn attention to the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of biblical texts, but largely neglected the Bible’s role as sacred text within a believing community. Over the last generation, theological interpretation has received renewed attention and seeks to close this gap. The tension between critical analysis of the Bible as an ancient text and its foundational function for the church’s faith has always existed, but historical criticism and modern hermeneutic theory has increased our awareness that biblical interpretation depends on a complex interaction of theological tradition, cultural influences, and exegetical practices. This speaker series features a combination of case studies, of concrete ‘acts of interpretation,’ and broader reflections on the intersection of exegesis, theology, and science and culture to address the question how a faithful, ecclesial reading of scripture handles these complexities of interpretation.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture.


The 17th Dietrich Bonhoeffer Lectures on Public Ethics | Christian Humanism and Moral Formation in 'a world come of age' (May 1-3, 2014)

The 17th installment of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Lectures on Public Ethics took place at the theological graduate school Regent College, in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), May 1-3.  The general purpose of the Bonhoeffer lectures is to offer reflections on topics related to Bonhoeffer’s work from experts who are not necessarily Bonhoeffer scholars. This year’s lectures identified and addressed the current theological and moral challenges arising from the legacy of modernity and the role of religion in so-called secular cultures. The presenters were invited to respond to the theme Bonhoeffer’s Christian Humanism and the Challenge of Moral Formation ‘in a world come of age.’  The organizers solicited speakers from different confessional (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical, Reformed, and Lutheran) and disciplinary (history, theology, philosophy, literary studies) backgrounds to discuss the relevance of Bonhoeffer’s Christian humanism, religionless Christianity and ‘a world come of age’ for current issues in social ethics.  A graduate conference, organized by Natalie Boldt and Heidi Vanderveen (students in TWU’s MAIH Program) formed an integral part of the main conference. Six graduate students presented papers on Bonhoeffer’s theology and also on its relation to the work of Marilynne Robinson, who was kind enough to attend and engage the students during a lively Q&A session. 

 Click here for more information.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer/Marilynne Robinson Reading Group: Christian Humanism in Literature and Theology in a “World Come of Age" (Spring 2014)

"I have a very deep affection for Dietrich Bonhoeffer whom I consider to be not only a wonderful theologian but someone who really lived out and illuminated what he believed continuously in his life.  People that read Bonhoeffer are possessed by Bonhoeffer.” (Marilynne Robinson)

Through selected readings in Dietrich Bonhoeffer and celebrated novelist/essayist, Marilynne Robinson, participants explored Christian humanism as an incarnational philosophy of culture, i.e. an orienting intellectual framework based on Christology (on the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ). From this perspective they considered and imagined with Bonhoeffer and Robinson convivial and intelligent ways they might engage our late modern “world come of age.”

Co-facilitators:  Dr. Jens Zimmermann (Professor of English, CRC Interpretation, Religion and Culture);  Katharine Bubel (MAIH TWU alumna, PhD candidate UVic)


Scripture, Theology and Culture: Acts of Interpretation (Spring 2014)

Rev’d. Robert Wall, Th.D., the Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture & Wesleyan Studies at Seattle Pacific University. (March 2014)

“WHAT'S "CATHOLIC" ABOUT THE "CATHOLIC EPISTLES"?”

Acts of Interpretation - Rev’d. Robert Wall

Abstract:

On the basis of their significant diversity, most modern scholars presume the independence of the Catholic Epistles—James, 1-2 Peter, 1-2-3 John, and Jude—from each other and interpret them accordingly. Dr. Rob Wall defends the church's canonization of these letters as a sevenfold whole with its own literary aesthetic and theological integrity. The collection's title, “catholic,” acquired during the canonical process, is not a literary marker or metaphor of orthodox content, but indicates its role within the Bible of completing the apostolic witness of God’s word set out especially in the Pauline letters collection.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture.


Dr. Craig Bartholomew, Professor of Philosophy and Religion & Theology, Redeemer University College (January 2014)

"GENESIS 1:2 AND THE DOCTRINE OF CREATION"

Acts of Interpretation - Dr. Craig Bartholomew

Abstract:

Biblical interpretation is moving in a direction that gradually recognizes and seeks to redress a longstanding separation of biblical studies from ecclesial theology. To correct dogmatic abuse of scripture, historical criticism had justly drawn attention to the socio-cultural and historical dimensions of biblical texts, but largely neglected the Bible’s role as sacred text within a believing community. Over the last generation, theological interpretation has received renewed attention and seeks to close this gap. The tension between critical analysis of the Bible as an ancient text and its foundational function for the church’s faith has always existed, but historical criticism and modern hermeneutic theory has increased our awareness that biblical interpretation depends on a complex interaction of theological tradition, cultural influences, and exegetical practices. This speaker series features a combination of case studies, of concrete ‘acts of interpretation,’ and broader reflections on the intersection of exegesis, theology, and science and culture to address the question how a faithful, ecclesial reading of scripture handles these complexities of interpretation.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture. Co-sponsored by the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation and the Vancouver Area Science & Religion Forum.


 Scripture, Theology and Culture: Acts of Interpretation (Fall 2013)

Dr. Charles Raith II, Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at John Brown University

"AQUINAS AND CALVIN ON ROMANS: FRIENDS OR FOES?"

Acts of Interpretation - Dr. Charles Raith II

Abstract:

Scholars of the Reformation era continue to discover the narrow scope to which the Reformers’ critique of the “schoolmen” or scholastic theology applies, namely, that they are principally applicable to a late-medieval nominalist-infused voluntarist theology that differs substantially (at least soteriologically) from the thought of earlier schoolmen like Thomas Aquinas. In this essay, I provide evidence for this thesis by comparing key locations of Thomas Aquinas’s and John Calvin’s commentaries on Romans with an eye toward the role of participation in their soteriology and in particular the way human beings merit or do not merit salvation. I demonstrate how Calvin’s critiques of his opponents arising from his reading of Romans fail to find a target in Aquinas. At one point Calvin even critiques Thomas by name—one of only two locations in Calvin’s corpus where Aquinas is explicitly mentioned. Tellingly, Calvin misreads Thomas’s own thought and instead reads him according to a non-participatory soteriology akin to his immediate semi-Pelagian opponents. But I do not merely argue that Calvin misses Aquinas as a target of his critiques; I also suggest that Aquinas’s participatory soteriology could enrich Calvin’s interpretation of Romans—and this without undermining Calvin’s key concerns.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture.

Dr. Peter Enns, Eastern University, Professor of New Testament Interpretation

"REFLECTIONS ON THE BIBLE, EVOLUTION AND THE JOURNEY OF FAITH"

Abstract:

Both the historical study of the Old Testament and scientific models of origins have exerted considerable pressure on traditional Christian beliefs, calling into question not only the reliability of the Bible, but, for some, even the veracity of the gospel. Commonly, Christian rhetoric seeks to address this problem through various ad hoc solutions intended to hold together the scientific and biblical stories of creation, but these attempts cause their own kinds of theological stressors. A better way forward is to accept the theological challenges raised by archaeological and scientific investigation and embark on a spiritual journey of rethinking familiar conceptions of Scripture--and even God.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture together with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Religious Studies. Co-sponsored by the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation and the Vancouver Area Science & Religion Forum. 

Dr. Joel Green, Fuller Theological Seminary, Affiliate Faculty of Biblical Studies

"REFRAMING SCRIPTURE"

Acts of Interpretation - Dr. Joel Green

Abstract:

Important impulses can be discerned behind modern interest in reading the Bible “like any other book,” but the consequence of this interest has been devastating for the church’s engagement with the Bible as Holy Scripture. Without simply trying to turn the clock back to premodern times, Professor Green will propose models and frames for reading Scripture that promise a more robust and transformative encounter with the Bible.

Sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion, and Culture and the Department of Religious Studies.


Christian Humanism Speaker Series (Spring 2013)

Audio Lectures

All lectures listed here were organized and sponsored by the Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture. Co-organizers and sponsors are acknowledged under each lecture heading.

Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale University

“The Christian Humanism of John Calvin” (March 2013)


Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale University

“The Peculiar Hope of the Educator” (March 2013)


Rev. Martin Schlag, Professor of Moral Theology at Pontifical University

 "Christian Humanism from a Catholic Perspective" (March 2013)


Dr. Torrance Kirby, Professor of Ecclesiastical History at McGill University 
“Conversion, Epistemology and the Sacraments: Erasmian Humanism and the Transformation of Eucharist Theology in the 16th Century” (March 2013)


Dr. Brett Foster, Professor of  English at Wheaton College

“Fiery Tongues and Minds Afire: Christian Humanism's Legacy in Renaissance Poetry” (January 2013)


 Dr. Darren Provost, Professor of History at Trinity Western University

“Erasmus, Christian Humanism and Spiritual Warfare” (November 2012)


Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities at Baylor University

“Scripture in the Monastic Studium and the Humanistic Foundation.” (October 2012)


Dr. Jens Zimmermann, Former Canada Research Chair in Interpretation, Religion and Culture

"Christian Humanism: The True Foundation of the Liberal Arts." (October 2012)


Rev. John Behr, Professor of Patristics at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

“Patristic Humanism: The Beginnings of Christian Paideia” (September 2012)

Co-organized by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Trinity Western University


 Rev. John Behr, Professor of Patristics at St. Vladimir’s University

“Orthodox Christianity as Paideia: Faith, Reason, and Culture in the Early Church” (October 2010)

Co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Department at Trinity Western University


 Dr. Joan Lockwood O’Donovan, Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh

Christian Reasoning Colloquium (October 2009)

Dr. Oliver O’Donovan, Professor of Christian Ethics and Practical Theology at the University of Edinburgh

Christian Reasoning Colloquium (October 2009)

Conferences and Events

“Orthodox Christianity as Paideia: Faith, Reason, and Culture in the Early Church.”  Lecture by Rev. John Behr. Trinity Western University, Langley, BC. October 2010. The Former Canada Research Chair and Religious Studies Department sponsored the event.

“Is there God after God?” Panel discussion on Richard Kearney’s Anatheism. Boston College, Boston, MA. April 30, 2010. Organized by the Chair in conjunction with Prof. Kearney and Boston College’s Department of Philosophy. Participants: Richard Kearney, Merold Westphal, David Tracy, and Jens Zimmermann. http://frontrow.bc.edu/program/westphal/

Christian Reasoning Colloquium with Oliver O’Donovan and Joan Lockwood O’Donovan. Trinity Western University, Langley, BC. October 22-24, 2009.  The Chair initiated and organized the event.

 “Religion, Secularism and Politics.” Third Religion, Culture, and Conflict Symposium, in partnership with Joytv and Trinity Western University’s Religion, Culture and Conflict Group (September 23-25, 2009).

“Politics and the Religious Imagination.” Second Religion, Culture, and Conflict Symposium, in partnership with Joytv. Trinity Western University, Langley, BC. March 12-15, 2008. The Chair co-organized the event, which included speakers Simon Critchley, Richard Kearney, Raymond de Souza, and Paul Gottfried.

 “Muslim Voices.” First Religion, Culture, and Conflict Symposium, in partnership with Rogers Cable Television. Trinity Western University, Langley, BC. February 20-21, 2007. The Chair co-organized the event.