Mystical Theology and Continental Philosophy CFP

Steven Shakespeare of the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion has asked me to post the CFP for the ACPR’s forthcoming conference held in collaboration with the Mystical Theology Network. You can download the PDF above and the information is repeated below the fold.

Mystical Theology and Continental Philosophy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives Liverpool Hope University

3-5 January 2014

A collaboration between the Mystical Theology Network and the Association for the Continental Philosophy of Religion

This conference seeks to explore recent and historical developments in the dynamic relationship between mystical theology and continental philosophy. Issues surrounding the appropriation, elaboration, and re-contextualisation of mystical theology in continental philosophy have risen to prominence through recent engagements with apophaticism from the perspectives of both deconstruction (e.g. Jacques Derrida) and theological critiques of onto-theology (e.g. Jean-Luc Marion). Yet how might these philosophical and theological strands interweave with one another and how coherently or creatively do they relate back to mystical thinkers from antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern era? To what extent is it possible to articulate cogent negative philosophies and post-onto-theological mystical theologies? Are their points at which a turn to the mystical might disguise an appeal to mystification? And to what extent is the post-metaphysical apophatic turn being challenged by a renaissance of speculative thinking in both philosophy and theology?

With such questions in mind, this conference will examine the historical and contemporary developments of continental philosophy’s relationship with mysticism along with theology’s own renewed engagement with mystical tradition, particularly as it enters into dialogue with this comparable turn in philosophy. By exploring points of intersection and divergence, the conference aims to trace the nature of the relationship between these two disciplines in the hope of moving towards a new awareness of their complementarity and integrity. Furthermore, the conference seeks to deepen our understandings of the enduring call of the mystical and the contemporary revival of some ancient and liminal voices.

The conference welcomes papers on both Mystical Theology and Continental Philosophy, with a particular focus on papers that draw the two disciplines into dialogue. Papers which examine the historical relationships and contexts are welcomed alongside papers which explore creative and constructive theological and philosophical accounts of mystical thinking. Speakers and attendees from philosophical, theological, historical, literary, psychological, sociological and other backgrounds are welcome.

Relevant thinkers and themes might include (but are not limited to): Derrida, Marion, and negative theology; Hegel, Schelling, idealism and speculative mysticism; Heidegger and medieval mystical theology; Kabbalah and Sufism; literature and aesthetics; metaphysics and post-onto-theology; the post-secular and the ‘return to/of religion’; phenomenology and mystical experience; historical evaluations of mystical writers in the Christian tradition; mystical theology, pastoral care, and psychotherapy; the relationship between theology and philosophy; existentialism and mysticism; transcendence and immanence; idealism and materialism; selfhood, soul, and spirit; identity and identification; alterity; creativity and imagination; creation and redemption; reason and faith; knowing and unknowing.

Papers will be 30 minutes plus 15 minutes for discussion. Postgraduate students are invited to present 20 minute papers to be presented in joint panels followed by discussion.

Please send abstracts of around 300 words to Dr Simon D Podmore or Dr Duane Williams no later than 15th July 2013: or

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