Friday, May 20, 2011

"The Power of the Word: Poetry, Theology and Life," Heythrop College and Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, June 17-18, 2011.

Religion has always been part of Western literary traditions. Many canonical literary texts engage extensively with theology and religious faith and practice, and theological and spiritual writers make liberal use of literary genres, tropes and strategies. Recent work in philosophy of religion, theology, the study of religions and literary criticism has once again brought to the fore issues which arise when literature, faith, theology and life meet, whether in harmony or in conflict.

This international conference aims to:
• foster a dialogue among scholars in theology, philosophy, spirituality and literature and between these and creative writers;
• discuss the ‘truth’ of poetry and the ‘truth’ of theology in relation to each other;
• reassess the idea of poetry as a criticism of life;
• discuss the relationship between faith, theology and the creative imagination through an examination of theoretical issues and the study of specific texts;
• examine the importance of poetry for personal and social identity, social cohesion and relations between faiths and cultures.

Keynote Speakers:

Gianni Vattimo (Turin): "Poetry as Prayer"
Jay Parini (Vermont): "Poetry as Scripture: the Idea of Inspiration"
Michael Paul Gallagher (Rome): "Identifying a Religious Imagination"
Paul Fiddes (Oxford): "Law and Divine Mercy in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and The Merchant of Venice"
Helen Wilcox (Bangor): "'When the Soul unto the lines accords': Faith and Imagination in the Poetry of Donne and Herbert"


Does Poetry Matter?                                          
Imagination, Theology and Faith
Poetry and Theology                                        
Poetry, the Mystical and the Devotional
Poetry and Sacred Texts                                   
Poetry, Ethics and Society
Poetry, Philosophy and Theology

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