Report: Between Eternity and Historicity: Exploring the ‘After’ of Christianity
On May 9, 2017 our centre held an international one-day seminar called Between Eternity and Historicity: Exploring the ‘After’ of Christianity. The main speakers of the event were Colby Dickinson from Loyola University, Chicago, Justin Sands from North West University, Potchefstroom, and the researcher and coordinator of the cTPM Martin Kočí. The seminar was organized within the project Christianity after Christendom: Paradoxes of “Theological Turns” in Contemporary Culture (PRIMUS/HUM/23).
The first paper called “Theology, Faith and the Future of Metaphysical Thinking” was delivered by Martin Kočí, who centred his thinking around Jan Patočka’s essay Negative Platonism: Reflections Concerning the Rise, the Scope, and the Demise of Metaphysics—and whether Philosophy Can Survive It. What kind of metaphysics has died? What kind of philosophy can survive? Touching the themes like faith, freedom, and the concept of thinking Martin Kočí offered some ways of answering the questions, to which Filip H. Härtel and Jan Frei had opportunity to react in their responses. For instance, Jan Frei went on to elaborate the problem of the relation between Patočka’s notion of idea as related to faith and freedom.
Colby Dickinson’s paper “Poverty of History, Poverty of Theology” started with the questions: “Can a sacred site serve as a reminder of what Paul Ricoeur has called a ‘critical history’, a suspension of history perhaps somewhat akin to what Walter Benjamin considered to be a ‘weak messianic force’ moving within history, or what Johann Baptist Metz has designated in a theological context as a ‘dangerous memory’? How might we understand the existence of such sites as forces of counter-violence and how might they critique other, violence-condoning monuments?” This complex theme was also the invitation for Gábor Ambrus and Jan Regner to present their related ideas. Jan Regner offered a new perspective on the paper by presenting the ideas of Fr Aloisius Pieris, the major representative of the Asian Liberation Theology, whom he had met during his stay in Sri Lanka. Gábor Ambrus then reflected on various themes presented in the paper, such as political theology and the nature of analogy, metaphor and metaphysical thinking.
The final speaker was Justin Sands, whose presentation “After Onto-Theology: What Lies Beyond the ‘End of Everything’” proposed the view that “once onto-theology is accepted as a basic reality, then philosophy, in order to address this phenomenon of human reason, might find a welcome partner in systematic, pastoral and liberation theologies.“ In his response, Pavel Roubík introduced into the debate the notion of original sin. Some of these themes together with those introduced in the responses by Matej Kováčik were the subject of the concluding discussion.