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The Ongoing Theopoetics Working Group
Annual Meeting at joint sessions of AAR and SBL

Theopoetics and Theopolitics
Course Site

Harvard Divinity School
Mayra Rivera Rivera, Spring 2011

This course will explore Christian approaches to God-talk that emphasize–both in content and in style–their character as intellectual discourse as well as creative practice. It will engage various contemporary “theopoetic” and “theopolitical” works to theorize their understandings of the relationship between language, the world, and the divine, as well as between the mystical and political dimensions of religious language.

The Power of the Word:
Poetry, Theology and Life
Conference Site

Heythrop College, University of London
2011 – 2012

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.

Drew Colloquia in Transdisciplinary Theological Studies

By generating a polyglossal matrix of conversation, the Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia foster a fresh style of theological discourse that is at once self-deconstructive in its pluralism and constructive in its affirmations. Committed to the long-range transformation of religio-cultural symbolism, this series continues Drew’s deep history of engaging historical, biblical and cultural hermeneutics, current philosophy, practices of social justice and experiments in theopoetics.

Theopoetics and the Divine Method:
Towards Process Theologies of Multiplicity

April 22-24, 2010
Claremont School of Theology

Held in conjunction with the Inaugural Lecture of Roland Faber, this conference is exploring the complex ways in which process theology is, should, and can be the “theopoetics” of such theologies of multiplicity, as well as ways in which it contributes to a theology of multiplicities. In its insistence on the ultimacy of the irreducible manifoldness of the world in ontological, aesthetical and ethical terms, in its multiple ways of expressing this insistence on manifoldness as a Divine gift, this “poetics” talks about the love of the folded God for the manifold of the process of becoming and becomes the creative expression of this love as the mutual happening and relationality of its creatures.

In the phrase of Whitehead’s “poet of the world” this conference will explore the poiesis of the mutuality of the world of becoming and of value, of creativity and the Divine, of new formulations of this mystery in a world of religious violence, political antagonism, and ecological turmoil in order to address with its “metaphors” the deep importance of the recognition of such a poietics of love

Presidential Forum Workshop

Bethany Theological Seminary, March 29 -30, 2009

Theopoetics is a style of writing or a theological stance, an artful way of working with language and worldview. The theo-poet uses the occasion of the poem to create space for the reader or the public to face the unknown, engage Mystery, to dream and be transformed.  Come and dialog and dream in this creative space about how theopoetics
might enhance your faith journey.

Leaders:  Scott Holland and Travis Poling.  Scott Holland is Associate Professor of Peace Studies and Public Theology and Director of Cross-Cultural Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary.  Travis Poling is a Master of Divinity student at Bethany Theological Seminary.

Prophets, Poets & Pragmatists:
The Historic Peace Churches and Public Theology

Scott Holland Lecturing: November 1-3, 2009
The 2009 Bethel College Menno Simons Lecture Series

In 1950, the John P. and Carolina Schrag Kaufman family established the Menno Simons Lectureship Endowment. This fund promotes research and public lectures by recognized scholars relating to Anabaptist-Mennonite history, thought, life and culture, both past and present. In 1997, the family of William E. and Meta Goering Juhnke contributed substantially to the endowment. The Kaufman and Juhnke families had their roots in the Eden Mennonite Church of Moundridge. In 2009 the invited lecturer will be Scott Holland, who will address the following:

* Public Theology as Seeking Cultures of Peace
* Entering Whitman’s America: A Theopoetics of Public Life
* The Poetics of Peace
* Prophetic Vision, Poetic Voice and Pragmatic Solidarity

Theopoetics Workshop: Opening World with Word

2008 Power of Words Conference, Goddard College
Callid and Kristina Keefe-Perry

We intend for this workshop to serve two main purposes.  The first is to give participants some insight into the contents and possibility of theopoetics in general, and the second is to show what theopoetics has to offer specifically to practitioners of transformative language arts.

Theopoetics is a re-emerging field of interdisciplinary study, combining elements of poetic analysis, theology, narrative study, and postmodern philosophy.  It operates on a continuum: from theology working in a poetically interpretive way, to poetically defining or demarcating the idea of the Sacred, maintaining beauty and the knowledge of language’s tenuous nature.

It has been our observation and conclusion that there are certain aspects of Healing, Art, and Creation which a study of theopoetics could deepen, enliven, and sustain. Thus, thirdly, we want to share from personal experience some of the ways in which we have been sustained on our journey with language and engage with others on the role of language in vocation and spiritual path.  We hope that this workshop will serve as an intellectually and creatively stimulating introduction to theopoetics and as an exploration of its possible use in spiritual nurture and growth.   We believe theopoetics can serve to aid in moving our lives more fully toward fulfilling wholeness.

Theo-logy to Theopoetics

2001 Ministry of Writing course with Scott Holland
Earlham School of Religion

The postmodern condition may, for good reasons, be characterized by incredulity toward churchly morality and God-talk. Nevertheless, there is an emerging spirituality marked by intellectual curiosity and aesthetic desire that celebrates poem over proposition,  metaphor over moral.  This workshop will explore the possibilities of naming oneself and rending God’s name through a writing life informed more by theopoetics than theology.

Scott Holland is Assistant Professor of Peace Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies and Director of Campus Ministry at Bethany Theological Seminary.  He is also a contributing editor to Cross Currents: The Journal for the Association of Religion and Intellectual Life.