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Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History

Phenomenology and Religion - One-Day Workshop


October 11, 2019
9:00am - 6:45pm
Lower Level Conference Room, Adolphus Busch Hall

Harvard Colloquium for Intellectual History

Phenomenology and Religion - One-Day Workshop


October 11, 2019
9:00am - 6:45pm
Lower Level Conference Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
October 11, 2019
9:00am - 6:45pm
Lower Level Conference Room, Adolphus Busch Hall

For the full agenda of this one-day workshop on phenomenology and religion, see below.

The relationship between phenomenology and religion has long been the subject of heated debate. While phenomenology has influenced some of the most important atheistic thinkers of the twentieth century, like Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre, it has also served as a haven for religious thinkers within philosophy. In his forthcoming book, Converts to the Real: Catholicism and the Making of European Philosophy (Harvard University Press, 2019), Edward Baring argues that this ambivalent relationship fueled the prodigious success of phenomenology in countries around Europe and then the world in the first half of the twentieth century. Phenomenology spread along transnational Catholic networks, as religious thinkers debated its compatibility with their beliefs. In this way, they both offered the means to ally phenomenology with religious ideas, and pointed out to secular thinkers how it could be radicalized to challenge traditional religion. In this day-long workshop, we return to the question of religion and phenomenology, to examine how phenomenologists allied their work with competing visions of the sacred (as understood by a range of faith traditions and even the nonreligious), and consider the implications of this work for the history of the present.

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Workshop Agenda

9:30am-10:00am: Coffee and Welcome

10:00am-12:00pm: Panel 1: Phenomenological Theologies in the Early 20th Century

Francis Fiorenza (Harvard Divinity School): Chair

Dermot Moran (Boston College): “Edith Stein and the Experience of God”
Sarah Shortall (University of Notre Dame): “Phenomenology and Theology in the Work of Jean Daniélou, Gaston Fessard, and Henri de Lubac”

12:00pm-1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm-3:00pm: Panel 2: Phenomenology and Theology in Recent French Thought

Sean D. Kelly (Harvard University): Chair

François-David Sebbah (Paris Nanterre University): “Law, Love and Phenomenology: Levians between Lyotard and Marion”
Edward Baring (Drew University): “This Sublime Truth: Jean-Luc Marion and the Legacy of Thomism in Contemporary Phenomenology”

3:00pm-3:30pm: Coffee Break

3:30pm-5:30pm: Panel 3: Religious Experience Beyond Phenomenology

Alisa Magri (Boston College): Chair

Amy Hollywood (Harvard University): “Varieties of Religious Experience in William and Henry James”
Noreen Khawaja (Yale University): “The Numinous in Rudolf Otto”

5:30-6:15pm: Closing Remarks

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