Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?

2013 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture
Thursday, October 31-Saturday, November 2


Call for Papers

Featured speakers:

  • Richard Bauckham, University of St Andrews
  • C. Stephen Evans, Baylor University
  • Paul Griffiths, Duke Divinity School
  • Jennifer Herdt, Yale Divinity School
  • Paul Martens, Baylor University
  • Kathleen Norris, essayist, poet, and author
  • Cyril O'Regan, University of Notre Dame
  • Anthony Rudd, St. Olaf College
  • Sylvia Walsh, Stetson University
  • Merold Westphal, Fordham University
  • Ralph Wood, Baylor University

On May 5, 1813, Søren Kierkegaard was born to Christian parents in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the Evangelical Lutheran Church was supported by the state with the Danish monarch as its supreme authority. Forty-two years later, Kierkegaard died while in the midst of directing an extended philosophical and theological attack on the Church of Denmark and its official representatives, whom he believed were undermining, rather than fostering, the practice of authentic Christianity.

With great passion and vision Kierkegaard engaged the challenges of his age: he articulated in his work and displayed in his brief life the journey of "becoming a Christian" within the crucible of early nineteenth-century Danish Christendom. He was perhaps the most important Christian thinker of his time. But is he a Christian thinker for our time—do his ideas resonate in our 21st-century context? To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Kierkegaard's birth, the 2013 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture will host a wide-ranging exploration of this question.

"Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?" invites reflection from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives about Kierkegaard's life and thought, including his intellectual antecedents and the later influence of his work in philosophy, theology, literature, history, psychology, and other fields. Instead of a forum for only Kierkegaard specialists, the symposium seeks to gather a broad and diverse audience interested in the value (and limitations) of Kierkegaard's thought for our contemporary age.

Presentation proposals are welcome from any discipline, as well as cross-disciplinary areas, especially literature, the arts, psychology, sociology, political science, communications, theology, philosophy, and biblical studies.

Possible topics include:

  • The contemporary relevance of Kierkegaard's critique of "Christendom"
  • Kierkegaard and the Bible
  • The value of the "passions" and emotions for Christian theology
  • Kierkegaard and the human person
  • The role of "subjectivity" in coming to know Christian truths
  • Kierkegaardian themes in literature
  • Kierkegaard on "indirect communication" concerning ethics and religious convictions
  • Parables, metaphor, and the role of the imagination in Kierkegaard's writings
  • Kierkegaard on time and eternity
  • Kierkegaard's relation to other theological figures (e.g. Barth, Bultmann, Brunner, Niebuhr, Ramsey)
  • Kierkegaard and the virtues
  • Kierkegaard and political theology

Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. Abstracts of no more than 750 words should be submitted by July 1, 2013 using the online form at www.baylor.edu/ifl/cfp. Call 254-710-4805 or e-mail ifl@baylor.edu for more information.