Call For Papers
Fundamental Theology and Method Topic Session
Administrative Team: Susie Paulik Babka, Craig Baron, Stephen Okey
Does conversion mean acceptance of a superior belief or an “absolute truth”? Postmodern rejections of the metanarrative or “Truth” means that truth claims are suspect; knowledge claims are understood as conditioned. In such a climate, can we still speak of conversion? How should we speak of conversion in a postmodern world? Are we willing to say that there is Truth, but in a pluralistic world we do not have access to it? Should we go the way of Kierkegaard and contemplate that the Truth, while inaccessible to fallible and limited human beings, accesses us in the Incarnation?
For Lonergan, the notion of conversion—the historical transformation of persons into the mystery of God—is foundational to theological method: “Just as reflection on the operations of the scientist brings to light the real foundation of the science, so too reflection on the ongoing process of conversion may bring to light the real foundation of a renewed theology.” (Bernard Lonergan, “Theology in Its New Context,” in A Second Collection, ed. William Ryan and Bernard J. Tyrrell, University of Toronto Press: 1996, p. 67). Yet, David Tracy critiqued Lonergan for inadequately providing the truth value of claims to ultimacy in religious and theological language. What is specifically valuable in a conversion to Christianity when Lonergan’s point about conversion refers to objective content in the human experience of God? Tracy, like Lonergan, recognizes the pluralism inherent in the contemporary situation. Where do truth claims belong in a pluralistic world? Is conversion an active acceptance of truth claims or a more passive experience of being grasped? Can the personal and intimate experience of conversion be translated to the wider community? What is the role of such personal narratives in theology?
This section welcomes proposals dealing with the above issues; with the notion of conversion in the work of a particular thinker; with notions of “truth” and the apprehension of what is “real”; with the conversation between the particular and the universal in a pluralistic context. Proposals of 500 words or less, including AV needs, if any, should be send to Susie Paulik Babka at email@example.com by September 1, 2012. Please send attachments in Microsoft Word and include all contact information. Please also include a 100 word précis to be used for the online program in the event your proposal is accepted. Those who make proposals should ordinarily by CTSA members in good standing. Notification of acceptance will be given by September 21.