Lund Mission Studies Open Seminar 2015: Theological and philosophical responses to syncretism

Time: 23rd March 10 am - 24th March noon Location: Lund University, LUX (Helgonagatan 3), for the meeting premises see the program Sponsored by: Lunds Missionssällskap and Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (Lund University) Seminar fee: The seminar is free of charge To register: Click "TPRS-2015 registration page" on the left margin of this website and follow the instructions.

Rationale of the seminar

One of the greatest areas of mismatch between the self-image of many religions and the way the religions are analysed from outside is in the question of syncretism, or blending of religions. In many religious traditions, there is a strong urge to attempt to preserve the purity of religions, and even the idea that there is pure religion. However, from an analytical outsider perspective it has generally been agreed that there is no such a thing as a pure religion. Interestingly enough, this type of unrealistic religious self-image has parallels outside the religious communities. The idea of religions as pure and monolithic entities is also cherished in other contexts, both academic and political. This undergirds a generally tense and conflictual relationship to religion as a phenomenon. In other words, the image of religion as pure may constitute a hindrance to creative and (de-)constructive academic approaches to religious studies. It may block a political or societal understanding of the role of religion. The aim of this seminar is twofold. First, it aims to elaborate theologically the consequences of syncretism to Christian faith. Second, this project aims to elaborate the consequences of syncretism to philosophy and empirical research on Christianity. The plenary speakers of the seminar are selected in such a manner that it facilitates the blending of theological and outside perspectives, as well as theoretical and empirical approaches. The confirmed contributors are: Gavin D’Costa, Bristol Elizabeth Harris, Liverpool Tan Kang San, Kuala Lumpur Peter C. Phan, Georgetown (USA) Elisabeth Gerle, Uppsala Jonas A. Jørgensen, Copenhagen Mika Vähäkangas, Lund Patrik Fridlund, Lund Lotta Gammelin, Lund