“Christian Realism and Public Life: Catholic and Protestant Perspectives,” a conference sponsored by the University of St. Thomas' Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, will explore the role and meaning of “realism” in a Christian ethic of public life.
The concept of “Christian realism” has influenced world leaders from Pope Benedict XVI to President Obama (who has identified Christian realist theologian Reinhold Niebuhr among his favorite philosophers). The impulse for Christians’ public theology to be realistic – based on a clear-headed assessment of facts about God, humanity and the world – is common to Catholics and Protestants alike. But their themes and definitions of realism differ
The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. Register for the conference at www.stthomas.edu/law/rsvp . For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (651) 962-4842. Attendees are welcome to attend the entire conference or selected sessions.
Sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20 and 21, at the university’s School of Law, located on Harmon Place between 11th and 12th Streets in downtown Minneapolis.
Speakers at plenary sessions, to be held in the Moot Courtroom at the School of Law, include:
• Gerard Bradley, a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School who is a leading legal scholar on natural law and also well-known for his scholarship in constitutional law and law and religion. Among his books are Essays on Law and Morality (2009) and Catholicism, Liberalism and Communitarianism: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the Moral Foundation of Democracy (1995).
• Dr. John Carlson, assistant professor of religious studies and associate director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University; he is known for his analysis of religion and ethics in political life, and has written extensively on Just War theory.
• Dr. William Cavanaugh, associate professor of theology at St. Thomas. Cavanaugh’s work examines the intersections of theology, the Christian church, and politics. Among his books: Theopolitical Imagination: Discovering the Liturgy as a Political Act in an Age of Global Consumerism (2002)
• Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, is a leading public intellectual and the author of numerous publications including, among others, Sovereignty: God, State, and Self (2008), Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (2003), Who Are We? Critical Reflections and Hopeful Possibilities (2000) and Augustine and the Limits of Politics (1996).
• Dr. James Turner Johnson, a professor of religion at the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences. One of the leading scholars of Just War history and doctrine, he is currently writing Sovereignty, Religion, and Political Responsibility in Western Thought: A Moral Analysis. His recent works include The War to Oust Saddam Hussein: Just War and the New Face of Conflict (2005) and The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Tradition (1997).
• Dr. Robin Lovin, who is considered the nation’s leading expert on Reinhold Niehbuhr. He is the Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Among his many publications on Reinhold Niehbuhr and Christian realism are Christian Realism and the New Realities (2008) and Reinhold Niebuhr (2007).
• Dr. Jeanne Heffernan Schindler, an assistant professor of humanities at Villanova University and an affiliate professor in its law school. Her publications include Christianity and Civil Society: Catholic and Neo-Calvinist Perspectives (2008).
• David Skeel Jr., S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where his teaching includes a course on Christian Perspectives on Law. His works on Christianity and law include the forthcoming “Christianity and the Large Scale Corporation,” in Cambridge Companion to Christianity and Law (John Witte, ed.) and “Christianity and the (Modest) Rule of Law” in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law (2006, Vol. 8, pages 809-839).
Other sessions at the two-day conference feature presentations by 18 other scholars on the influence of Christian realism in many areas: international law and policy, environmental stewardship, economics, solidarity, the proliferation of war, religious liberty, civic virtue, immigration policy, neurobiology, health care and more.
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