Society Returns to Atlanta for Sixth Annual Conference

January 11, 2016 Comments Off on Society Returns to Atlanta for Sixth Annual Conference

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“How, if at all, does God-talk matter?

For the seventh time, the Society of Adventist Philosophers gathered today in a hotel conference room for what leader Zane Yi, of Loma Linda University, called “conversation and friendship.”  A single question animated interactions among the 25 or so who were attending the Society’s annual meeting: How do human words relate to the Word, the divine self-communication that has given rise to the (biblical) people of God?  The meeting formal theme was “words and the Word: Adventism and the Linguistic Turn.”

Papers and discussion began with reflection on the connection between God and the language of the Bible.   It ended with consideration of whether, in a secularizing world, speech about God has any usefulness at all, any importance worth contending for?  Today in Atlanta, commonplace Adventist self-preoccupation, normally evident at gatherings of church scholars, gave way to focus on issues that fascinate and disturb all people of faith.”

To read the rest of Spectrum’s report by Charles Scriven, click here.

words and The Word: Adventism and the Linguistic Turn

September 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

https://adventistphilosophy.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/graphic1.jpg?w=480

Join us for our sixth annual symposium as we explore the intersections between philosophy of language, theology, and the life of faith.

Dates: November 19-20, 2015

Location: Atlanta, GA – Doubletree by Hilton, Athena Room

Keynote address: Richard Rice (Loma Linda University)

Schedule:

November 19, 2015

8:30am – Welcome and Introductions

9:00-10:30am – Session 1: Inspiration

“God’s Involvement in Inspired-Biblical-Language”
– Iriann M. Irizarry (Andrews Theological Seminary)

“The Incarnation as a Speech Act”
– Jasper St. Bernard II (University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point)

10:30-12:00pm – Session 2:  Interpretation

Against Idols: Wittgenstein’s Zerstören”
– Moises Estrada (Andrews Theological Seminary)

“How Long, O Lord?: Derrida’s Messianic Structure in Isaiah 6”
– Cosmin Ritivoiu (Fuller Theological Seminary)

12:00-1:30pm – Lunch

1:30-3:00pm – Session 3: Communication

“A Philosophical Turn to Words and the Word”
– Kenneth Bergland (Andrews Theological Seminary)

“The Disintermediated Word: Notes on Adventist Literacy and Information Culture”
– Keisha E. McKenzie (McKenzie Consulting Group)

3:00-5:00pm – Session 4

Keynote Address: “When Philosophy Killed God: Logical Positivism and the Death of God”

– Richard Rice (Loma Linda University)

Response: Timothy J. Golden (Walla Walla University)

5:30pm – Dinner followed by casual after dinner discussion of papers

November 20, 2015

3:30pm – Business meeting*

*Meeting will take place at a different location

Registration: Please register by e-mailing adventistphilosophy@gmail.com. The registration fee is $50 for non-society members and $25 for members. Payments can be made here or at the conference, but please register by sending us an e-mail. (Space is limited and priority will be given to society members.) The fee is waived for conference presenters and those who have already made a contribution to the organization of the conference.

Accommodations: Conference participants are responsible for their own meals, lodging, and transportation.

2015 Call for Papers

April 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

GraphicThe Society of Adventist Philosophers invites submissions for papers and panels to be presented at its annual symposium.

Theme: words and The Word: Adventism and the Linguistic Turn
Date: November 19, 2015
Location: Atlanta, GA

We welcome presentations dealing with developments and debates (historical and contemporary) in the philosophy of language, broadly construed, and their implications for Christian thought and practice, i.e. theology, the interpretation of Scripture, preaching, evangelism, etc.

Possible figures/topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Wittgenstein
  • Heidegger
  • Gadamer
  • Derrida
  • logical positivism
  • hermeneutics
  • pragmatism
  • structuralism
  • post-structuralism
  • deconstruction

Submission Guidelines:

Papers, paper abstracts and panel proposals of up to 300 words should be submitted by June 30, 2015 to adventistphilosophy@gmail.com. Paper length should not exceed 10 pages, double-spaced, or 3000 words.

Notice of acceptance will be sent by July 31, 2015.

Society Gathers in San Diego for Fifth Annual Conference

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

This year, we gathered to explore the possible relations and mis-relations between Adventism and 19th century ethical philosophy. Are humans “good with(out) God?”

Broaching this issue required situating Adventism’s relationship to the moral reasoning of the Enlightenment. Thinkers like John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant had articulated new was of thinking about right and wrong, emphasizing the calculation or maximization of utility or the weight and clarity of moral maxims and duty.Two features stand out of such approaches to morality—their universal aspirations and the displacing the central role religion traditionally played in grounding and motivating moral norms. Mill insists that God commands what God commands because God, too, is a utilitarian. Kant claims that God cannot command what goes against what we know to be moral rationally.

In the 19th century, we have both the culmination of the Enlightenment project, as well as a rejection of and reaction against it. Hegel, for example, constructs an all-encompassing rational system of explanation and understanding of reality and morality. Kierkegaard, we’ll see, rejects this as a form of intellectual hubris and idolatry.

Is Adventism an expression of or rejection of the Enlightenment’s intellectual and moral aspirations?

Charles Taylor has provided the helpful analysis of contemporary culture as being a three-cornered debate between religious humanists, secular humanists, and anti-humanists. The confusing nature of this debate is that allegiances shift and change with any of the two parties ganging up on the third, depending on the given issue. Does Adventism side with Kierkegaard and Neitzsche’s, some might say prophetic, critique of modernity? Or does it side with Hegelian systematization over Kierkegaardian fideism? Might it embrace certain elements of Neitzsche’s and Kierkegaard’s critique of Christianity?

Presenters and participants grappled with these and related questions throughout the day.

Good With(out) God?: Adventism and 19th Century Moral Philosophy

September 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Join us for our fifth annual symposium as we explore 19th century reflections on the relationship between faith and morality.

Dates: November 20-21, 2014

Location: San Diego, CA – Thomas Jefferson School of Law, #227

Keynote address: C. Stephen Evans (Baylor University)

Schedule:

November 20, 2014

8:30am – Welcome and Introductions

9:00-10:30am – Session 1: Ethics and Idealism

“Freedom, Pantheism, and Radical Evil in Schelling’s ‘Middle Period’”
– Darin McGinnis (Wheeling Jesuit University)

“Hegel, Adventists, and the Pursuit of Truth”
– G. Russell Seay (Oakwood University)

10:30-12:00pm – Session 2:  Ethics and Theism

“Grace and Good: Kierkegaard and the Challenge of Demythologized Religion”
– Charles Scriven (Kettering College of Medical Arts, emeritus)

“Is Everything Permitted Without God?”
– Ronald E. Osborn (Wellesley College)

12:00-1:30pm – Lunch

1:30-3:00pm – Session 3: Ethics and Emotions 

“A Re-evaluation Of Feeling And Its Consequences For Religious Thought”
– Anthony Malagon (Queens College)

Ressentiment and the Advent Hope”
– Jasper St. Bernard II (University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point)

3:00-5:00pm – Session 4

Keynote Address: “Divine Commands as the Basis for Moral Obligations”

– C. Stephen Evans (Baylor University)

Response: David Larson (Loma Linda University)

5:30pm – Dinner followed by casual after dinner discussion of papers

November 21, 2014

3:30pm – Business meeting*

*Meeting will take place at Hilton Bayfront (Coronado B)

Registration: Please register by e-mailing adventistphilosophy@gmail.com. The registration fee is $50 for non-society members and $25 for members. Payments can be made here or at the conference, but please register by sending us an e-mail. (Space is limited and priority will be given to society members.) The fee is waived for conference presenters and those who have already made a contribution to the organization of the conference.

Accommodations: Conference participants are responsible for their own meals, lodging, and transportation.

2014 Call for Papers

April 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Image

The Society of Adventist Philosophers invites submissions for papers and panels to be presented at its annual symposium.

Theme: Good With(out) God?: Adventism and 19th Century Ethical Philosophy
Date: November 20, 2014
Location: San Diego, CA

Keynote Speaker: C. Stephen Evans (Baylor University)

Seventh-day Adventism established itself in the 19th century in the tumultuous time of the second great religious awakening. The 19th century was also a century rich in philosophical thought.  What are the connections and disconnections between these two great phenomena of the 19th century; between a religious movement turned Protestant denomination in the United States and philosophical thought (so much of it on religion generally, and also on Christianity in particular) in Europe and England?

The Society of Adventist Philosophers calls for papers relating Adventism to the philosophers of the 19th century, focusing on their ethical/religious thought. Such figures include:

  • Kant
  • The German Idealists (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel)
  • Schopenhauer
  • Marx
  • Feuerbach
  • Mill
  • Kierkegaard
  • Nietzsche

Submission Guidelines:

Papers, paper abstracts and panel proposals of up to 300 words should be submitted by June 30, 2014 to adventistphilosophy@gmail.com. Paper length should not exceed 10 pages, double-spaced, or 3000 words.

Notice of acceptance will be sent by July 31, 2014.

Society Gathers in Baltimore to Address the Issues of Race and Gender

April 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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What, exactly, are humans?

Aristotle influentially classified us as “rational animals.” It is our rationality that distinguishes us from other animals and makes us what we are; it is our “essence.” According to Aristotle, however, it turns out that some humans are less rational than others, and therefore less fully human than others: “The slave is wholly lacking the deliberative element; the female has it but it lacks authority” (Politics 1260a11).

There are some humans who, because of their gender or race (Aristotle thought non-Greeks, i.e. “barbarians” should be slaves), should naturally be “ruled over by others.” Aristotle’s views strike us today as being naively patriarchic and ethnocentric. Yet we know they have been tremendously influential in the West, and through followers like Thomas Aquinas, also shaped Christian thinking on these matters.

How influential has Aristotle been in Adventism? To what extent must we disentangle ourselves from his way of thinking about human nature?

For the past several years, Adventist scholars have gathered annually to broach a variety of philosophical themes—epistemology, the teaching of philosophy in Adventist institutions of higher education, and the relationship between faith and reason. This year, our focus (broadly speaking) was metaphysical. Part of our reasoning for selecting the theme was due to the issue being examined by a sister scholarly society, as well as the world church—ordination. We wanted to explore the philosophical issue undergirding the theological debates. Hence our theme “Essentialism: Adventism and Questions of Race and Gender.”

Although papers were presented on both race and gender at our conference in Baltimore, MD (November 21, 2013), the essays published here focus on the former of the two issues. The reason for this is primarily practical (space and time), but the similarities between the ideological and social challenges of addressing both racism and sexism in our faith community makes a philosophical examination of race relevant for understanding the ways we think about gender.

G. Russell Seay, associate professor of religion at Oakwood University, observed the following before offering his response to this year’s keynote speaker:

The Society of Adventist Philosophers, perhaps the youngest of the Adventist scholars’ societies, is the first to raise (to my knowledge) the issue of race for analysis and critique in the Adventist church. The seriousness of your effort to enter thoughtful conversation around this pervasive, distracting, and demoralizing issue is demonstrated in your choice of a plenary speaker, George Yancy, one of the leading philosophers of race in America.”

Professor Yancy’s gripping presentation, “Speaking from Behind the Veil,” drew on phenomenological, logical, and theological analysis to help those in attendance not just understand, but feel what it is like to be “black” in America.

Yancy’s address was preceded by other thought-provoking papers, three of which are shared here. Matthew Burdette’s essay, “Adventism and American White Supremacy” clarifies that race is not simply biological and racism is not simply mistreating others. Both have to do with the way we look at each other and this has a lot to do with our collective sense of where we have come from and where we are going. We have to retell that story, perhaps radically, in order to overcome racism.

In “Do It Yourself,” Timothy J. Golden examines the two conflicting interpretations of Scripture offered by Adventist leaders about involvement in the civil rights movement: African-American church leaders demanded participation while white Adventists advocated withdrawal. After his analysis and explanation, Golden draws out implications for our reading of the Bible today.

Lastly, Aleksandar S. Santrac provides a historical overview and analysis of Adventist leaders John Harvey Kellogg and Ellen G. White’s views on race, contextualizing these views in nineteenth-century America.

While these essays do not represent the views of the members of our diverse society, they are presented here in the hopes of advancing a shared vision articulated by G. Russell Seay in his concluding comments at the conference:

“Is it possible that this conference, willing to address this important issue facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is the beginning of God showing us a better way? A better way may not be getting to a place where race is no longer an issue, but a place where we acknowledge its powerful gravitational pull to view the other with contempt, while affirming our value to their detriment.”

A special thanks to Abigail Doukhan, assistant professor of philosophy at CUNY-Queens, for her help in organizing and editing these papers into their present form, Bonnie Dwyer and the Spectrum team for providing the space for them in this issue, and Spectrum readers, for allowing us to join and contribute to the conversation.

*This introductory editorial, along with three papers from the conference, was published in Spectrum Magazine, Vol. 42, Issue 1 (Winter 2014).

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