Faith and Imagination Lecture Series

Winter 2018

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in Faith and Imagination | 0 comments

Winter 2018

Andrew Prevot, Boston College Title: “The Grace of Divine Union” April 13, 2018 In this lecture, Andrew Prevot shares some new research about the reception of Christian mysticism in contemporary theology and philosophy. He argues that certain postmodern ethical discourses about the self’s experience of being flesh and the self’s porosity to the other can be traced back to mystical sources in the Christian tradition. Yet what is sometimes lost in these postmodern transpositions of the mystical is a clear sense of the Christian doctrine of grace, which teaches that the mystical is not merely a characteristic of human subjectivity and relationality but an all-absorbing gift of union with God. Prevot reflects on why the memory of this gift is important for Christian life today. Dr. Andrew Prevot is an associate professor of theology at Boston College. He recently published his first book, Thinking Prayer (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015), which won the College Theology Society’s Best Book in Theology Award for 2015....

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Fall 2017

Posted by on Oct 14, 2017 in Faith and Imagination | 0 comments

Fall 2017

Romana Huk, Notre Dame University Title: “Sacrament as ars: Down-to-earth devotion in the poetry of David Jones (pursued through a reading of ‘ A, a, a Domine Deus’)” November 10, 2017 In this excerpt from a lengthy chapter on David Jones in her current book project, Romana Huk re-reads the implications of this major modernist’s “theopoetics” and raises questions about how scholars in the rapidly developing field of “religion and literature” have been approaching his work. A survivor of the Battle of the Somme and, like many after the Great War, a Catholic convert, Jones has been read as an apologist for his new faith and as the most radically-experimental of the WWI poets, though few have linked these potentially divisive aspects of the writer’s work. Professor Huk, who has written about avant-garde British poetry for more than a quarter of a century, and who now also edits the journal Religion & Literature, attempts to draw this complex poet’s innovative religious thinking out through his art, as well as through his surprising argument about what happened in “the Cenacle” in his longest and most challenging essay, “Art and Sacrament.” The poem named in her title can easily be found on the internet, but she recommends the following site because Colin Wilcockson, an old friend of Jones’, reproduces it properly there near the start of his brief essay (which also offers helpful insights for those who desire them, though they are not necessarily Prof....

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Winter 2017

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in Faith and Imagination | 0 comments

Winter 2017

Jeffrey Kosky, Washington & Lee University Title: “Portraits of Enchanting Secularity: Notes on faces, prayers, and criticism for those disenchanted with disenchantment” May 12, 2017 Ever since Max Weber, in 1917, famously characterized “the fate of our times” with the memorable phrase “the disenchantment of the world,” it has been customary to equate modernity, secularity, and disenchantment. One form this disenchantment takes is a cold, critical spirit that pervades modern life in general and academic writing in particular. But a significant number of people, both inside and outside the university, have grown “disenchanted with disenchantment” and are seeking alternatives to it. This lecture takes portraits made by the contemporary painter Y.Z. Kami as an entry point for a set of considerations that aims to break the connection of disenchantment and modern secularity. Culminating in an exhibition provocatively entitled “Endless Prayers,” Kami’s painting of faces explores counter-moods such as serenity and peace, or counter-states-of-minds such as prayerfulness and contemplativeness, or counter-ways-to-be such as tenderness and vulnerability. These ways of being in the world are largely dismissed by our commonly disenchanted disposition; they are similarly absent from the professional critics’ consideration of modern art. The lecture concludes by identifying a need for another form of criticism and suggesting that religious texts and authors might provide a valuable resource from which those secular critics interested in learning how to cultivate a spirited response other than that of the disenchanted critic might...

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Fall 2016

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in Faith and Imagination | 0 comments

Fall 2016

Matthew Mutter, Bard College Title: “‘What is Joy?’: Yeats, Paganism, and the Passions” November 3, 2016 W.B. Yeats claimed that the governing tension of his poetic imagination could be characterized as a competition between the “swordsman” and the “saint.” His writing figures this tension in multiple ways—Oedipus v. Christ, Homer v. von Hügel, Michael Angelo v. Saint Catherine of Genoa, Cuchulai v. Patrick, “antithetical” v. “primary,” self v. soul—but the principal fault-line for Yeats is between pagan and Christian. This lecture will explore the consequences of this tension for Yeats’s vision of the emotional life. Yeats pits the vehement pagan “passions” against the spiritual Christian “affections,” yet the energy underwriting all passion for Yeats is the state of “joy.” Through a close reading of Yeats’s “Vacillation,” this lecture will attempt to answer the elusive question that drives the poem: “What is joy?” In doing so I hope to articulate the stakes of a broader question: how do competing religious and secular imaginaries impact our understanding of the shape and value of the emotions? For a summary of the presentation, please click...

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