The morning slot was taken up with Susannah Ticciati’s paper on Augustine and Oliver Davies’s look at cosmology and anthropology. Although clearly both papers were self-contained, Davies made it equally clear where the overlaps lay. Indeed, I was very impressed by Davies in general: his presentation was dynamic, and, whatever you think about it, he demonstrated his commitment to pushing Transformation Theology. A lot of what he said – in effect, arguing for the need to recognise the whole person, body and mind, as a subject in dialogue with others – resonated quite deeply with me, not least because it made me reflect on the way in which God stands in relation to God’s world through Jesus. And Susannah’s paper? It’s one of those I suspect I’d appreciate more if I read it. It was dense, and the acoustics in the lecture room didn’t aid comprehension, even though I was sitting in the front row.
|Another Transformation Theologian...|
The real star of the day, though, was Christoph Schwöbel, formerly of King’s and the Founding Director of its Research Institute in Systematic Theology. Although I found Oliver Davies’s morning paper the most stimulating, Schwöbel provided many helpful comments during the Q&A sessions following the papers, and delivered a thoughtful paper of his own in the evening on Colin Gunton’s theological anthropology and John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. Again, for me (and I apologise for sounding like a skipping CD), the environment affected my appreciation of what Schwöbel was saying. It’s true that we were in a different lecture room with far better acoustics, but I felt cramped in my seat (minimal legroom) and a little too warm. Still, with someone such as Schwöbel, I do feel that even a little exposure is better than none at all.
So pros and cons… Well, I needn’t really state the cons, as the discerning reader will already have picked these up. And one major positive factor I noted was the balance of men and women: pretty much equal. At many conferences I’ve been to, men usually outnumber women quite considerably; here, that wasn’t the case.
Many thanks to Jacob Philips for organising the day, and I’m looking forward to next year’s one already.