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2019: "Faith, Reason, Theosis"

Patterson Triennial Conference on Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue

Monday, June 3 - Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Fordham University School of Law
150 W. 62nd St. New York, NY

There are many who see reason and theosis, or “deification,” as mutually exclusive categories or approaches to theology, marking the difference between “Western” and “Eastern” Christianity. But is this understanding accurate, or is the relationship between reason and theosis more complex than is often assumed? The 14 speakers at this year’s Patterson Triennial Conference will examine this question from Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant perspectives.

Read the Fordham News article about Professor Williams' keynote address.

Every three years, the Center produces the Patterson Conference on Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue. Previous conferences include, "Christianity, Democracy and the Shadow of Constantine” (2013), "Orthodox Constructions of the West" (2010) and "Orthodox Readings of Augustine" (2007). Publications have resulted from all three conferences. Proceedings from the first three conferences are currently available for online purchase, and the proceedings from "Tradition, Secularization, and Fundamentalism" are forthcoming from Fordham University Press (2019). 

Conference support provided by the Patterson Triennial Conference Endowment.

Schedule of Events

Please Note: All sessions will be held in Law School, Room 3-01, unless otherwise indicated.  

Monday, June 3

4:00—5:30  Session #1 

Moderator: Vera Shevzov (Smith College)

  • Robert Davis (Fordham University) "The Modern Mysticisms of Meister Eckhart"
  • Andrew Prevot (Boston College) "Modernity, Postmodernity, and the Ambiguities of Contemporary Theosis”

5:30—6:00  Light Refreshments
6:00—7:30  Keynote Lecture (LAW 4-01)

Moderator: Pantelis Kalaitzidis (Volos Academy for Theological Studies)

  • David Bentley Hart (Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies) “Theosis as Reason’s Natural End”

Tuesday, June 4

9:00—9:30  Coffee/Pastry
9:30—11:30  Session #2 

Moderator: Candace Lukasik (UC Berkeley)

  • Kirsi Stjerna (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University) “Union with Christ: Martin Luther on the Tension between Reason and Faith”
  • William Abraham (Southern Methodist University) “Revelation, Reason, and Experience: A Wesleyan Perspective”

11:30—2:00  Lunch Break
2:00—4:30  Session #3 

Moderator: Emanuel Fiano (Fordham University)

  • Carolyn Chau (King’s University College at Western University) “Nearness and Distance: The Paradox of Holy Intimacy in the Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar”
  • Philip Kariatlis (St.Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College) “Theosis as Christification and Human Becoming”
  • Michele Watkins (University of San Diego) "Differentiation as Disfigurement: A Womanist Polemic on the Co-option of Divinity"

4:30—6:00  Extended Break
6:00—7:30  Keynote Lecture (McNally Amphitheater, 140 W. 62nd St.)

Moderator: Joseph M. McShane, SJ (President, Fordham University)

  • Rowan Williams (University of Cambridge) “The Embodied Logos:  The Renewal of Mind and the Transformation of Sense”

7:30—9:00  Reception (McNally Amphitheater, 140 W. 62nd St.)

Wednesday, June 5

8:30—9:00  Coffee/Pastry
9:00—11:30  Session #4

Moderator: Ben Dunning (Fordham University)

  • Stephen Davis (Yale University) ““Deification in Evagrius Ponticus and the Transmission of the Kephalaia Gnostika in Syriac and Arabic””
  • Peter Bouteneff (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary) “ἀγνωσία γνῶσις: The Qualified Necessity of Human Reason in Dionysius”
  • Ashley Purpura (Purdue University) “Enlightening Ecstasies: Byzantine ‘Mystical’ Theologians and Authoritative Knowledge”

11:30—12:00  Coffee/Light snacks
12:00—1:30  Keynote Lecture 

Moderator: Christiana Zenner (Fordham University)

  • Jean Porter (University of Notre Dame) "I Call You Friends: Divinization, Grace and Glory in Aquinas' Late Theology"