Duke Graduate Conference in Theology

Duke Graduate Conference in Theology

Oct. 4 & 5, 2013

The first annual Duke Graduate Conference in Theology will examine the topic “Tradition and Traditions.” In the past century, the study of Christian theology has been marked by a renewed interest in patterns of thought and ways of speech that have resonance with the historical development of the church. Variously called ressourcement or ad fontes, this renewed interest has impacted nearly all fields of theology, including biblical studies, ethics, historical studies, practical theology, and systematics. Scholars regularly invoke the language of tradition, traditions, or “The Tradition,” whether in order to locate their work within a specific tradition or set of traditions, or in order to provide a warrant for a theological claim. Yet this turn to tradition has not been received with universal satisfaction. Concerns about the relationship of “tradition” to Scripture and issues of power – especially in regards to alienation, colonialism, patriarchy, and cultural violence – remain, and highlight the need to recognize the multiplicities of histories and voices.

In light of such issues, and given the likelihood of their ongoing significance for theology, a critical assessment of both tradition and traditions is in order. The 2013 Duke Graduate Conference in Theology will provide a forum for graduate students to engage in this assessment through conversation, paper presentations, and a keynote lecture, while promoting and fostering friendships and the exchange of ideas among those studying the various disciplines that constitute theological knowledge.


Current graduate students from all theological schools and programs in religion are invited to attend this conference. The registration fee is $15. A Friday evening welcome reception, Saturday morning coffee and an off-site cookout Saturday evening are included in the registration fee. If needed, event parking for Friday and Saturday in the Duke Bryan Center is available for $10, which will be prepaid during registration. Additional details will be emailed to the address you provide during registration. If you have any questions, please contact dukegct@gmail.com.

Directions to Duke Divinity School


Please register by Sept. 26.


Friday Oct. 4

3:00-3:30 p.m.: Check-in
3:30-5:15 p.m.: Panel A, Dr. Stanley Hauerwas responding
5:15-6:15 p.m.: Welcome reception
6:15-7:45 p.m.: Keynote address by Dr. Charles Mathewes, “Symbolic Analysts, Hierophanic Managerialism, and the Theurgy of Spiritual Capital: Or, Are We Fated to Be Don Juans of the Myths?”

Saturday Oct. 5

8:15-8:30 a.m.: Gathering & morning coffee
8:30-10:00 a.m.: Panel B, Dr. Lester Ruth responding
10:00-10:15 a.m.: Break
10:15-11:45 a.m.: Panel C, Dr. Mary McClintock Fulkerson responding
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Lunch
1:00-2:45 p.m.: Panel D, Dr. Paul Griffiths responding
2:45-3:00 p.m.: Break
3:00-4:30 p.m.: Panel E, Dr. Willie Jennings responding
5:00 p.m.: Off-site BBQ, location TBD


Panel A: After the Enlightenment: Modernity and the Politics of Traditions

  • Christina McRorie, UVA Ph.D., "Should Political Economy be within the Bounds of 'Tradition': A Case for Reclaiming Adam Smith as a Theological Interlocutor?"
  • Matthew R. Jantzen, Duke Divinity Th.D., "On the Recent Debates within the Tradition of Augustinian Political Thought: Eric Gregory, John Milbank, and the Future of Augustinian Engagements with Liberalism"
  • David Horstkoetter, Marquette Ph.D., "The Fracture in US Christianity, Hegemonic State Sovereignty and Rowan Williams: From the Tradition that Compromises Traditions to a Theopolitics for the Subject Within Multiple Traditions"
  • Travis Pickell, UVA Ph.D., "Choosing My Tradition"

Panel B: Creation and Creations: Tradition, Worship and the World

  • Joelle Hathaway, Duke Divinity Th.D., "A Luminous Glimpse: Seeing the Sacramentality of the World"
  • Paul Gleason, UVA Ph.D., "A New Creation: Performing the Book of Common Prayer"
  • Samantha Arten, Duke Musicology Ph.D., "Traditions for Music and Music for Traditions in the English Reformation"

Panel C: Revolution and the Tensive in Tradition: Oppression, Resistance, and Freedom

  • Patrick Gardner, Notre Dame Ph.D., "Spirit, Tradition, and the Pneumatology of Liberation"
  • Russell Johnson, U. Chicago Ph.D., "A Religion of Losers: Dissenting Voices in Church History"
  • Michelle Wolff, Duke GPR Ph.D., "Sex in the Christian Tradition: How Michel Foucault’s Biopolitics Illuminates Martin Luther’s Theology in “The Freedom of a Christian””

Panel D: Desired, Given, Received: The Role of Traditions in Theology's Response to Truth

  • Kristen Drahos, Notre Dame Ph.D., "What Is the Truth of the Christian Event? Possibilities for Balthasarian Logic in Response to Alain Badiou"
  • Taylor Knight, Oxford D.Phil., "The Holy for the Holy: How Tradition gives Theology in Jean-Luc Marion's Hermeneutics of Charity"
  • Aaron Pidel, Notre Dame Ph.D., "Conciliar Reception as Tradition and its Contemporary Implications"
  • Joseph Lenow, UVA Ph.D., "Theology in Soft Focus: Nostalgia and the Appeal to Tradition"

Panel E: Tradition Normed and Norming: Church Practices of Reception and Critique

  • Mark James, UVA Ph.D., "Every Jot and Tittle: A Masoretic Model for Resolving Scriptural Problems"
  • Jordan Hylden, Duke Divinity Th.D., "Three Construals of Scripture and Tradition, Canon and Creed: George Lindbeck, Robert Jenson, and Kevin Vanhoozer"
  •  Bo Helmich, Duke Divinity Th.D., "Beauty Ancient and New: Karl Barth's Debt to Augustine's Aesthetics"

Keynote Speaker

Charles Mathewes is the Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Evil and the Augustinian Tradition and A Theology of Public Life, both with Cambridge University Press; Understanding Religious Ethics from Wiley-Blackwell; and The Republic of Grace, from Eerdmans.  He is currently the Senior Editor leading a team producing a four-volume "Major Works" collection for Routledge Publishers on the field of Comparative Religious Ethics.  He is also Associate Editor of the forthcoming third edition of the Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, and created a 36-lecture video and audio series with the Teaching Company, entitled "Why Evil Exists."

Charles Mathewes