Winter Seminar on Progress in Theology 27-29 Jan 2022

January 27, 2022 - January 29, 2022
Department of Philosophy, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk



Whereas many contemporary universities originated from theological programs, over the past centuries the status of theology as a proper academic discipline has become heavily contested, to say the least. Among the many allegations levelled against theology is the idea that there is no progress in theology. The aim of this Winter Seminar is to investigate under which conditions, if any, theology can still function as an intellectually respectable player in the field of public academic studies. In particular, it zooms in on the notion of progress in theology. Is there any such progress? If not, is that a problem? If so, what shape does such progress take and are there ways in which theology might make more progress?


Over the course of three days, we will explore topics that concern the status of the discipline of theology. We set out with the intellectual tasks of theology: what work should theologians do which cannot be done by the other disciplines? In this connection it is important to explore what kind of knowledge theology produces, which research methods enable such knowledge production, and to what extent theological research can be replicated. Next, we will discuss whether there should be more progress in theology, or, rather, more theology in progress, i.e. more critical theological reflection on the modern ideal of progress and its ambiguities.


Confirmed speakers include:

- Prof. Kevin Schilbrack (Appalachian State University, United States), author of Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto (London: Blackwell, 2014)

- Prof. Benedikt Göcke (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany), editor of Die Wissenschaftlichkeit der Theologie (Münster: Asschendorf Verlag, 2018)

- Dr. Katrin Gülden Le Maire (FIIT, Heidelberg) finished a PhD-thesis on contemporary challenges to academic theology with reference to Wolfhart Pannenberg’s work (2019)

- Prof. Oliver Crisp (University of St Andrews, United Kingdom), Professor of Analytic Theology, Director of the Logos Institute for Analytic and Exegetical Theology and author of many works in ‘analytical theology’

- Prof. Katherin Rogers (University of Delaware, United States), specialized in two areas of study: the philosophy of religion and Medieval philosophy, author of several philosophical books related to the life of St. Anselm of Canterbury.

- Prof. Gijsbert van den Brink (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), author of Philosophy of Science for Theologians (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009)

-  Dr. Rik Peels (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), author of Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017)

Online and on location

The seminar will be organised in an online format. The seminar will be live streamed from the Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam (timezone: CEST). Since we recognise the added value of meeting in person, there will also be an option to attend the seminar on location

Call for Papers

We invite contributions from theologians, scholars in religious studies, philosophy, and anyone else interested in progress in theology.

Please send a 500 word abstract to Samira van der Loo (via [email protected]) by the 15th of October, 2021. The abstract should be suitable for blind review. Questions can be sent to the same email address. Find more information on the CFP on our website.

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




January 30, 2022, 9:00am CET

External Site

Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.

RSVPing on PhilEvents is not sufficient to register for this event.