CFP: Christianity's Encounter with Other Cultures (11/4/05; 3/10/06-3/11/06)

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Marshall, Donald

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Western Regional Conference for Christianity and Literature
Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA
March 10-11, 2006
The Word in the World: Christianity's Encounter with Other Cultures
Keynote speaker:
Alan Jacobs, Wheaton College, "Nietzsche or St. Basil: Paganism and
Poetry reading:
Brigit Pegeen Kelly, author of The Orchard, Song, and To the Place of
>From the beginning, Christians have encountered cultures whose values they
found alien or even hostile. Yet such cultures are precisely the ones in
need of redemptive evangelization. Whether insisting that Jerusalem has
nothing to do with Athens or that truth is from God wherever it is found and
that Christians could claim the gold of the Egyptians, Christians cannot
escape tension with the cultures they encounter, because Christianity both
asserts a particular truth and makes a universal claim. This tension
increased as Christians carried witness to their message to cultures
throughout the world. Christians have sometimes condemned alien cultures
wholesale; but they have sometimes found "intimations of the Gospel" in them
or even absorbed some elements of other cultures into Christian practice and
imagery. Writers as varied as Chinua Achebe, Shusaku Endo, Matteo Ricci,
and Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz have addressed these issues. Within Western
cultures, cultural traditions alien to Christianity have waxed and waned
over the centuries, from Dante's use of Vergil to Renaissance and Baroque
syntheses of classical and Christian culture. Enlightenment critique of
religion aimed to establish a purely secular culture, and much modern art,
high and low, seems deliberately offensive or brutally indifferent to
Christian values. Yet many writers (such as Dostoevsky, T. S. Eliot, Evelyn
Waugh, Flannery O'Connor, Marilynne Robinson, among many others) have
brought a Christian perspective to modern culture, and John Paul II asserted
that Christians have much to learn from studying the dark literature of the
20th century. What does it mean that non- or even anti-Christian theorists
like Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, and Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt have
drawn on Christian ideas in their analyses of contemporary culture? We
invite papers that probe Christianity's response to the challenge of alien
or antagonistic cultures and values from the beginning of Christianity to
the present day, in European and American culture and across the globe.
One-page proposals for papers of about 15 minutes length are due November 4,
2005. Proposals to read creative writing are also acceptable for
consideration. We also welcome proposals for roundtable discussions,
workshops, or readings with three or more presenters. Participants must be
CCL members or agree to join at the conference. Send proposals to Donald G.
Marshall, Humanities and Teacher Education Division, Pepperdine University,
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263-4225. Inquiries to
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Received on Fri Sep 16 2005 - 11:12:15 EDT