The Secular and the Sacred: An Interdisciplinary Look at the Works of Marilynne Robinson and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Trinity Western University
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"People that read Bonhoeffer are possessed by Bonhoeffer."
~Marilynne Robinson, Interview, Berkley Center

Trinity Western University's Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities program is pleased to announce a call for papers for its upcoming graduate conference—a component of a larger, three-day conference on Bonhoeffer's Christian humanism and the challenges of moral formation in 'a world come of age.'

The main conference, sponsored by the German and English sections of the International Bonhoeffer Society, will gather seven international scholars from different humanities disciplines, including Marilynne Robinson, to examine the work of the German theologian and Nazi-resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945). The lectures will build on the intrinsic connection between humanism and moral formation.

From its religious and philosophical beginnings in antiquity through the Renaissance and to its modern secular variations, humanism has been centrally concerned with education as character formation. The goal of the graduate sub-conference will be to examine the ways in which Christian humanism is presented in the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Marilynne Robinson and offers a way forward, beyond secular and religious fundamentalisms, to a religiously founded social ethic in a secular age. Given that the larger conference will examine Bonhoeffer's Christian humanism, papers that explicitly draw upon his thought or that discuss his influence on Robinson's works will be privileged. With the conference goal in mind, potential topics include, but are not limited to:

• definitions and models of morality (character) in the writings of Bonhoeffer and/or Robinson
• religious imagination (including rituals, practices) and character formation
• the concept of human dignity in the (post)modern world
• reading/recovering literatures of antiquity for life in present community
• divine immanence and manifestations of the sacred in everyday life.
• re-forming the role of religion in secular, public life (may include the spheres of education, politics, economics, etc.)
• Christian engagement with academia/politics.
• the salience of courage and conduct in Bonhoeffer and Robinson's writings


• A 250 to 500-word abstract of your paper.
• Your name and institution as well as your contact information, including e-mail address.

ABSTRACT DEADLINE: March 21st, 2014.
Please submit proposals to:

For more information on either the main conference or the graduate sub-conference visit: