The Problem with God: Christianity and Literature in Tension

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL)


The Problem with God:

Christianity and Literature in Tension

Harvard Divinity Scool, Cambridge, MA, March 29-30, 2019

An International Meeting of the

Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL)

Organizers: Matthew Potts (Harvard Divinity School) and

Gregor Thuswaldner (North Park University)


Explorations of the problem of God have not been confined to theology and philosophy alone, but have also been investigated in literary works. Numerous writers in the Western tradition, especially since the dawn of the Enlightenment period, have produced works of art that reveal religious tensions. Unlike philosophers and theologians, however, literary authors have often written about concrete problems literary characters experience with God. What’s more, literary works self-consciously wrestle with language in a way that can uniquely illuminate limits and generate possibilities for theological language. Countless writers from Goethe to Auden and from Dickinson to C. S. Lewis have investigated problems with the Christian God, doctrine, and practices. To this day, religious struggles have proven to be quite productive in literature.

This conference seeks to address religious tensions in works of writers influenced by Christianity.

Paper presentations may address

  • Literature as critique of God, and/or Christian doctrine, and/or Christian practice
  • Literature as critique of the critique of Christianity
  • Post-secular renderings of Christianity in literature
  • The problem with God and the problem with language
  • Faith vs. doubt
  • Organized religion vs. individual spirituality


Please send 250-word abstracts and brief bios to both organizers at and Presenters will need to become members of the Conference of Christianity and Literature. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes in length. The organizers cannot offer compensation for conference or travel expenses. The Deadline for abstracts is December 1, 2018.