Mid-year scholarly engagements

A message from acting Executive Dean of Theology and Philosophy Associate Professor Richard Colledge:

With the coming of mid-year, we are entering the ‘peak season’ of engagement with scholarly societies and professional communities. This is certainly the case across the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy (FTP) as we host a series of events that bring together colleagues from across Australia and internationally, to engage in dialogues that look to consolidate existing alliances and forge new collaborative endeavours.

At a time when the faculty is forging closer alliances with Jesuit schools of theology and philosophy internationally, and in the context of the recent launch of the Loyola Institute at ACU, the School of Philosophy was recently honoured to welcome the inaugural holder of the Joseph Chair in Catholic Philosophy at Boston College Professor Dermot Moran.

Earlier in May, Professor Moran gave the 2024 Simone Weil Lecture in Human Value to a packed audience at Mercy Lecture Theatre on our Melbourne campus on the topic: 'Empathy and Interpersonal Relations'. In the lecture, Professor Moran interwove a variety of perspectives on the complex nature of empathy in the works of Edith Stein, Simone Weil, and various other figures. Along with other seminars and scholarly interactions with staff and students, Professor Moran’s visit was also an opportunity to plan future research collaborations with Boston College in association with other North American and European universities.

In mid-June the School of Philosophy will host its annual phenomenology workshop on our Melbourne campus, this year themed around the influential 1955 essay by the German thinker Martin Heidegger on 'The Question Concerning Technology'. This year’s meeting, co-convened with University of Melbourne, will feature a full day of short papers and discussions that are part of a larger collaborative project. Papers will be offered by colleagues from across Australia and internationally, taking a range of angles of engagement with the theme.

Later in the month of June, the School of Theology will host the 2024 Spiritual Care Australia Conference on our North Sydney campus. Spiritual Care Australia (SCA) is the peak body in Australia dedicated to ensuring excellence in the practice of spiritual care across all industries and sectors, including hospitals, aged care, emergency services, defence forces, prisons, schools, universities, workplaces and in the community. It offers support of professional practitioners whose competencies are assessed and credentialed according to a capabilities framework. This national collaborative gathering of SCA comes at a time when FTP is expanding our postgraduate courses in spiritual direction and in professional supervision, our higher degree program in ministry, and while we are developing a professional diploma program in chaplaincy.

Finally, later in July, the School of Theology and the Biblical and Early Christian Studies program within our Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, look forward with great anticipation to hosting the 78th General Meeting of the Society for New Testament Studies on the Melbourne campus. The SNTS is a learned society founded in 1938 and which has met for its annual gathering since 1947. FTP is honoured to host this rare southern hemisphere gathering of the society.

The conference will feature seminars across a series of themes, including: early Christianity; presentations of God in the New Testament; the Johannine Writings; methodology and historiology concerning the historical Jesus; New Testament papyrology, epigraphy and textual criticism; Jewish law in the New Testament; and, New Testament Theology between History of Religions and Contemporary Hermeneutics.

Such events and a series of other seminars and symposia during 2024, are not merely an exercise in professional service, nor in profile raising for its own sake. They are important opportunities for building partnerships, supporting growth in coursework and higher degree studies, and for building national and international research collaborations.

The work of leading such engagements is an important service to the university and the conveners have our thanks and appreciation.

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