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Call for Papers: 2017 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture: The Bible and the Reformation

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2017 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture

The Bible and The Reformation

Co-sponsored by the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion and Westminster Theological Seminary

Proposal Deadline Extended:

The deadline for proposal submissions has been extended to June 15, 2017

Quick Facts

  • Dates: Wednesday, October 25-Friday, October 27, 2017
  • Location: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
  • Deadline for Proposals: April 1, 2017

Web Site:

Conference Description and Call for Proposals

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the European Reformation, a time of incalculable significance for the history of Christianity. This was the decisive moment at which the Bible was translated into the leading European languages. Beyond its obvious religious implications, the Reformation’s Bible must be credited as the source and origin of so many aspects of life that we too often take for granted: for a sense of individualism, for the development of language and education, for national as much as religious identity. Did the new Bible indeed, as some have claimed, grant tongues of fire to those who had been voiceless in previous societies? To borrow the famous words of author John Buchan, just what was this new thing called the Gospel, which some called “a fetter to bind the poor” and others “a club to beat the rich”? How, in short, has it created the cultures we know today, both religious and secular? Above all, we must explore the issue of memory. How has the actual experience of the original Reformation been remembered in academic and popular culture? What are its legacies in literature and cinema, academic scholarship, and fiction? Which of its great moments and characters have we ignored or underplayed? Which elements have fallen into undeserved oblivion? What remains to be rediscovered?

Join us as we explore these questions during the 2017 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, “The Bible and The Reformation,” on October 25-27, 2017.

Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. Abstracts of no more than 750 words should be submitted by April 1, 2017 online at

Possible topics include:

  • The Reformation in Music and the Visual Arts
  • The Influence of the Radical Reformation
  • Literature and the Bible
  • Politics, the State, and the Reformation
  • Global Perspectives
  • Shifting Historiographies of the Reformation
  • Vocation in Catholic and Protestant Thought
  • The Rise of Ecumenism
  • The Bible and Language
  • Sociology, Economics, and Reformation Thought
  • The Bible and Marginalized Voices

To see videos of plenary lectures and panel sessions from previous conferences, please visit THE IFL VIMEO PAGE


Institute for Faith and Learning
One Bear Place #97270
Waco, TX 76798-7270
254-710-1725 (fax)


Call For Papers: 2016 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, “Higher Learning”


Quick Facts
Dates: Thursday, October 27-Saturday, October 29
Location: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Deadline for Proposals: July 31, 2016
Web Site: 

Conference Description and Call for Proposals

Higher education in America is in the midst of profound challenge and transformation. The cost of a college education continues to rise. Disagreements persist about what constitutes the core curriculum. Technological advances confront traditional assumptions about how instruction and research are conducted. Political conflict and social unrest have been especially visible on many college campuses. And these are only some of the signs of change and stress.

Amid these challenges, it is not clear what people expect colleges and universities to do in the first place. Should they primarily be devoted to job placement for their graduates? Should they at the same time advance research across the disciplines in ways that expand the frontiers of knowledge? Should they seek to form their students intellectually, morally, and even spiritually while preparing them for responsible citizenship and civic engagement? Should they also be the places where enthusiastic sports fans gather in grand arenas and stadiums to watch athletes pursue victory? With so many competing expectations, it is no wonder that so many institutions seem to be suffering something akin to an identity crisis.

Perhaps some of these challenges and expectations might be better navigated by considering anew the goal of higher learning.

How might the ideal of higher learning be articulated to meet the challenges of the present age? How can colleges and universities cultivate a richer conception and practice of teaching and learning across the disciplines? In what ways might the goals of intellectual, moral, and spiritual formation be advanced in order to serve the needs of students and the common good? What are the possibilities for colleges and universities—especially those with a religious identity and mission—to exemplify a winsome and faithful presence to the larger culture?

Join us as we explore these questions during the 2016 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, “Higher Learning,” on October 27-29.

Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. We seek reflection from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives. Abstracts of no more than 750 words should be submitted by July 31, 2016 online at

Possible topics include:

  • The past, present, and future of Christian higher education
  • STEM, humanities, and liberal learning
  • Opportunities and challenges of online learning
  • Research, teaching, and the scholarly vocation
  • Global perspectives on higher learning
  • The future of the humanities
  • Ancient practices in modern classrooms
  • Pedagogy as formation

We have a great video archive available that includes the plenary lectures and panels from last year’s conference.

You can view these videos here: THE IFL VIMEO PAGE


Institute for Faith and Learning
One Bear Place #97270
Waco, TX 76798-7270
254-710-1725 (fax)



Call for Papers: The Spirit of Sports

Spirit of SportsBaylor University‘s Institute for Faith and Learning recently announced a Call for Papers for its upcoming conference, The Spirit of Sports.  This conference is a part of Baylor’s Symposium on Faith and Culture and will be held November 5 to 7, 2015.  This symposium “will explore, from the perspective of religious faith, the significance of sports in our lives, especially the ways that contemporary sports both support and compromise the cultivation of human excellence and our relationships with others and God.”

The deadline for proposals is July 31, 2015.  For more information, including how to submit proposals, see Baylor’s conference site.

Posted by Mary Beth Fraser Connolly

Call for Papers: Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning, 2013 Symposium on Kierkegaard

The Baylor University Institute for Faith and Learning announces a call for papers for its 2013 Symposium on Faith and Culture, October 31 – November 2, 2013.  The title of the Symposium is: “Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?”  Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. Abstracts of no more than 750 words should be submitted by July 1, 2013 using the online form at Call 254-710-4805 or e-mail for more information.

The information below is taken from the symposium website.  Read on, or click here.

Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?

2013 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture

Thursday, October 31-Saturday, November 2

Featured speakers:

  • Richard Bauckham, University of St Andrews
  • C. Stephen Evans, Baylor University
  • Eric Gregory, Princeton University
  • Paul Griffiths, Duke Divinity School
  • Jennifer Herdt, Yale Divinity School
  • Paul Martens, Baylor University
  • Kathleen Norris, essayist, poet, and author
  • Cyril O’Regan, University of Notre Dame
  • Christian Smith, University of Notre Dame
  • Sylvia Walsh, Stetson University
  • Merold Westphal, Fordham University

On May 15, 1813, Søren Kierkegaard was born to Christian parents in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the Evangelical Lutheran Church was supported by the state with the Danish monarch as its supreme authority. Forty-two years later, Kierkegaard died while in the midst of directing an extended philosophical and theological attack on the Church of Denmark and its official representatives, whom he believed were undermining, rather than fostering, the practice of authentic Christianity.

With great passion and vision Kierkegaard engaged the challenges of his age: he articulated in his work and displayed in his brief life the journey of “becoming a Christian” within the crucible of early nineteenth-century Danish Christendom. He was perhaps the most important Christian thinker of his time. But is he a Christian thinker for our time—do his ideas resonate in our 21st-century context? To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Kierkegaard’s birth, the 2013 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture will host a wide-ranging exploration of this question.

“Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker for Our Time?” invites reflection from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives about Kierkegaard’s life and thought, including his intellectual antecedents and the later influence of his work in philosophy, theology, literature, history, psychology, and other fields. Instead of a forum for only Kierkegaard specialists, the symposium seeks to gather a broad and diverse audience interested in the value (and limitations) of Kierkegaard’s thought for our contemporary age.

Presentation proposals are welcome from any discipline, as well as cross-disciplinary areas, especially literature, the arts, psychology, sociology, political science, communications, theology, philosophy, and biblical studies.

Possible topics include:

  • The contemporary relevance of Kierkegaard’s critique of “Christendom”
  • Kierkegaard and the Bible
  • The value of the “passions” and emotions for Christian theology
  • Kierkegaard and the human person
  • The role of “subjectivity” in coming to know Christian truths
  • Kierkegaardian themes in literature
  • Kierkegaard on “indirect communication” concerning ethics and religious convictions
  • Parables, metaphor, and the role of the imagination in Kierkegaard’s writings
  • Kierkegaard on time and eternity
  • Kierkegaard’s relation to other theological figures (e.g. Barth, Bultmann, Brunner, Niebuhr, Ramsey)
  • Kierkegaard and the virtues
  • Kierkegaard and political theology

Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. Abstracts of no more than 750 words should be submitted by July 1, 2013 using the online form at Call 254-710-4805 or e-mail for more information.

Posted by Joe Creech

Conference Review: Technology and Human Flourishing

The following post is from Karl Aho, a graduate student  at Baylor University studying ethics and the history of philosophy.  Karl received a B.A. in philosophy from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in philosophy from Boston College.  He is also a member of the Third Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows.  Karl reports on the 2012 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture: Technology and Human Flourishing, held Thursday, October 25-Saturday, October 27.

100 miles north of Austin—the technology center of Texas—scholars gathered at Baylor University in Waco for a conference on Technology and Human Flourishing.

During the conference I was able to speak with its organizers, Darin Davis and Jason Whitt, who emphasized the diversity of conference presentations.  Over 400 undergraduates, graduate students, professors, and professionals attended over 100 presentations, on topics ranging “from astrophysics to theology, and everything in between.  You don’t always get that kind of variety under one roof,” Davis said.  Whitt commented that the breadth of disciplines reflected the unity of truth.  Interdisciplinary work helps get us out of our academic silos and gives us new perspectives on truth.

Here are some specific insights I gleaned from the conference:

Technology discloses our values:

Many presenters argued that we should study technology because technology reflects our values.  Responding to technology requires considering our understanding of human flourishing.

For example, Patrick Deneen compared political theory to a computer’s operating system, and technology to programs that may be run by that operating system.  To change our understanding of technology, we cannot simply run different programs.  We need to change the operating system first.

Ian Hutchinson discussed scientism, the view that scientific knowledge is all the real knowledge there is.  He contended that our current uses of technology often reflect scientism, citing the ways we search for technological solutions to social problems as evidence for this claim.

We have resources for questioning technology and values:

Many presenters appealed to authors known for their views on technology, like Neil Postman and Martin Heidegger.  But one of the strengths of the conference was its focus on religious responses to technology.  Religions offer principles with which to answer questions of values, principles that are more substantial than arbitrary choices or accidents of evolution.  For example, many religions remind us that our focus must be on finding the truth, not merely pragmatic solutions.

Several presenters focused on insights from authors writing in the context of religious traditions, e.g. Wendell Berry, Jacques Ellul, and Walker Percy.  Other presenters highlighted that our responses to specific technologies need not always be negative. For example,

  • Peter Kilpatrick surveyed the positive impact of many 20th century technologies.
  • Nancy Murphy, an advocate of “non-reductive physicalism,” discussed how contemporary neuroscience confirms biblical understandings of personhood.
  • Rosalind Picard suggested ways that technology can help those who face challenges processing emotional information.

R.R. Reno closed the conference by arguing that technology cannot replace face to face education: “The main engine of the scholarly life is found in conversations with friends and co-conspirators.”  But—and this goes beyond the scope of Reno’s paper—perhaps technology can supplement such conversations.

Questions Concerning Technology and Human Flourishing:

I’ll close with questions inspired by the conference, that I hope will lead to further discussion:

  • What values inform our uses of technology?
  • How should we respond to values like scientism that can prompt bad uses of technology?
  • What resources could particular religious traditions use to reflect on technology?
  • How should technology supplement face to face education?
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