Call for Papers, ‘Making all things new?’ Evangelii Gaudium and Ecumenical Mission

St John’s College, Cambridge, 29 June – 1 July 2015

Organised by Duncan Dormor (St John’s, Cambridge) and Alana Harris (Lincoln, Oxford)

Pope Francis’ first Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, (The Joy of the Gospel) was released in December 2013. Striking in both tone and content it is a watershed document that heralds a new style of engagement on the part of the Papacy. Written in clear and often robust language, the text exhorts every Christian to a rediscovery of the joy of the Gospel. It challenges Christians to focus on their relationship  with Christ, and to take the ‘economics of exclusion and inequality’ seriously as well as criticising the excessive centralization of the Roman Catholic Church, and its sense of priorities. Unsurprisingly it has been reprinted five times and has sold more than twice the number of any previous papal document.

This conference seeks to evaluate the significance of Evangelii Gaudium in the life of the Roman Catholic Church today, but also ecumenically; to interrogate the enthusiastic popular reception given to this lengthy, complex text; and, to explore its implications for the evangelization and missionary strategies of those within the Roman Catholic Church and beyond. Heralded as inaugurating a ‘new chapter’ of joyful evangelization, this conference asks what Christians from diverse theological and church traditions might find within Evangelii Gaudium to aid and inspire their renewed efforts to become ‘missionary disciples’ in our rapidly evolving and uncertain world.

Examining Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation from an open and explicitly ecumenical perspective, the conference will use multidisciplinary methodologies derived from receptive ecumenism and ecclesiology, biblical studies, anthropology, the sociology of religion, and religious history. Confirmed speakers for the conference include:

  • Professor Tina Beattie (Roehampton);
  • Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta (Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and St John’s College, Cambridge);
  • Professor Massimo Fagglioli (St Thomas, Minnesota);
  • Professor Paul Murray (Director, Centre for Catholic Studies Durham)
  • the Right Revd Rowan Williams (Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge)

Alongside these plenary papers, we plan to run a number of parallel sessions on a variety of themes. The organizers therefore welcome innovative and interdisciplinary papers on theoretical and practical issues arising from the document, including:

  • The central role given to scripture and biblical exegesis;
  • Theological framings, including Trinitarian emphases and the language of mercy;
  • Pope Francis’ theological anthropology in historical context;
  • Socio-economic and political interpretations, referenced against church traditions of social justice (e.g. Catholic Social Teaching etc.);
  • Missionary praxis – the parish, preaching and practical ecumenical initiatives;

Abstracts of 250 words, accompanied by a one-page CV, should be sent to d.dormor@joh.cam.ac.uk and alana.harris@lincoln.ox.ac.uk by 18 February 2015. Decisions about selected abstracted will be communicated by 16 March 2015. All participants will be expected to submit full papers of no more than 8,000 words (including references) by 29 May 2015. A collective volume, issuing from the conference proceedings, is planned.

Dr Alana Harris
Darby Fellow in History
Lincoln College, Oxford
(01865) (2)79790
alana.harris@lincoln.ox.ac.uk