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The Primacy of God in a Secular Age

On the Theological Virtue of Faith

June 8-10, 2023 | Baltimore, MD

Featuring: Lawrence Feingold, Michael J. Gorman, and Denys Turner

Hosted by St. Mary's Seminary & University


In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." Moreover, Christ says, "Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:25-26, 40).

The age in which we live is undoubtedly secular; the existence of God and our utter contingency upon Him are largely unrecognized. God's governance of the world goes unacknowledged as if by default. How are Christians to live in such a context? We invite papers that explore faith (both fides qua and fides quae) and contemporary challenges to it in both speculative and practical dimensions. Key questions include, but are not limited to: How does the theological virtue of faith relate to the spiritual life? What does implicit faith look like in our age? What are the Biblical foundations of Christian faith? To what extent should faith influence or be influenced by politics? How is faith aided or hindered by the philosophies most influential on the modern mind? The emphasis of this conference is the speculative treatment of faith itself, but proposals related to faith's practical ramifications, expressions, and challenges are also welcome.

Scholars from various disciplines are invited to offer proposals for academic presentations. Abstracts of about 300 words can be submitted using the link below. Papers should focus on the theological virtue of faith and matters related thereto. The length of each presentation for submitted papers will be 20 minutes by default. Priority consideration will be given to abstracts submitted by December 15, 2022. Abstracts will continue to be accepted until January 1, 2023. Decisions regarding acceptance will be communicated by February 1, 2023.

Keynote Speakers

Lawrence Feingold

Professor of Philosophy and Theology

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Dr. Lawrence Feingold is Professor of Theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He converted to Catholicism in 1989 together with his wife while engaged in realist marble sculpture in Pietrasanta, Italy. He is the author of Touched by Christ: The Sacramental Economy (2021); The Eucharist: Mystery of Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion (2018); Faith Comes from What Is Heard: An Introduction to Fundamental Theology (2016); a three-volume series entitled The Mystery of Israel and the Church (2010); and The Natural Desire to See God According to St. Thomas Aquinas and His Interpreters (2010), which, in 2007, was the subject of a symposium in Nova et Vetera.


Michael J. Gorman

Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology

St. Mary's Seminary & University

Dr. Michael J. Gorman earned his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1989, having focused his dissertation on the letters of St. Paul. Dr. Gorman joined the faculty at St. Mary's Seminary & University in 1991. He served as dean of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute from 1994 to 2012, when he was named to the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology. He has published books in several areas, including Pauline studies, Johannine literature, exegesis, and ethics. His essays have appeared in The Journal of Theological Interpretation, The New Cambridge Companion to Paul, The Paulist Biblical Commentary, and The Oxford Handbook of Christology. A festschrift was published in his honor in 2021 by Eerdmans Press, entitled Cruciform Scripture: Cross, Participation, and Mission.

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Denys Turner

Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology

Yale University

Dr. Denys Turner is Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology at Yale Divinity School. His previous appointments include professorships at the University of Cambridge and the University of Bristol. The research that he conducted in the beginning of his career focused on the relations between Christianity and political theory. His later research focuses on Western mysticism, some of which is dedicated to showing that there is no contradiction between approaching theology mystically and approaching it rationally. His books include Faith, Reason, and the Existence of GodJulian of Norwich, TheologianThomas Aquinas: A Portrait, and God, Mystery, and Mystification. His many articles have appeared in such journals as New BlackfriarsModern Theology, and the International Journal of Systematic Theology. His latest book is on the theology of Dante's Commedia, to be published by Cambridge University Press this year.

Book Giveaways

Emmaus Academic has agreed to give away free copies of R. Jared Staudt's The Primacy of God: The Virtue of Religion in Catholic Theology to the first 25 registrants for our 2023 Conference. Registration opens in February 2023. More information forthcoming.


University of Notre Dame Press has agreed to give away free copies of Denys Turner's God, Mystery, and Mystification to ten contest winners randomly selected from among the 2023 conference attendees. Information on entering the conference will be given at the conference.

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