Bye-Bye Apocalypse: political theology for after the ends of worlds
Seminar series - Theologising in the Shadow of a Pandemic

Keynote Speaker/s

Dr Janice McRandal
Director
The Cooperative, Brisbane

Dr McRandal is a research fellow of the University of Divinity. She is a feminist theologian who works with critical theory to explore themes of systematic theology alongside politics and popular culture. Her publications include Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Difference: a contribution to feminist systematic theology, and Sarah Coakley and the Future of Systematic Theology. Her forthcoming book is a theological and political reading of sport.

The Theologising in the Shadow of a Pandemic seminar series is an initiative of the Sydney College of Divinity Theology Research Network. This is the third presentation in the series to be conducted in 2020-21 culminating in a conference to be held early in 2022.

The seminars offers an opportunity to reflect theologically on our global situation. As theologians we have a responsibility to our churches and to the broader community to reflect theologically on our current plight. The present Covid-19 pandemic has been the cause of massive social, economic and religious dislocation. It will impact on personal relations, long term financial and employment issues, how we view our international connections and of course our relationship with God and our church communities. We have an opportunity to bring the resources of our faith traditions to bear, not to provide definitive answers but to explore these resources and share them both within our churches and with the larger society.

Program

Bye-Bye Apocalypse: political theology for after the ends of worlds

Abstract

In 1960, Ernst Käsemann boldly described apocalyptic as the ‘mother of all Christian theology’. It is a delineation that reflected both a significant shift in biblical hermeneutics, and a growing confidence that Christian theology had and would offer a distinctive interjection into the dominant discourse of modernity. To speak apocalyptic, to evoke an eschatological lens over and against the cosmic disturbances of our age, has most certainly mirrored a cultural anxiety that has become prevalent in the west.

Thus, our current pandemic has not ushered in an unprecedented wave of apocalyptic discourse but reframed the material conditions under view. And yet the trajectory set by such scholars as Barth, Kassemann, Metz, Moltmann, Altizer – to name a few – has deployed the apocalyptic motif as a concept of immanent hope. In this paper, Dr Janice McRandal will suggest that such readings not only fail under their own interrogation of cosmic disorder, but also that these readings re-present the kingdom of God in terms of violent mimicry. By moving toward an account of apocalyptic as the end of history indeed, she will posit a political theology beyond the apocalypse, a theology for after the ends of such worlds.

Respondent

Dr Lydia Gore-Jones
Lecturer in Biblical Studies
St Andrew’s Greek Theological College, Sydney

Dr Gore-Jones has a special interest in Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha and apocalyptic literature, and Early Christian thoughts in Jewish and Greco-Roman Context. Her book, When Judaism Lost the Temple: Crisis and Response in 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, was published this year.

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