Providence

The Career and Prospects of Providence in Modern Theology

An international conference 7-9 January 2008 King’s College, University of Aberdeen

Sarah Coakley
David Bentley Hart
Nicholas J. Healey
Alister E. McGrath
Charles Mathewes
Francesca Murphy
Cyril O’Regan
Katherine Sonderegger
John Webster
Philip G. Ziegler
and others

This conference aims to break fresh ground in the analysis of divine providence by exploring a range of current proposals concerning its form, significance and viability within contemporary thought.

The character and interrelation of divine and human agency lies at the contested heart of modern theology. Since the Enlightenment, the classical doctrine of providence has been aggressively criticised within both theology and philosophy. Following on the cross-fertilization of early-modern eschatologies and the doctrine of providence, the idea of providence did not so much go into decline as migrate into secularized forms. In light of the divergence of such humanistic approaches from classical theological conceptions of providence, contemporary restatements of the idea require careful consideration: what exactly is to be recovered? A metaphysical account of the doctrine grounded in divine omnipotence? A thoroughly historicized notion of providence? Or, perhaps something altogether different?

By inviting scholars to examine the development of the idea of providence within intellectual history, the axial role of providence in modern systematic theologies, and the reformulation of the classical idea of providence after Hegel, we hope to advance the frontiers of investigation of the doctrine of providence at the present juncture.

‘Following on the cross-fertilization of early-modern eschatologies and the doctrine of providence, the idea of providence did not so much go into decline as migrate into secularized forms’

‘Eschatologies migrate into secularized forms’? Now that is an interesting remark. I wonder who could say more on this subject?

– and thanks to Andy Goodliff, always first with the news