Comenius University in Bratislava
Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty
Department of New Testament
the International Interdisciplinary Academic Research Conference
Dates: May 5-6, 2011
Place: Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava, Bartókova 8, 811 02 Bratislava, Slovakia
Summary of Research Project
The core objective of the project consists of verification of scientific hypothesis that the message of the Apostle Paul can serve as a basic conceptual starting point for creating a functioning interreligious dialogue in the context of the modern society which is, with regard to its structures, very similar to the society which the apostle Paul lived and worked in. One of the key goals of the project is to identify the criterions of judging Paul’s apostolic message and mission as a whole according to the three standard models of interreligious dialogue – exclusive, pluralistic and inclusive. Close analysis and interpretation of Paul’s letters in the context of the clash of Jewish and Hellenistic cultures of the 1st century AD indicate that Paul was primarily inclusivistic in the questions of interreligious dialogue. It is the fact that the time of Paul’s mission was equally marked by the necessity of solving problems of coexistence between different religious and ethnic groups as in modern multicultural society. This finding makes the assumption that Paul might become an interreligious paradigm in the multicultural society as well. The analysis of Paul’s apostolic message might become a powerful tool in the process of intensifying and deepening the interreligious dialogue in Slovakia more specifically, and the Jewish-Christian dialogue at large.
The research conference “Paul’s Doctrine of Justification by Faith in the Context of a Jewish-Christian Dialogue” is the second research conference of this project. The first one, which was titled “The Mission of Paul in Multicultural Society,” took place in Bratislava in October 2010. It focused on a more thorough recognition and understanding of Paul’s mission in multicultural society of the Greco-Roman world of the 1st century AD. The participants (John Pawlikowski and Hans Schwarz, among others) have pursued questions such as: setting the criteria for the categorization of particular sections within Paul’s letters according to three standard models of an interreligious dialogue – exclusive, pluralistic, and inclusive; finding new approaches and solutions by interpreting Paul’s key theological concepts, such as the universality of salvation or the unity of Jews and the Gentiles, with a possibility of employing them in an interreligious dialogue; or analyzing the presuppositions for an interreligious dialogue in Slovakia from the philosophical, religious, sociological, and ethnological point of view.
In this regard, the results of the research conference confirmed that in spite of complexity of the categorization of Paul’s message and in spite of extensiveness of the interreligious issues, it is the universality of salvation – Paul’s main theological concept – which forms the very foundation of a process in which all religious, national, and ethnic particularities are overcome.
Research Goals of the Conference
- To pursue research in the field of interpretation of Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith in the context of Christian and Jewish theology (especially with regards to a recent stage of the research in the field of the New and Old Perspective on Paul).
- To find new approaches and solutions by interpreting the main parts of Paul’s letters in an effort to answer questions such as: 1. Is Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith his main theological concept or only a secondary product of his mission which focuses on the Jewish-Gentile issues (the unity of Jews and the Gentiles); 2. Is Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith more focused on an individual’s status before God, or a status of the Gentiles in the Church, or is it only an expression of the apocalyptic hope of Hellenistic Jewishness?
- In the context of the above stated goals to draw and explore mechanisms of overcoming the existing obstacles for the development of a functional Jewish-Christian interreligious dialogue.
The conference is organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava with the support of the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic and the Academy of Sciences.
- Prof. ThDr. Igor Kišš
- Mgr. František Ábel, PhD.
- Mgr. Ondrej Prostredník, PhD.
- Mgr. Ľubomír Batka, PhD.
- Mgr. Marek Neština, PhD.
- Mgr. Miroslava Franková, PhD.
- The deadline for submissions of the abstracts with the full title of contributions is February 28, 2011
- The conference program will be approved and emailed to each participant after this date
- Completed research papers are to be submitted by April 30, 2011. Please send the papers to the following e-mail address: abel(at)fevth.uniba.sk.