Valpo will host a conference on Friday, April 20, to mark the 50th anniversary of Christ College, the humanities-based honors college of Valparaiso University.

Organized by Tal Howard, the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics, this event brings together leading scholars — Christian, Jewish, and Muslim — to engage in meaningful dialogue.

“It is a tremendous honor to host these distinguished speakers,” Howard said. “In an age of ethnic and religious violence worldwide, we are glad to host a conference bringing Jews, Muslims, and Christians together in peaceful dialogue on a topic of common interest.”

Titled “The Idea of Tradition in the Late Modern World: An Ecumenical and Interreligious Conversation,” the conference will seek to answer three questions: What exactly is tradition? How can one transmit a tradition, specifically a religious tradition, in the cultural context of late modernity? What role do/should educational institutions play in this process.

Speakers include:

  • David Bentley Hart, fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is an American Orthodox Christian philosophical theologian, cultural commentator, and polemicist. Hart is author or editor of 11 books, and in 2011 his book “Atheist Delusions” was awarded the Michael Ramsay Prize in Theology.
  • Father James L. Heft, director of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies and Alton M. Brooks Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He has written and edited 13 books, published more than 175 articles and book chapters, and received the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for distinguished service to Catholic higher education.
  • Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Moosa held previous appointments at Duke University, Stanford University, and the University of Cape Town. He is an expert in Islamic thought, covering modern and premodern Islamic law, theology, contemporary Muslim ethics, and political thought.
  • Rabbi David Novak, Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of 16 books, and in 2000 his book “Conventional Rights” won the American Academy of Religion Award for “best book in constructive religious thought.”
  • Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, editor of the theological quarterly Lutheran Forum for more than a decade. Since 2008, she has worked with the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France. She has published more than a hundred articles in venues both scholarly and popular on theological topics.

Howard will serve as moderator for the conference. In addition to his role as the Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics, Howard is a professor of humanities and history and affiliated with Christ College — The Honors College. He is the author or editor of eight books, and his scholarly articles have appeared in both peer-reviewed journals and popular venues. Currently, he is working on a history of interreligious dialogue and a general history of modern Christian theology.

Conference registration is available online.

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