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Call for Papers 1 / 2019

Patristics and Ecumenism

While the Church Fathers enjoy a special authority in the Orthodox Church, which is also acknowledged in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Protestant tradition their authority bears a slightly different understanding. The Protestant principle sola Scriptura makes it clear that the Bible is the only source of divine revelation (or at least a privileged one), and nevertheless Calvin, Luther, or Melanchthon regarded the Fathers of the Church with great respect, considering them authoritative commentators of biblical texts. Recent research has brought to light testimonies according to which the initiators of the Reformation were well read in some of the writings of the Fathers of the Church. Moreover, one cannot overlook the fact that the Orthodox neo-patristic movement has conducted a major part of its work on Patristic editions and related research initiated by both Roman Catholics and Protestants.

The importance of patristic heritage for the ecumenical movement was brought back into discussion by the participants in the Consultative Council for the preparation of the 10th World Council of Churches Assembly. The Council stated the need for a re-reading of the patristic heritage for the revitalization of the whole ecumenical movement.

RES number invites teachers, scholars and all interested to reflect upon the actuality of the Fathers’ writings for the ecumenical dialogue and to discuss issues such as: Does patristic theology build bridges or rather draws barriers for the ecumenical dialogue? Are the Fathers of the Church used in all denomination in all types of discourses – from devotional to academic discourse? Have the writings of the Fathers fueled controversies in the history of theological debates? Are Patristic writings the norms for defining authentic faith or sources for popular devotion? To what extent did theologians in different confessions have mutually influenced the approach of patristic writings?

Deadline: September 15, 2018


Contributions will be published in English or German and are to follow RES guidelines.