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Author: Stephan van Erp

Abstract

The developments in Roman Catholicism in the past century can be characterized by a growing awareness of the unity of faith, on the one hand, and the historical and political context in which that faith is lived and testified to on the other. In this contribution, I illustrate this by presenting a portrait of David Jones, a British soldier in the First World War who painted and wrote poetry about his experiences during that war. He is virtually unknown outside of Britain where he is considered to be one of the main modernist writers, alongside T.S. Eliot and James Joyce. Shortly after the Great War, he converted to Catholicism. He did not convert because the faith would help him cope with the horrors of the war. Rather, he engaged with the Catholic tradition through his encounters with friends. Only after his conversion, the Catholic vision offered him a different perspective on the brutal reality of war. This newly obtained vision did not contradict the horror, but instead showed him the inescapable meaning of it, and challenged him to respond with a creative answer. Jones painted and put into words a changing reality and, in doing so, has imparted history to us. He understood that history had changed forever, because it had changed in and with him. He did not merely want to report or describe the war, he wanted to show the sacralised reality that paradoxically manifested itself on the battlefield, even though it took him twenty years to realize this. In doing so, he became one of the forerunners of a new Catholic culture, at the core of which is a sacramental world vision.

In: Conversion and Church
Author: Stephan van Erp

Research on the interface of religious studies and medicine mostly approaches spirituality and prayer as ways of coping with illness and disease. The possible consequences of that approach are a functional or instrumental view of religion and a neglect of the diversity of religious ideas at work in medical practice. Functional or not, confronted with ill-ness and disease, medical doctors, nurses, pastoral carers and family members all apply their life views and world views – explicitly or implicitly – to their work and care. In this paper I would like to ask what a theological approach could contribute to urgent cultural matters while dealing with medical decisions and dilemmas. I would like to argue that, in the field of religious studies and theology, medicine is not only a matter for theological ethics or practical theology, but also a source and workplace for systematic theology. To understand the task of systematic theology of articulating, comparing and contrasting life views and world views in a medical context, I shall first clarify the historical connection between religion and medicine. Next, I shall describe the modern split between religion and medicine and the current failing attempts to restore the connection. Subsequently, I shall sketch a theological agenda for future research on medicine and health, with a focus on the interdisciplinary approach of human suffering.

In: The Tapestry of Health, Illness and Disease
Author: Stephan van Erp

Research on the interface of religious studies and medicine mostly approaches spirituality and prayer as ways of coping with illness and disease. The possible consequences of that approach are a functional or instrumental view of religion and a neglect of the diversity of religious ideas at work in medical practice. Functional or not, confronted with illness and disease, medical doctors, nurses, pastoral carers and family members all apply their life views and world views - explicitly or implicitly - to their work and care. In this chapter I would like to ask what a theological approach could contribute to urgent cultural matters while dealing with medical decisions and dilemmas. I would like to argue that, in the field of religious studies and theology, medicine is not only a matter for theological ethics or practical theology, but also a source and workplace for systematic theology. To understand the task of systematic theology of articulating, comparing and contrasting life views and world views in a medical context, I shall first clarify the historical connection between religion and medicine. Next, I shall describe the modern split between religion and medicine and the current failing attempts to restore the connection. Subsequently, I shall sketch a theological agenda for future research on medicine and health, with a focus on the interdisciplinary approach of human suffering.

In: The Fallible Body: Narratives of Health, Illness & Disease
Author: Stephan van Erp

Research on the interface of religious studies and medicine mostly approaches spirituality and prayer as ways of coping with illness and disease. The possible consequences of that approach are a functional or instrumental view of religion and a neglect of the diversity of religious ideas at work in medical practice. Functional or not, confronted with ill-ness and disease, medical doctors, nurses, pastoral carers and family members all apply their life views and world views – explicitly or implicitly – to their work and care. In this paper I would like to ask what a theological approach could contribute to urgent cultural matters while dealing with medical decisions and dilemmas. I would like to argue that, in the field of religious studies and theology, medicine is not only a matter for theological ethics or practical theology, but also a source and workplace for systematic theology. To understand the task of systematic theology of articulating, comparing and contrasting life views and world views in a medical context, I shall first clarify the historical connection between religion and medicine. Next, I shall describe the modern split between religion and medicine and the current failing attempts to restore the connection. Subsequently, I shall sketch a theological agenda for future research on medicine and health, with a focus on the interdisciplinary approach of human suffering.

In: The Tapestry of Health, Illness and Disease
Editor-in-Chief: Stephan van Erp
As of 2021, Brill Research Perspectives in Theology is no longer published as a journal by Brill, but will continue as a book series. Brill Research Perspectives in Theology covers state of the art analyses and critical studies in major and emerging fields in systematic, practical, historical, and intercultural theology. It provides the most up-to-date research written by a leading theologian in the area. Each issue consists of up to 100 pages, including an extensive, annotated bibliography. Topics range from theologians and specific periods in the history of theology to recent trends and themes in contemporary theology, from confessional traditions to methodological debates, from classic doctrinal themes to current developments in theology and society. Brill Research Perspectives in Theology is an invaluable resource for scholars wishing to draw on the latest theological research, as well as a dynamic resource for teaching and for students of theology and related fields.

published issues:
Paul Hedges, Comparative Theology. A Critical and Methodological Perspective
Joshua M. Moritz, The Role of Theology in the History and Philosophy of Science
Colby Dickinson, Continental Philosophy and Theology
Andrew Prevot, Theology and Race

forthcoming a.o.:
Animal Theology
Analytic Theology
Theology and Migration
Theology of Religions
In: Conversion and Church
In: Conversion and Church
In: Conversion and Church
Volume Editors: Stephan van Erp and Karim Schelkens
Conversion is an important characteristic of religious renewal, and of the dialogue between churches and religious believers. In the Roman Catholic Church, conversion has played a significant role in ecumenical dialogue recently. It has become a challenge for the Church as a whole, instead of a call to individual believers alone. The contributors of this volume explore the different aspects of conversion in the history of theology, in the developments during and after the Second Vatican Council, in the Ignatian tradition, and in several ecclesial groups that have explored the opportunities of the ongoing renewal of the churches.

Contributors are: André Birmelé, Inigo Bocken, Erik Borgman, Catherine Clifford, Peter De Mey, Adelbert Denaux, Eugene Duffy, Stephan van Erp, Joep van Gennip, Thomas Green, Wiel Logister, Annemarie Mayer, Jos Moons, Marcel Sarot, Karim Schelkens, Nico Schreurs, Matthias Smalbrugge, and Arnold Smeets.