"The Hermeneutics of Hell: Devilish Visions and Visions of the Devil in World Literature“

November 7-8, 2014
Gordon College, Wenham, MA, USA

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight.” 
— C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

For centuries, the biblical account of Satan has inspired countless authors worldwide. Medieval texts dealing with devils often combined biblical and pagan imageries. But it wasn’t until the early Baroque era when the devil in world literature became more individualistic. Since then, authors from around the world have been drawn to the devil as a literary figure. Often times, the devils created by Milton, Goethe, Chateaubriand, Byron, Lermontov, Strindberg, C.S. Lewis, Mahfouz and many others differ significantly from biblical texts and the literal interpretation of the Satan in the Old Testament. Even though the topic of hell seems to have lost its appeal on pulpits, it is still alive and well in literature.

This conference aims to analyze devilish visions and visions of the devil and the different roles devils have assumed in world literature. What makes devils attractive literary figures? What are the functions of the devils? What are the underlying theologies? How do the literary devils differ from biblical images? Why are we as readers still fascinated by literary manifestations of the devil?

Possible topics may include:

• The devil as tempter
• The devil as accuser
• The devil as satirist
• The devil as cultural critic
• The devil as God’s counterpart
• The devil as revolutionist
• The devil as a tragic figure
• The devil and damnation
• The devil and salvation
• The devil in passion plays
• Sympathy for the devil
• The future of devils
• Hell on earth
• Visions of hell
• Eternal damnation vs. extinction

Select contributions will be considered for publication in an edited collection. Gordon College is located just 25 miles north of Boston on Boston's historic North Shore.



“The Imagination, Participation, and Co-Creation”

Patrick Henry College, Purcellville, VA
October 31–November 1, 2014

Keynote Speaker: Alison Milbank, University of Nottingham

Conference Description:
Christian thinkers and critics from Thomas Aquinas to Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Owen Barfield have written at length about how the human and divine imaginations participate in the ongoing process of creation. The imagination, for many of these thinkers, is the reflective and active imago dei in the mind of the artist.

“The Imagination,” says G.B.Tennyson, “repeats and recapitulates what the unconstrained divine mind (the infinite I AM) is eternally engaged in by creating and sustaining the universe.... Put even more simply, the Imagination is what the mind does when it functions at all, and it does so by virtue of participation in the Logos — in other words, by the grace of God.” Dorothy Sayers gives a picture of the fruits of co-creation in The Mind of the Maker, where she notes that the universe is qualitatively different after Hamlet exists than it was before.

This conference invites papers:

• that explore and analyze the processes of participatory co-creation in imaginative literature and their effects in the forging of meaning.

• that engage the theory of imaginative participation as it is articulated in literary criticism and/or other disciplines.

• that speak to the interaction between Christianity and literature with some reference to the role of the imagination and/or co-creation via literature or criticism from any era and geographical locale. It may, in fact, be illuminating to host papers that cover the work of the participatory imagination over a broad swath of time and space.



"Literature of Luther: The Individual, Freedom, and Grace"

November 8-9, 2013

St. Francis College, NYC

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. J. Patrick Hornbeck II:
"'The Most Foul Buffoon': Early English Responses to Martin Luther."

Call for Papers: It has been almost 500 years since Martin Luther penned his Ninety-Five Theses. It is in view of this upcoming anniversary, and in recognition of the extraordinary impact of Luther on the modern world, that we submit this Call for Papers on the Literature of Luther.

We seek papers on Luther's own literature and the literature that has been demonstrably impacted by Luther. We would like to hear papers that explore Luther's impact on themes such as the individual and the institution, authority and doubt, the problem of faith, the human will, print and propaganda, etc. We are also interested in papers that reflect on Luther as a modern voice.

Along with this theme we will also accept papers that address Christianity and literature in general.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Hornbeck, is Assistant Professor of Theology and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of What Is a Lollard? Dissent and Belief in Late Medieval England (Oxford University Press, 2010).