Recollection Lectures

Recollection Lectures held at 4pm, preceded by tea and coffee in Hood Room from 3:15pm.

Week 0 (14-20 April)

Wednesday 17th April Recollection Lecture: The Gospels Against Slavery: The Jesus tradition in the 19th Century Abolition Debates. Esau McCaulley (Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College).

Everyone knows about the role Paul’s Epistles played in the abolitionist/slavery debates of the 19th century. Less attention has been paid to the function of the Jesus tradition in the slavery debates. What might the use of the teachings and life of Jesus by abolitionists reveal about the role of empathy, imagination, and canonical interpretation in theological debate? This lecture explores how retrieving abolitionist exegetical methodology paves the way for a revival of pastoral care and theology in biblical studies.

Week 1 (21- 27 April)
Wednesday 24th April
Recollection Lecture: The Meaning of Mourning.
Mikołaj Sławkowski-Rode (Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall).
Organised with the Humane Philosophy Society.
Over the past one-hundred years or so, traditional mourning practices have slowly fallen out of favour in the West. Wearing black for extended periods, keeping the anniversary, or remembering the dead at family celebrations were all intended to help mourners “carry the weight” of their grief by making a place for the dead in individual and community life. This is now being displaced by one that focuses and more on liberating the bereaved from the burden of continued bonds to the deceased. This lecture argues that there is a rarely acknowledged problem with this development, which can have severely detrimental effects on both communities and individual lives.

Week 2 (28 April – 4 May)

Tuesday 30th April Recollection Lecture: Christening Donne. Peter McCullough (Fellow in Renaissance English Literature, Lincoln College).

Professor McCullough is the General Editor of the new Oxford Edition of the Sermons of John Donne. His lecture will offer some introductory reflections on this new presentation of Donne’s greatest prose works, and on the sermons’ claims to the attention of both literary scholars and ecclesiastical historians. It will then turn in more detail to Donne’s sermons preached at christenings – a body of work long neglected but containing vital evidence of his sacramental theology, and of his responses to Calvinist and Roman Catholic thought.

Week 3 (5 – 11 May)

Wednesday 8th May
Recollection Lecture: Modernity, Disenchantment, and the Mediaeval Discovery of Nature.
Hans Boersma (Professor in Ascetical Theology, Nashotah House).

Jean-Marie Dominique Chenu famously located the “discovery of nature”—and the source of modern disenchantment—in the twelfth century. This lecture picks up on Chenu’s argument by tracing the separation of nature and the supernatural beyond the late Middle Ages to the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. In light of the theological changes introduced by Aquinas, we should sympathetically reappraise the traditionalist Bishop Stephen’s condemnations issued in 1277. In short, the secularism of modernity requires that we read creation not primarily as substance but as relationship: the harmonious chant of the love that is God.

Week 5 (Sun 19th – Sat 25th)

Wednesday 22nd May Recollection Lecture: Is a Universal History Possible? Prof David Engels (Brussels & Poznań).

Must a systematic comparison of civilisations automatically lead to a historical relativism where truth becomes a mere matter of style? Or is it possible to identify, behind the uncompromising workings of history, a subliminal metaphysical sense that is neither a Eurocentric variation of the history of salvation, nor a vulgar theory of accumulation and process?

Week 6 (Sun 26th – Sat June 1st)

Wednesday 29th May Recollection Lecture: Piety vs. Polemic: The Paradox of Elizabethan Satire. Jane Cooper (All Souls).

In 1597 Joseph Hall – later a Bishop – declared himself England’s first satirist, writing in the manner of Juvenal and Horace in his satire Virgidemiarum. His declared purpose was to attack impiety in contemporary English society out of a sense of unavoidable moral duty (in Juvenal’s words, difficile est saturam nōn scrībere). The Bishops’ Ban of popular satire (1599) shows satire’s vituperative style and personal attacks were considered too rancorous, licentious, and even seditious for the Christian public. How did satirists respond to this tension between Christian piety and Roman-style rancour? With pseudonymous personae, whose opinions matched the satirist’s, but whose heightened style the satirist could disown.

Week 8 (Sun 9th – Sat 15th June)

Weds 12th June 2024
Recollection Lecture: The Public Authority of the Church of England: Its Theological Foundations.
Joan Lockwood O’Donovan (Hon. Reader at the School of Divinity, St Andrews).

The talk examines the exception presented by the legally established Church of England to the restraints placed by secular liberal pluralism on the church’s ‘public authority,’ understanding ‘public authority’ as both ‘the power to influence’ and ‘the moral power to rule.’ It considers the theological understanding of the Church’s dual authority of proclamation and jurisdiction contained in the foundational Reformation formularies of the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal, and the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Wednesday 12 June 2024 (8th Week, Trinity Term)

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