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24 February 2021

Unsettling Otherness

Theopoetics and the future of interreligious encounter

Catherine Keller, Paul Hedges, and Laura Schmidt Roberts in conversation with Marius van Hoogstraten, Jean Ehret, and Chris Doude van Troostwijk

The Chair of Inventive Theology at the Mennonite Seminary/Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Luxembourg School of Religion & Society are proud to invite you to the online mini-conference at the occasion of the book launch of Marius van Hoogstraten’s Theopoetics and Religious Difference (Mohr Siebeck, 2020) on February 26, 15:00-17:00 CET (Online). The event will take place on Zoom (max 300 participants).

Please register at seminarium to receive the login information.


A contemporary strand of theology under the name of theopoetics finds in deconstructive suspicion and critical unknowing especially life-giving resources for thinking faith in the 21st century. Might these also prove life-giving for building interreligious relations?

Theopoetics may be especially fitting for addressing interreligious encounter: it can embrace the unruly and unsettling character religious difference can have, while also affirming a hope for an unforeseen future that is still becoming. Can it thus help Christianity subvert its existing ideas about the “others,” opening the way for interreligious relations that depend neither on totalizing affirmations of sameness, nor on rigid and unbridgeable difference?

Might the traditional Mennonite emphases on community and peace have a special perspective on this? And if more is inevitably also required – a shared story, a shared sense of planetary belonging, a shared vision of togetherness – can theopoetics integrate this affirmation with an attitude that ensures such a shared vision remains open?

In his book Theopoetics and Religious Difference, Marius van Hoogstraten argues that precisely this makes theopoetics so fitting for addressing interreligious encounter: on the one hand, its capacity to embrace unruliness and critical unknowing, and on the other, an affirmation of hope for an unforeseen future that is still becoming.


For a conversation on these and other questions, we are proud to welcome in this online conference:

  • Catherine Keller (Drew University),
  • Paul Hedges (S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies), and
  • Laura Schmidt Roberts (Fresno Pacific University).

With a ‘critical’ word of welcome by

and a brief introduction by

Unsettling Otherness – Mini-Conference
LSRS – Centre Jean XXIII
52 rue Jules Wilhelm
L-2728 Luxembourg

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