Boston College Conference: Merciful God, Punitive God

Next Event: April 7, 2019 Boston Free 0
The Eternal in Glory by Luigi Garzi (Photo: sedmak/iStock)
The Eternal in Glory by Luigi Garzi (Photo: sedmak/iStock)

An interdisciplinary reflection on scriptural warrants in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Pamela Berger, Boston College
Omri Boehm, The New School
Natana J. DeLong-Bas, Boston College
Reuven Firestone, Hebrew Union College
M. Cathleen Kaveny, Boston College
Bruce B. Lawrence, Duke University
Katherine McAuliffe, Boston College
Jack Miles, Boston College
Patrick J. Ryan, S.J., Fordham University
Eve Spangler, Boston College

Black is an essential color in any painter’s palette, but in contemporary religious thought, it sometimes seems that black has become a banished color. God’s love is cherished, but God’s anger is elided in tacit embarrassment. The antinomy mercy/justice is readily acknowledged, but the latter half of the parallel pair pardon/punishment is avoided. Is the moment at hand for a reconsideration of the place of anger and punishment in past or present language and thought about God?

Classic and current moral theories of war and peace in all three of the great monotheisms—bellum justum, milkhemet mitzvah, jihad—are all rooted in core apprehensions of the identity of God as merciful or just, pardoning or punishing, indulgent or vindictive, warlike or peacemaking. Clearly, there are timeless scriptural warrants on either side of these antinomies, but there have also been, over the centuries, recurrent and timely elaborations of those warrants. In this conference, speakers from several disciplines will reflect on those elaborations, addressing a question rewarding even when it is disturbing.

Location: Murray Room, Yawkey Center, Chestnut Hill Campus.

Please visit for conference details.

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Fact Sheet
Sunday, April 7, 2019, 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Monday, April 8, 2019, 9:00 am - 4:15 pm

Boston College- Yawkey Centre
Boston, MA 02467

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