Conference 2018

“Integrating Insights from Science and Philosophy into Theology”

End of the project:
August 31, 2018

Contact us:

Georg Gasser
Program Administrator

+43 (0)512 507 8644

+43 (0)512 507 2736

Institut für Christliche Philosophie
Universität Innsbruck
Karl-Rahner-Platz 1
A-6020 Innsbruck

Logo of the University Innsbruck
Supported by a grant from the
Logo of the Templeton Foundation


The Nature of God: Personal and a-personal concepts of the divine 

August 6 - 8, 2018
Haus der Begegnung, Innsbruck, Austria

In recent decades, an increasing number of philosophers in the analytic tradition have begun to produce exciting philosophical work on topics relating directly to systematic theology.

The Analytic Theology Project is a multinational three-year endeavour that contributes to this development in a creative way.  The project funds systematic research promoting interdisciplinary cooperation between analytic philosophers and theologians.  It thus explores the intersection of both fields and seeks to establish links between the traditions of classical European theology and analytic thinking.  Against this background the project is organizing an international conference on “The Nature of God”, and will be considering questions such as:

  • What reasons are there for preferring a non-/a-personal conception of God?
  • How much conceptual room is there for seeing God as personal, without yet being a person?
  • Which of the attributes traditionally predicated of God can be affirmed if God is understood as non-/a-personal?  (e.g. Can a non-personal God create?, Can a non-personal God be free?, Can a non-personal God save?)
  • What implications are there (metaphysical, epistemic, moral, theological) for conceiving God as a person?
  • What affect does viewing God as a-personal have on religious practices?

Coming to grips with these and similar questions is crucial for properly engaging with any theistic belief system and alternative, more naturalistic oriented interpretations of reality. At the conference, internationally renowned philosophers and theologians will discuss these questions and give new and innovative answers.

The language of the conference is English.

Organized by: Simon Kittle and Georg Gasser



Monday, August 6
8:45-9:00 Welcome Address

9:00-10:00 Yujin Nagasawa: Personal Theism vs. Impersonal Axiarchism
10:00-11:00 Agustín Echavarría: Can a Metaphysically Perfect God Have Moral Virtues and Duties? A Thomistic Perspective

11:30-12:30 Anastasia Scrutton: Can only a suffering God help? Towards a contextual and pragmatic approach to philosophy of religion

14:30-15:30 Matthias Remenyi: More than a Person. Reflecting God’s Relationship to Creation
15:30-16:30 David Efird: Repelling the Law of Attraction: Divine Personhood and the Epistemology of Petitionary Prayer

17:00-18:00 Simon Kittle: Divine freedom, personhood, and time
18:00-19:00 Ryan Mullins: Impassibility, Omnisubjectivity and Divine Eternality

Tuesday, August 7
9:00-10:00 Mark Wynn: Spiritual practice and divine personhood
10:00-11:00 Thomas Jay Oord: How a Personal, Divine Spirit Causally Interacts with Nondivine Animate and Inanimate Creatures

11:30-12:30 Adam Świeżyński: Personal versus a-personal concept of God’s action in the miraculous event

14:30-15:30 Natalja Deng: On mystery, timelessness, and being apersonal
15:30-16:30 Robin Le Poidevin: Persons, Presence and Perspective

17:00-18:00 Samuel Lebens: From Maimonides to the Ba’al Shem Tov: Via Copenhagen, Consciousness, Kurt Vonnegut, and Berkeley

Wednesday, August 8
9:00-10:00 Jon Kvanvig: Metatheology and the Ontology of Divinity
10:00-11:00 Joshua Cockayne: Pantheistic worship: Knowing an a-personal God liturgically

11:30-12:30 Roman Siebenrock & Michaela Neulinger: Human vulnerability and the vulnerable God? Reflections on divine attributes and the heart of Christ

 [as PDF]



We have two open slots for professional talks at our conference. If you are a senior PostDoc or a (assistant/associate/full) professor and are interested in contributing to our conference, please send us an extended abstract of your paper (1.200 – 1.800 words) and a CV by February 1, 2018. We will let you know of our decision by March 30, 2018.

Your contributions will also be considered for publication in a special issue of the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion on the conference.

We will cover board & lodging in Innsbruck but unfortunately we are not able to cover traveling expenses too.



To apply for the conference as participant, please send an e-mail with your contact data and affiliation to 
The contact data should ideally contain a reference to your academic homepage, or, if not available, we kindly ask for the name of one of your professors who can act as a reference.

The conference fee will be EUR 60,- (EUR 25,- for students) and will cover beverages and snacks at the coffee breaks. The fee ought to be paid in advance in order to make organizing easier. The application deadline for participating in the conference is June 30, 2018.  

Questions? Email us!