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  • The descensus ad infernos poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Whether art is to be considered a proper locus theologicus, and if so, how is the question that guides an exploration of the interaction between art and theology on the theme of Christ’s descent into hell. For the exploration the difference in the way the descent is represented in East and West is relevant, since in the East this episode of the passion of Christ has developed into the representation of the resurrection. How is this development to be evaluated theologically? As representative of the Western theology Thomas Aquinas is used. An analysis of two texts shows that he does not only consider the descent into hell a christological, but also a soteriological event and even primarily so and that, although his views have not changed over the years, the argumentation for these views has. The interaction between theology and art reveals that the various types in the East (and the West) embody different theological insights and problems, while the interaction between art and theology reveal the importance of the nexus mysteriorum.


  • Spinoza's Politics poj©peeters-leuven.be

    This paper deals with the relation between politics and ethics in Spinoza’s philosophy. The first question that I address, is what Spinoza’s notion of political freedom entails. Is political freedom just a condition of peace and security for the collective, or does it also entail the moral freedom of the Ethics? The former interpretation seems plausible, since Spinoza’s politics is chiefly concerned with peace and security. Yet certain passages of the political works echo the moral ideal of the Ethics, namely that of a free life through an adequate understanding of Nature and our place in it. I therefore argue that Spinoza’s political notions of reason and freedom are ultimately to be identified with their moral counterparts. They cannot be wholly reduced to (the seeking of) peace. This interpretation immediately leads to a second problem - how can Spinoza combine his professed realism in politics with his moral perfectionism? It seems that collective moral freedom must be illusory to someone who claims to describe humans as they are, not as they ought to be. Through a detailed analysis of Spinoza’s view of the development of political freedom, I argue that this is in fact a coherent view. First, I show how living in a Spinozist state may stimulate a basic rational disposition in people. Then I turn to Spinoza’s view of rational development in the Ethics, and argue that he is in that work very aware of the limits that our finite existence puts on the moral ideal. This brings me to the suggestion that, if this ideal is to have any practical relevance, it must not be wholly separated from the sphere of the imagination. If we accept this, then the narratives that bring harmony to a collective - consisting of both imaginative and rational elements – may also be considered as (potential) sources of moral freedom. This prevents Spinoza’s politics from being utopian, since it roots his quest for collective freedom firmly in tradition.


  • The Vulnerability of the Body poj©peeters-leuven.be

    ‘Religion and corporeality’. At first sight, the coordinating conjunction «and» sounds rather odd here because in the vision of many people spirituality and materiality necessarily exclude each other. Still, many scholars have offered abundant evidence that Christianity is a religion of embodiment. Yet, as will become clear from the works of the theologians Erik Peterson and André Guindon, the turn toward the body within Christianity is primarily a turn toward a clothed body. This may explain why the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has argued that our culture, which is heavily influenced by Christian theology, is characterized by the impossibility of nakedness. In his view, we should try to think a possible nakedness of man by liberating it, piece by piece, from the theological fabric which is wrapped around it. The question that I want to raise here is whether such a naked nudity is really a human option. Drawing on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and introducing the notion of corporeal vulnerability, I will argue that it is not.


  • Extending the Order of Ends poj©peeters-leuven.be

    In this article I show that Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason has as its principal aim to demonstrate that the age-old interests of reason in metaphysics are satisfied not through theoretical knowledge but through a practically-oriented system of reason based on critical principles. The central idea of the system is the highest good in the world conceived as a project to be realized by the human species in the course of history. The dogmatic efforts to attain knowledge of the unconditioned in its three forms as the ideas of the soul, the world and God, are replaced by the critical efforts to realize the highest good as supported by postulates of freedom, immortality and a supreme being required by morality. The concluding chapters of the Critique, mostly ignored by commentators, elaborate on the telos of the critical project. They show that Kant regards critical philosophy as bringing to completion the era of speculative philosophy that began in Greek antiquity and beginning a new epoch of practically-oriented reason that truly satisfies the metaphysical interests of reason.


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    Summaries


  • Book Reviews poj©peeters-leuven.be

    Book reviews


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    Books reviewed


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    Books received


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