Each January, after putting the Christmas decorations away and before putting final touches on the spring term syllabi, Christian ethicists across the country gather at the annual meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics. It is a major professional meeting for people interested in the study of morality within the context of a Christian framework. I went to my first SCE as an undergaduate at Princeton; I am honored to serve now as its vice-president.
This year, the meeting is in Seattle; the SCE meets in conjunction with the Society of Jewish Ethics and the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics. The program includes a number of talks which might be of interest to dotCommonweal readers.
Lisa Cahill, for example, is giving a plenary address :
Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College
"Catholic Feminists and Traditions: Renewal, Reinvention, and Replacement"
Respondent: Stacey Floyd-Thomas, Vanderbilt University
The dominant figure in Western Roman Catholic ethics is Thomas Aquinas; and Catholic tradition references a centralized magisterium. Nevertheless, Catholicism is internally pluralistic. After Vatican II, three models of theology and tradition emerged, all addressing gender equality: the "Augustinian," "neo-Thomistic" and "neo-Franciscan." Latina, womanist, African and Asian ethics of gender present more radical approaches to tradition—suggesting a "Junian" stream (Roms 16:7). Catholic ethical-political tradition is not defined by a specific cultural mediation, figure, or model, but by a constellation of commitments, shared by Catholic feminists: difference-in-unity, moral realism, social meliorism, human equality, preferential option for the poor, and interreligious dialogue.
Convener: William Mattison III, The Catholic University of America
Gilbert Meilaender is giving another plenary address:
2:00-3:30pm Plenary: "An Ecumenism of Time" Grand Ballroom III
Gilbert Meilaender, Valparaiso University
Respondent: Michael Cartwright, University of Indianapolis
To think through what an ecumenism of time might involve I will, first, reflect on what it means to work within our tradition and then, second, attempt to retrieve one specific aspect of Christian tradition. In general, we may say that working within the tradition of Christian moral thought requires that we learn from our predecessors in the faith, that we are free to seek common ground with those who do not share that faith, and that we respect the freedom of God to correct our wrong turnings. More particularly, we can consider what it might mean to attempt to retrieve for moral reflection the Christian understanding of what it means to be a person.
Convener: Patricia Beattie Jung, Saint Paul School of Theology
And the presidential address, to be delivered by the distinguished scholar Allen Verhey, raises the provocative question, "Could Jesus Get Tenure?"
I guess the answer to that question depends upon whether the parables count as original, refereed work!