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Poetics and Religion


Poetics and Religion
International Conference
October 28-31, 2008



Paul Ricoeur’s investigations into the hermeneutics of text and human being, the poetic force of symbol, metaphor, and narrative are a continuous source of reflection. The hermeneutical paradigm of text and interpretation in From Text to Action, the ‘little ethics’ in Oneself as Another, the incomplete ontology with its vehemence to be completed, the recurring themes of liberty, hope, poetics, attestation, recognition… are challenging issues for theologians as well as philosophers, revealing numerous fruitful trajectories between philosophy, ethics and theology.

The international conference ‘Paul Ricoeur: Poetics and Religion’ wants to contribute to the course of interpretation that Ricoeur’s oeuvre has instigated. The conference will be dedicated to aspects of the intersection between motivation and argumentation, between conviction and critique. Our purpose is to provide a forum for interdisciplinary dialogue on Ricoeur’s hermeneutical philosophy and its interaction with various theological disciplines.

The conference is organised around five general themes: the fundamental relation between theology and philosophy; textual, biblical and theological hermeneutics; metaphysics; ethics and morality; and practical theology.



Tuesday, October 28

15.00 Welcome and Introduction

15.30 Lecture : J. Greisch (Paris)
« Lire, Interpréter, Comprendre: vers une herméneutique philosophique de la religion »
16.30 Coffee break

17.00 Lecture : M. Junker-Kenny (Dublin)
« Between Universality and Singularity: Recognition, Conviction, and Public Theology »

18.00 Lecture : P. Kenny (Dublin)
« Beyond the Text: Ricœur and the Struggle for a hermeneutically sensitive Theology »

19.00 Discussion and prospects

19.30 Dinner 

Wednesday, October 29

09.00 Lecture : L. Boeve (Leuven)
« Naming God in Open Narratives: Theology between Deconstruction and Hermeneutics »

10.00 Lecture : D. Stiver (Abilene)
« One Philosophy, Many Theologies: A Hermeneutical Spiral from Ricœur to Theology »

11.00 Coffee break

11.30 Short paper session

13.15 Lunch

15.00 Lecture : A. Thomasset (Paris)
« L'herméneutique biblique comme meta-éthique théologique »

16.00 Coffee break

16.30 Lecture : B. Blundell (New Orleans)
« A Good Story Well Told: Toward a Christian Narrative Identity »

17.30 Discussion

18.00 Reception with presentation of the bibliography: Paul Ricoeur. Primary and Secondary Bibliography. 1935-2008 (F.D. Vansina and P. Vandecasteele)

19.30 Dinner

Thursday, October 30

09.00 Lecture : J. Van den Hengel (Ottawa)
« Practical Theology: From Text to Action »

10.00 Lecture : F.-X. Amherdt (Fribourg)
« L'herméneutique de P. Ricœur: quel profit pour la théologie pratique ? »

11.00 Coffee break

11.30 Short paper session

13.15 Lunch

15.00 Lecture : J. Porée (Rennes)
« Finitude et transcendance: une philosophie à deux foyers »

16.00 Lecture : C. Reagan (Kansas)
« Conversations with Paul Ricœur »

17.00 Coffee break

17.30 Discussion

18.00 Short paper session

19.15 Dinner

Friday, October 31

09.00 Lecture : G. Taylor (Pittsburgh)
« Hermeneutics and the Legal Imagination »

10.00 Lecture : T. Hettema (Leiden)
« Spirituality and Biblical Hermeneutics »

11.00 Coffee break

11.30 Lecture : P. Bühler (Zürich)
« Ricoeur's concept of distanciation as a challenge for theological hermeneutics »

12.30 Discussion and conclusions

13.30 Closing dinner



The conference is organised by the Research Unit of Biblical Studies of the Faculty of Theology of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven with the support of the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO Vlaanderen).

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Faculty of Theology, Research Unit Biblical Studies
St.-Michielsstraat 6
BE-3000 Leuven

Organising Committee:

  • Prof. Dr. J. Verheyden, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
  • Dr. T. L. Hettema, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  • P. Vandecasteele (PhD candidate), K.U. Leuven, Belgium


Practical info

What Will It Cost?

Registration fee: € 50 (€ 25 for doctoral students)
Meals during the conference: € 50
Conference Banquet: € 35

For the payment, use the following bank account of the KU Leuven:
734-0066603-70 / IBAN: BE60 7340 0666 0370 / SWIFT BIC: KREDBEBB
Address: KBC, Bedrijvenkantoor Leuven, Brusselsesteenweg 100, B-3000 Leuven
Please use the following announcement: 400/0001/84137 + your name

How to Register?

Please use the online registration form.

or contact the secretary of the conference:

Paul Ricoeur: Poetics and Religion
Pieter Vandecasteele
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Faculty of Theology, Research Unit Biblical Studies
St.-Michielsstraat 6
BE-3000 Leuven

How to Get to Leuven?

The conference will take place in the Faculty of Theology, located in the centre of Leuven. Leuven is located 25 km from Brussels and easily accessible. Please note that Leuven (in French: Louvain) is NOT the same town as Louvain-la-Neuve, which is situated in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

When arriving in Belgium by plane at Brussels Airport, information about how to travel to and from the Airport can be found on the Brussels Airport Official Website. The easiest way to travel to Leuven is by train or by taxi.

The railway station at Brussels Airport is located in the basement (level -1) of the terminal building. There are direct train connections from the airport to Leuven every 30 minutes. Timetable information and ticket prices for the whole of Belgium (and international trains) are available in Dutch, English, French and German on the Belgian Railways website.

More information on how to reach the KU Leuven? See

Where to stay in Leuven?

Leuven offers a wide range of accommodation: from traditional hotels and Bed & Breakfests to youth hostels. More information can be found on the website of the city: (tourism/staying over).

The conference hotel is ‘Hotel New Damshire’ ( Other recommended hotels include: ‘Hotel Holiday Inn Garden Court’ and ‘Hotel Industrie’.