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Religion, Peace and Democracy through Education and Learning

The symposium takes place at Sigtuna Foundation, December 12-15, 2019. The purpose of the event is to explore contemplative traditions especially in Patristic times. Special attention is paid to the relation between theory and practice. From the Enlightenment onwards, the importance of theory has been stressed. "Theology" was largely defined as "systematic theology," which aimed at establishing coherent doctrinal views, followed by a preference for dogmatic tracts in historical studies. This paved the way for making theory independent of practice. Yet, contemplative traditions in Patristic times kept spiritual practice and theoretical reflection together and theory was understood as a reflection on practice. This perspective not only contrasts current trends in theology which often holds that theory precedes practice (think right and you will act right) but taken in regard, it also generates a new understanding of the importance of lay participation (men and women) in early Christian thought. To a substantial extent, men and women participated in various practices, which in turn were subjugated to theoretical reflection. Thereby, the laity took part in shaping the Christian worldview. During the event hosted by Sankt Ignatios Academy/EHS, more than twenty international scholars will present papers on contemplative traditions and discuss how to bridge conceptual rifts caused by paradigmatic shifts throughout history, which may have hampered a proper evaluation of historical material.