Lady with Her Maidservant Holding a Letter, (1667) Vermeer

IV ‘Thresholds of Wonder'

Power of the Word International Conference 4
17–20 June 2015
Pontifical University of St Anselm, Rome, Italy.

Potw Logo Blue 100The fourth Power of the Word conference, held at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselm, Rome, was devoted to the theme of ‘wonder’, paying particular attention to the place, the nature, the functions of wonder in poetry, philosophy and theology. We were pleased to welcome an ever-widening circle of participants, many of them young scholars, with new contributors from India, Israel and Argentina.

At this conference the theme of ‘Wonder’ was explored from a variety of perspectives which included:

  • Thresholds of wonder: theology and poetry: friends or foes?
  • Poetry and wonder
  • Poetry, wonder and philosophy
  • Theology wonder and poetry
  • Wonder and holiness
  • Poetry, liturgy and the lands between
  • Wonder, spirituality and the poetic word

As usual, these themes were explored both as theoretical issues and through the lenses of a rich and varied range of particular authors and texts, which included, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Yves Bonnefoy, Michel de Certeau, G. K. Chesterton, David Constantine, T. S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Francis of Assisi, Martin Heidegger, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Jennings, David Jones, Anthony Kenny, Denise Levertov, Thomas Mann, Eugenio Montale, Charles Sanders Peirce, Rainer Maria Rilke, R. S. Thomas, Theresa of Avila and William Wordsworth and Hebrew liturgical poetry.

Participants were also able to enjoy a poetry evening in the company of poets Hilary Davies, Dana Gioia and Elena Buia Rutt and a musical meditation on the power of Gregorian chant with the music of the Schola Cantorum of the Collegio Sant’ Anselmo.

As with previous conferences, the keynote addresses and selected short papers, revised for publication, appeared in a fourth Power of the Word collection Poetry, Philosophy and Theology in Conversation. Thresholds of Wonder. The Power of the Word IV. edited by Francesca Bugliani Knox and Jennifer Reek.

A further collection of reworked presentations from this conference was published as In Wonder, Love and Praise: Approaches to Poetry, Theology and Philosophy, edited by Martin Potter, Malgorzata Grzegorzewska and Jean Ward (Peter Lang, 2016).

See other volumes in the series here.

Publication: Poetry, Philosophy and Theology in Conversation:
Thresholds of Wonder

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