The Libyan Sibyl in the Sistine Chapel (1511) Michaelangelo

V ‘The Prophetic Word’

Power of the Word International Conference 5
13 -16 September 2017
Regent’s Park College, Oxford.

Potw Logo Blue 100The fifth Power of the Word conference, was held in Oxford, at Regent’s Park College, in September 2017 and focused on “The Prophetic Word.”  The exact title was “The Power of the Word: The Prophetic Word (Poetry, Theology and Philosophy in conversation)”.

 Once again, the core of the participants, returners and newcomers, came from the UK, the USA, and continental Europe, with significant numbers from Poland and Italy and more from Latin America attending for the first time. It was encouraging to see that the topic of the conference also attracted several classicists a well as a larger group of biblical scholars and students.

Participants were also invited to a poetry evening with poets Hilary Davies and Edward Clarke.

 The keynote speakers were scholars with different faith, cultural and academic backgrounds and their chosen topics equally varied:

  • The Hebrew prophets, seers or poets?
  • The poetry of piety: between divine word and poetic word
  • The New Testament and the texts and images of William Blake
  • Empedocles and the prophetic word
  • Equality and prophecy
  • Hope as prophecy: interpreting the silence of Holy Saturday
  • Poetry as prophecy: from anthropological origins to postmodern apocalypse

The conference managed to accommodate almost seventy short paper contributions covering a wonderfully varied range of issues, thinkers, authors and texts. Some examples:

  • Prophecy, poetry and the bible (Ezekiel, Tobit, Isaiah, Psalm 45)
  • Prophecy in the Abrahamic religions (Palestinian and Israeli prophetic voices
  • Art, poetry and the prophetic (Christopher Smart, Rilke, Mallarmé)
  • Prophetic voices in Classical Antiquity and early Modernity (Euripides, the Pythia, Sanctuary of Zeus in Dordona, Pindar, Lucretius, Virgil; Angelus Silesius)
  • Prophecy, poetry and the Romantic vision (Blake, the Leningrad cultural underground)
  • Modern prophetic and poetic voices (Czesław Miłosz, Yeats, Bonnefoy, Celan, Thomas Merton, Olga Sedakova, Francis Thompson and George Mackay Brown, G. K Chesterton, John Henry Newman, T. S Eliot, Tadeusz Rózewicz)
  • Philosophy, poetry and prophecy (Pascal and Augusto del Noce, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche)
  • Faith, theology, poetry and the prophetic word (Jeremiah, Jacques Ellul, Hopkins, David Jones)
  • Prophecy, poetry and eschatology (John Donne and Romanos the Melodist, Robert Pollock)
  • Poetry, prophecy and spirituality (Czesław Miłosz, R. S. Thomas, Silja Walter)

The keynote addresses and a selection of papers presentations from this conference have been published as chapters in Prophetic Witness and the Reimagining of the World Poetry, Theology and Philosophy in Dialogue. Power of the Word V, edited by Mark Burrows, Hilary Davies and Josephine von Zitzewitz (London, Routledge, 2021).

Publication: Prophetic Witness and the Reimagining of the World:
Poetry, Theology and Philosophy in Dialogue

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