This Friday October 12 is the deadline for submitting a paper proposal for the inaugural year of the Los Angeles Theology Conference. Since we announced this new annual event one month ago, there’s been quite a bit of excitement about it, mainly because of the great group of theologians who will be doing the plenary sessions:
There’s still plenty of time to ponder your travel plans and decide about attending. As soon as you’ve counted the cost and decided (“Great theology with an all-star cast in southern California in January? A book room full of exhibitors, publishers, and discounted theology books? And snacks? I’m there!”), go ahead and register.
But if you’ve been considering submitting a paper proposal for the parallel sessions, the time to act is now. Our call for papers is set to expire this Friday Oct. 12. Please help us spread the word to any theologians who might not have seen the news yet. This is the place to do some serious public reflection on christology, in dialogue with the plenary speakers listed above and the other presenters who are already turning in proposals. We’ve already got some very interesting proposals, and we can’t wait to announce the slate of parallel sessions once we’ve received all submissions. As at many conferences, it’s possible that “the B-list” of speakers can deliver the goods just as well as the prime-time list of plenaries. I hate to think of somebody with a good christology project suddenly waking up in late November after ETS and AAR and realizing they missed the chance to propose at this historic first annual conference. Don’t let this happen to a theologian you love: help us spread the word.
A couple of questions co-organizer Oliver Crisp and I have received about the call for papers:
1. Is the call for papers really restricted to people already holding a doctorate? Yes. We’re well aware that having a doctorate doesn’t make you a good theologian (that would sound better in Latin, wouldn’t it?), and that many a paper by an ABD bright young thing is sharper and more helpful than many a paper by the credentialed, tenured, and well-published Lions of the Lectern. But for this inaugural year, we are holding the line, symbolic though it may be.
2. Is the call for papers really restricted to systematic theologians? Yes and no. If your training is in a related field (especially philosophy, history, or biblical studies), you may submit a proposal as long as the proposal itself is an undertaking in the field of systematic theology. We want every paper at LATC to be a constructive or descriptive essay in dogmatics. We are not interested in other disciplines bringing a bunch of biblical or historical “resources for christology,” we actually want each speaker to be doing something with the resources.
Aside from that, it’s wide open: the conference is independent and ecumenical, a forum equally appropriate for definitive statements of settled views as well as innovative thought projects that are ready for critical scrutiny and wider discussion. Following the lead of the title “Christology: Ancient and Modern,” we are of course eager for papers that are fluent in, and not dismissive of, the great tradition of christological reflection.
The best of the conference proceedings will be published in a forthcoming book from Zondervan, the conference sponsor.