Stuff Below
All Mtg Dates
Next Mtg Dates
Contact us
How PCTS Works


What will become a Wiki for the PCTS.

(2010 Fall Meeting)

The Fall Meeting will be Friday and Saturday, November 5-6, 2010.

Maps of the CDSP area in the GTU, where the meeting will occur.

Friday, we begin at 2:00 pm, with business meeting, preprandials, dinner starting at 5:00 pm; free public lecture after dinner by Ted Peters at 7:00 pm.

Saturday we begin at 9:30 with continental breakfast and discussion at 10:00, ending at noon.

The Order of the Meeting:

Friday we will hear from William O'Neill, SJ, (JSTB), The Wisdom of Serpents? Religion in the Public Realm and Nazeer Ahmed, Ph.D., Faith and the Dialogue of Civilization. (Dr. Ahmed was Chief Engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope and worked on the Saturn, Apollo, and Moon Landing projects. His two books, Islam in Global History and What Makes Us Human? A Spiritual Perspective earned him international recognition.)

At 5:30 p.m., our usual convivial Happy Hour and dinner will take place at D'Autremont Hall, Pacific School of Religion. The charge for the meal will be $25. If you are planning to come please let Sharon Burch know so she can tell the dining room how many meals to prepare. Sharon can be reached at or (415) 256-1842.

At 7 p.m. Ted Peters will deliver a free public lecture in the Tucson Room ``The Wolves of Jack London: Darwin, Sin, and Human Nature.''

On Saturday, a continental breakfast will be available at 9:30 a.m. in the Tucson Room at CDSP.

We will hear from Erin Brigham (USF), Communicative Rationality and Public Theology: Some Implications of Contemporary Critical Theory on Theological Method Today and Daren Erisman (GTU), Hilm, Kenosis, and Tzimtzum: Power and Public Policy.

We will adjourn promptly at noon. We hope to see you there!

Dues are $45 per academic year for actively employed scholars and $22.50 for retirees and students.


William O'Neill, SJ, (JSTB),

``The Wisdom of Serpents? Religion in the Public Realm.''
Respondent is Jack Crossley.

pdf version; MS-Word version

Erin Brigham (USF),

``Communicative Rationality and public Theology; Some implications of Contemporary Critical Theory on Theological Method Today.''
pdf version; MS-Word version Respondent will be Malcolm Young.

Daren Erisman (GTU),

"Power and the Public Sphere: How the pre-Islamic view of hilm and the Christian understanding of kenosis may inform Public Policy."
Respondent will be Giv Nassiri.
pdf file.

Nazeer Ahmed (American Institute of Islamic History and Culture),

``Faith and the Dialogue of Civilization.''
PDF version
Respondent is Daren Erisman.

After dinner,

Ted Peters

will lecture on ``The Wolves of Jack London: Darwin, Sin, and Human Nature.''


Erin Brigham, ``Communicative Rationality and Public Theology: Some Implications of Contemporary Critical Theory on Theological Method Today''
Current debates on the role of religion in the public sphere challenge theologians to develop methodologies that address the possibility of religious discourse in a secular, post-modern context. This paper responds to that challenge by revisiting the classic debate between David Tracy and George Lindbeck on the possibility of public theology. By analyzing the underlying philosophies of language behind their respective positions and critiquing both approaches with Jürgen Habermas's framework of communicative rationality, I construct a methodological proposal that presents religious discourse as public narratives.

Bill O'Neill:
``The Wisdom of Serpents?: Religion in the Public Realm''
Religion remains a stubborn inheritance. The ``ultimate and most sublime values'' have not, as Weber believed, retreated from public life; nor is the rights talk of Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, or Benedict XVI ``godless and prophetless.'' But what is the role of religious belief in complex, pluralist societies? Should religion disturb our undogmatic slumbers? In this essay, I will explore the place of religious belief in public life, with particular attention to modern Roman Catholic social teaching. In part (i), I analyze the threefold role played by religion in interpreting, motivating, and justifying political reasoning. Underlying my argument is the proposition that we best conceive modern human rights discourse as neither a narrative nor a meta-narrative, but as practical ``grammar'' of narration. Religious narratives may thus play a critical role in redeeming basic human rights. In part (ii), I explore the implications of this role for our public, religious rhetoric. For in their shared, public reasoning, citizens of faith, I argue, are bound by its maxims, i.e., of respect, reasonableness, and responsibility. In the final part (iii), I apply the fruits of our analysis to the vexed issue of abortion policy.

Continuing matters:

The PCTS Endowment at the GTU: .doc, .pdf .

Contribution and Pledge form:

.doc, .pdf .

(2010 Spring Meeting)

The Spring Meeting was Friday and Saturday April 9 and 10, at CDSP in the Tucson Common Room.

Joan Roughgarden: Animal Behavior papers and God, Science, Sex, Gender
Respondents were Oliver Putz and Tony Battaglia

Braden Molhoek, ``Undermining Determinism: Stuck Between a Rock and a Sandy Place.'' Respondent was John Braverman, SJ, of the University of Santa Clara.

The Saturday Morning session was a discussion of Mark Graves' book, Mind, Brain and the Elusive Soul (Ashgate Science and Religion Series).

Respondents were Alejandro Garcia-Rivera, Michael Dodds, and Andrew Porter.

Location and particulars:

General information

Program Notes

A map of CDSP, showing the Tucson Common Room, where we met. More CDSP maps.

Meeting info is also here, at the PCTS wiki.

(2009 Fall Meeting)

We meet in the Badé Museum both Friday (2:00 pm until 8:00pm) and Saturday (9:30 am untill noon). Friday, discussion of papers from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, followed by business meeting, happy hour, dinner, and autobiography; Saturday, Continental breakfast at 9:30, with papers from 10:00 am until noon.

The autobiographer will be Norman Gottwald.

Papers for the 2009 Fall Meeting, October 23-24:

Friday, October 23:

Oliver Putz, ``Do Apes Pray? The problem of Human Theological Uniqueness''; respondent is Tony Battaglia. (This paper has recently appeared in Zygon.)

Brian Green, ``Cognitive Science and Aristotelian Virtue: Nature and Telos''; respondent is Michael Dodds, OP.

Saturday, October 24:

Sheila Taylor, ``Original Sin and Narrative Orientation''; respondent is Herman Waetjen.

Jennifer Veninga, ``Imagination as an Instrument of Social Change: Soren Kierkegaard and Percy Bysshe Shelley in Dialogue''; respondent is Norman Gottwald.

Order of papers and respondents TBA

(2009 Spring Business Documents)

Treasurer's report: .doc, .pdf .

The PCTS Endowment at the GTU: .doc, .pdf .

Contribution and Pledge form: .doc, .pdf .

Proposal for revisioning the Society: .pdf, .doc.


Future Meeting Dates

The meeting dates are NORMALLY the Friday and Saturday after Western Easter and the first Friday and Saturday in November. We would prefer not to deviate from the rule, but did for the Fall 2009 meeting, because it coincides with the national AAR meeting. The date for it was moved to October 23-24.

Here are the NORMAL dates:

year    Easter date             PCTS Spring             PCTS Fall 
2008       3-23                 March 28-29             November 7-8
2009       4-12                 April 17-18             October  23-24  EARLY
2010       4-4                  April  9-10             November 5-6
2011       4-24                 April 29-30             November 4-5
2012       4-8                  April 13-14             November 2-3
2013       3-31                 April  5-6              November 1-2

As of 2010-06-28, the AAR and SBL will be meeting jointly again in and after 2011, the weekend before Thanksgiving, and so the PCTS will presumably be meeting the first Friday and Saturday in November.

AAR/SBL meetings for the next three years are (2011) November 19-22, San Francisco; (2012) November 17-20, Chicago; (2013) November 23-26, Baltimore.

How to calculate Easter and PCTS meeting dates.


Past Programs
PCTS Journal

Endowment Pledge Form