Conversations, Volume 9

Theopoetics – A Conversation [Syndicate Theology]


SYNDICATE theology is one of the most important developments in theological reflection in the last decade.

Syndicate curates freely available conversations online about particular books or topics, with an impressive lineup of scholars weighing in with responses and counter-responses on each topic. It’s like being part of an academic theology conference without the costs of travel or registration! Syndicate is a wonderful resource for pastors who want to stay engaged in theological conversation after seminary, or for others who value theological conversation.

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Syndicate’s current conversation is on Theopoetics, and may be of interest to many of our readers…

From the introduction to this symposium by L. Callid Keefe-Perry:

Though its use as an English word goes back to the 1960s and the work of Stanley Hopper and Amos Wilder, the last decade has seen a substantial uptick in published conversation around theopoetics. In the past five years alone, work engaging the topic has been published in the fields of continental philosophy,homiletics,theology,biblical studies, and poetry.In response to this rising interest, The Association of Theopoetics Research and Exploration was formed to gather together resources, archive relevant theses and dissertations, offer working group sessions at the American Academy of Religion, make work available via the online journal THEOPOETICS, and—for the first time this March—host a day-long event in Boston. This all serves to raise the question, “What exactly is theopoetics?”

As ATRE uses the term, theopoetics is shorthand for “an emphasis, style, and positive concern for the intersection of theology with the imagination, aesthetics, and the arts, especially as it takes shape in ways that engender community affirming dialogue that is embodied in nature and transformative in consequence.” It is not an alternative to theology as such, but an orientation to the doing of theology that gives greater attention to form, genre, and the methods of theological reflection, particularly the ways in which certain theological voices are given authority and others are marginalized.

[ Read the full introduction ]

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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