February 13–14, 2015 Louisville, Kentucky
Truth, Goodness, Beauty Will Save Us
Sacral & Theological Aesthetics. Objective & Transcendent Beauty. Aquinas & Kant on Beauty. Imaginative, Iconographic, Architectural, and Poetic Aesthetics.
The Climacus Conference 2015 will seek to defend beauty. Thus, we will first attempt to define beauty, particularly on philosophical grounds. After all, we discern beauty in physical objects and abstract ideas, in nature and art, in animals and things, and in people, qualities, and actions. What is this property of beauty present in all of these things? What is the status of beauty as an ultimate value? Next we will consider the aesthetics of some particular beautiful things—such as church buildings, poems, icons, paintings, and music. Thirdly, we will consider some of the intellectual disciplines—philosophy, theology, literature, et al.—and their interaction with aesthetics. Finally, we will consider the practice of aesthetics—the redemptive and salvific role of beauty in our lives.
Fr Jonathan Tobias (BA Malone University; MDiv Winebrenner Theological Seminary; MSEd Youngstown State University) is the Pastor of the St John the Baptist Orthodox Church in East Pittsburgh, PA (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese), and is a Professor of Pastoral Theology at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Johnstown, PA. A columnist for the diocesan monthly paper, he also blogs at the ten-year-old Second Terrace, writing most often on social criticism in the light of Orthodox tradition and classical values. He also writes at the Max's Progeny site, which focus moves variably from Staniloae to St Maximus, to Florovsky and David Bentley Hart (or intends to, at least). A convert from one of the oldest American revivalist denominations that grew out of the "second great awakening," Fr Jonathan has worked as an evangelical clergyman, then a psychotherapist on an adolescent psychiatric center, and finally as an Orthodox parish priest (where he hopes to remain for the duration). He and his wife, Marsha, have been married for over 33 years. He is the father of two daughters, and the grandfather of an energetic, inquisitive 2 year old little girl. This chain of events have caused no little wonder about the Trinity, the two natures of Christ and the healing call of beauty in everyday life -- whether in the psych ward, the neighborhood, the parish, or while watching PBS' Daniel Tiger beside a granddaughter who still sees angels.
Nicholas Samaras is a poet and essayist, the son of Bishop Kallistos Samaras, a prominent Greek Orthodox Clergyman and theologian. He was born in Foxton, Cambridgeshire, England, living there and on the island of Patmos, Greece (the “Island of the Apocalypse”) and, at the time of the Greek Junta (“Coup of the Generals”) was brought in exile to be raised further in America. He has lived in Greece, England, Wales, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia, Jerusalem, thirteen states in America, and he writes from a place of permanent exile. His first book of poetry, Hands of the Saddlemaker received the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. His new book of poetry, American Psalm, World Psalm, is forthcoming in the Spring of 2014, with Ashland Poetry Press. He earned his MFA from Columbia University and his doctorate from the University of Denver. Currently, he lives in West Nyack, New York, where he has completed a new manuscript of poetry and has drafted a memoir of a childhood lived underground. He serves as the Poetry Editor for The Adirondack Review, and also serves as a long-distance mentor at The Glen Institute, an online program from Image magazine.
Andrew Gould specializes in the design of Orthodox churches and liturgical art. His firm, New World Byzantine, is known for designs that marry medieval Orthodox architecture with sympathetic influences from American building traditions. He is also the founder of New World Byzantine Studios, an atelier for the production of church furnishings, and of the Orthodox Arts Journal. Andrew holds a B.A. in art history from Tufts University and a M.Arch from University of Pennsylvania. He resides with his family in Charleston, SC.
Freelance writer focusing on issues of family, faith, and community. Molly has a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio and is the author of Close to Home: One Orthodox Mother's Quest for Patience, Peace, and Perseverance.
B.S. from Boston College in 1984; M.Div from Holy Cross School of Theology in 1990; ThD in Pastoral Counseling from Emory University; Certified Pastoral Counselor through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (2010).
Erick Hedrick-Moser is a doctoral candidate in historical theology at Saint Louis University. He is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. Before doctoral studies, he graduated with a BA in religion and philosophy from Indiana Wesleyan University and an MA in historical theology from Saint Louis University. He recently spent time in France for dissertation research and a semester as a visiting scholar at Saint Louis University’s campus in Madrid, Spain. He has published in journals such as Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, and is completing his dissertation on the formation of Jean Daniélou’s vision for Catholicism in secular France. More broadly, his interests lie in the intersection between mystical theology and secular society among patristic and modern theologians.
Sam Granger is an independent editor, researcher, and classical teacher in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He holds a Masters of Theological Studies from Boston College, and has also studied at Aquinas College, the Universität Tübingen, and Holy Cross Hellenic. Always an artist, poet, and musician, he began his studies in fine art, but transitioned to theology early on. His masters thesis focused on the "paschal nature" of beauty; other research interests include the theology of Thomas Aquinas and Hans Urs von Balthasar, the cognitive theory of Bernard Lonergan, and the aesthetics of Christopher Alexander. Additionally, the weekend of the Climacus Conference is the anniversary of his chrismation into the Orthodox Church, when he also happened to take the name "John Climacus."
Meredith Trexler is a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Kansas. She is currently finishing her dissertation, titled “Aesthetic Experience and Becoming Good: An Examination of the Connection between Ethics and Aesthetics in Plato, Kant, and Iris Murdoch.” She received her Master’s Degree in 2009, when she defended her Master’s Thesis, “Sacrifice and the Imagination: The Symbolic Relationship between Aesthetic Experience and Morality in Kant’s Third Critique.” Her areas of specialization include aesthetics, ancient philosophy (particularly Plato), and Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Her interest in aesthetics has been ongoing since she was an undergraduate student, and she has been working on an independent project for over 10 years concerning the connection between Beauty and Goodness. Her project is strongly influenced by the philosophy of C.S. Lewis, and her studies at C.S. Lewis’ home, The Kilns, in Oxford England. Meredith has taught philosophy for six years at The University of Kansas, and she has also taught philosophy at Fort Hays State University, and Kansas Wesleyan University.
Just $59 for the entire weekend. Registration includes dinner Friday, breakfast and lunch Saturday, good hot coffee and snacks alllll weekend.
Bring the fam! Couples and families are just $99. Kids are free. Complimentary childcare included.