On February 1, 2008, the Departments of Philosophy and Theology at Marquette University met for a conversation about the mutual roles philosophy and theology play at a Catholic and Jesuit institution. Two panels initiated the conversation. The first addressed the question, “what is the relationship between philosophy and theology?” John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio framed the discussion, but both the panelists and other participants ranged widely over a variety of topics, including what place exists for the specificities of Christian doctrine to whether kenosis understood as secularization provides a means for philosophy to engage theology favorably. Panelists for this discussion were: Ralph Del Colle, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Philip Rossi, S.J., Professor of Theology, Steve Long, Professor of Theology, James South, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, and Andrew Tallon, Professor of Philosophy and the Director of Marquette University Press.
The second panel addressed the more local question: "How do theology and philosophy serve the mission at Marquette University?" Panelists included Ulrich Lehner, Assistant Professor in Historical Theology, Pol Vandevelde, Professor of Philosophy, Robert Doran, S.J, Emmett Doerr Chair in Catholic Systematic Theology, and Fr. Trelour S.J., former Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Professor Emeritus. Here too the conversation ranged widely, addressing questions such as the professionalization of contemporary university education, the place of the Church in the University’s mission, and the importance of the number, as well as the nature, of courses in philosophy and theology students take in a Jesuit, Catholic University.
While we did not have sufficient time to discuss any of these important matters thoroughly, we hope this is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation, formally and informally, between our two departments.
Marquette’s Office of Mission and Identity co-sponsored the conversation. We are grateful to Stephanie Russell, Executive Director, University Mission and Identity, for her support.