On the following pages you will find information about the history, organisation and present activities of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion

If you work in the field of philosophy of religion in Europe, we invite you to participate in our activities - especially in our biannual European Conferences on Philosophy of Religion.

If you plan and organise a conference in philosophy of religion, we would be happy to advertise information about such a conference on our homepage.

28 - 31

August 2018

22nd conference of The European Society for Philosophy of Religion in Prague

22nd conference of The European Society for Philosophy of Religion in Prague

The 22nd Conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, Aug 30- Sep 2, 2018. The topic of the Conference will be "Religious Diversity"

Few parts of the inhabited world are unaffected by religious diversity. This has often been regarded as a philosophically, sociologically, and politically challenging fact, rather than as something to be celebrated. Within the philosophy of religion, in particular, religious diversity has typically been regarded as standing in need of a theoretical explanation that will defuse the challenge it seems to present to prevailing belief systems. This conference invites exploration of philosophical Responses to religious diversity, and investigation of the epistemological, metaphysical, and socio-political questions that it raises.

Sub-theme 1: Philosophical Responses to Religious Diversity
In the last several decades it has become common-place to regard inclusivism, exclusivism and pluralism as the main forms of response to religious diversity. Is it time to move beyond these familiar categories, or are they still theoretically useful today? Within the philosophy of religion, one widely influential form of religious pluralism - Hickean pluralism, which posits a single noumenal Reality lying behind all the world’s major religious traditions - has dominated the discussion since the 1990s. However, it faces serious philosophical problems and other forms of pluralist theory have been developed which seek to avoid these. How might religious pluralism, as a theoretical response to religious diversity, best be articulated? What is the relation between it, as a philosophical response, and other approaches to religious diversity?

Sub-theme 2: Epistemological Challenges of Religious Diversity
The fact that the world contains a number of diverse systems of religious belief and practice raises epistemological issues that fall centrally within the range of concerns covered by the philosophy of religion. What are the implications of religious diversity for the ways we might think about the truth, reasonableness, or justification of religious claims? To what extent ought religious diversity undermine confidence in all religious belief systems? Does persistent disagreement about core religious claims among adherents of different religious traditions suggest that none of them are justified in their beliefs? Does diversity fatally erode the view that any religious claims are true? To what extent, if any, does religious diversity undermine claims made on the basis of religious experience? Might the phenomenon of cognitive penetration feature in an explanation of religious diversity? Does reflection on religious diversity suggest that philosophical approaches that do not focus on traditional epistemological notions like ‘truth’ and ‘justification’ are more salient in the religious domain?

Sub-theme 3: The Metaphysics of Religious Diversity
Religious diversity challenges philosophers of religion, and scholars in cognate disciplines, to explore different conceptions of the divine. How might philosophy of religion have to change in response to this challenge? Do the diverse religions of the world exhibit any common features in their ways of conceiving the Ultimate? Does the diverse religious experience of humankind point to an underlying Reality beyond all particular religious conceptions, as John Hick has claimed? How might the various conceptions of the divine that are advanced by different religious traditions be related to such an underlying Reality? Does a religious pluralist need to posit such a Reality to make sense of the idea that all major world religions are equally capable of putting their adherents on the path to the religious goal, however that is conceived? Is the distinction between personal and impersonal conceptions of the Ultimate the most fundamental one, or might other categorical distinctions be equally important to consider, such as causal and acausal, transcendent and nontranscendent?

Sub-theme 4: The Socio-theoretic Implications of Religious Diversity
How should the facts of religious diversity in different parts of the world impact philosophical reflection on the relation of religion and politics, religion and law, religion and the state, and the relation of religious organisations to each other? How are understandings of concepts such as freedom of religion, secularisation, and religious neutrality, affected by the way we think about religious diversity? How might theological or religious ethics assimilate the facts of diversity. How might doctrinal perspectives on religious diversity be fruitfully combined with sociological ones? To what extent does reasonable pluralism (as proposed by Rawls and Habermas) still offer an adequate response to the current societal challenges of religious diversity?

19 - 20

June 2017

Approaches - Methods - Concepts of Modern Philosophy of Religion

Approaches - Methods - Concepts of Modern Philosophy of Religion

ESPR invites to a short Conference on

"Modern Philosophy of Religion: Approaches, Methods and Concepts"

being part of the Zero-Conference of the new European Academy of Religion (18 - 22 June 2017 in Bologna; see: https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org/

The Programme

Monday, 19.6., 8.30 – 10.00

Moderation: Hans-Peter Grosshans (University of Münster)

  1. Prof. Dr. Marius Timmann Mjaaland (University of Oslo, Norway): “Phenomenology, Writing, and the Hiddenness of God”

  2. Prof. Dr. Svetlana Konacheva (Russian State University of Humanities, Moscaw, The Russian Federation): “ Theological ontology in post-metaphysical epochs: from ipsum esse to the event”

  3. Dr. Dennis Vanden Auweele (University of Groningen / University of Leuven): „Caressing God: Between System and Mystery“

Monday, 19.6., 10.30 – 12.00

Moderation: Marius Timmann Mjaaland (University of Oslo)

  1. Prof. Dr. Andrea Aguti (University of Urbino, Italy): „Does it still make sense talking about absoluteness of Christianity?“

  2. Prof. Dr. Anna Lamańska (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Wawsaw, Poland): „The role of philosophy in the dialogue between theology and sciences“

  3. Piotr Sawczynski (Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland): „‚The slight adjustment‘: Theological grounding for political subjectivity in Giorgio Agamben‘s messianic philosophy“

Monday, 19.6., 13.30 – 15.00

Moderation: Hans-Peter Grosshans (University of Münster)

  1. Dr. Marcus Held (University of Mainz, Germany): „Marc Richirs hermeneutische Sprachphänomenologie als Möglichkeit nachmetaphysischem Denkens und Redens von Gott“

  2. Dr. Marco Simionato (University ca' Foscari of Venice, Italy): „Instructions in Zen Buddhist practice and Moorean Truths“

  3. Prof. Dr. Victoria Harrison (University of Macau): “Philosophy of Religion Today: Challenges and Potential”

Monday, 19.6., 15.30 – 17.00

Moderation: Victoria Harrison (University of Macau)

  1. Prof. Dr. Rita Šerpytytė (Vilnius University, Lithuania): „Western Thought and the Concept of Nihilism“

  2. Dr. Matthew Ryan Robinson (University of Bonn, Germany): “Bonhoeffer’s Stranger-Righteousness: The Word of God Experienced in For-Given Relationship with Others”

  3. Katharina Opalka (University of Bonn, Germany): „Performative Action: Considerations on the intersection of Philosophy of Religion and Dogmatics“

Tuesday, 20.6., 8.30 – 10.00

Moderation: Hans-Peter Grosshans (University of Münster)

  1. Dr. German Bokov (St. Petersburg State University, The Russian Federation): „The concept of “paradigm” as an opportunity for philosophical research of a phenomenon of a new religious consciousness (including radical Protestant theology and key ideas of different new religious movements)“

  2. Dr. Janusz Salamon (University of Prague, Czech Republic): "The Need of a Global Philosophy of Religion and One Way Global Philosophy of Religion Could Be Conceived"

  3. Raphael Päbst (University of Marburg, Germany): “Divine Mystery and Knowledge of God”

Tuesday, 20.6., 10.30 – 12.00

Moderation: Janusz Salamon (University of Prague)

  1. Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans (University of Muenster, Germany): „Religion after Metaphysics? Reflections on Religion, Truth and Power“

  2. Prof. Dr. Humberto Schubert Coelho (University Juiz de Fora, Brasil): „The attacks against the metaphysical basis of religion and their lack of substance. Common detractions of Idealism.“

International Summer School 2017

International Summer School 2017




Deadline for application: 15. November 2016

Funded by the John Templeton Foundation and in cooperation with the University of Innsbruck and the Munich School of Philosophy, the University of Regensburg is conducting a specific research project in order to examine the potentials and the boundaries of classical theism as well as the legacy of alternative concepts of God.
The project funds systematic research and promotes an interdisciplinary cooperation between analytic philosophers and theologians. It therefore explores the intersection of both fields and seeks to establish links between the traditions of classical European theology and philosophy and analytic thinking.
Based on this framework the University of Regensburg is hosting a summer school specifically dedicated to challenges, advancements, and alternatives to classical theism as well as personal theism.
The summer school will take place at the famous Weltenburg Abbey, near Ratisbon.
In connection with the summer school an international conference at Fürstenried Castle (Munich) will discuss the same topic (August 8th – August 11th, 2017), where leading scholars in analytic philosophy of religion and systematic theology will present papers. Applicants for the summer school are expected to attend the conference, as well.

The summer school will be taught by:
Thomas SCHÄRTL (University of Regensburg, Germany)
John BISHOP (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
Ken PERSZYK (University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Anna CASE-WINTERS (McCormack Theological Seminar, Chicago, USA)

The language of the summer school will be English.

Recent PhDs (2010 or later), PhD candidates, and current graduate students in philosophy and theology are invited to apply. We welcome applications from individuals of any philosophical and theological persuasion with a strong interest in analytic philosophy of religion and systematic theology, which are related to the overall topic of the Summer School: Classical Theism (metaphysical presuppositions and religious implications), personal theism (prospects and boundaries), panentheism, process theism and alternative concepts of God. The four instructors will teach courses on the above topics. Up to three full days will be devoted to one topic. The instructors will organize the first half of the respective days in a more course-oriented or lecture-like style; the afternoon will resemble a doctoral seminar with students presenting their own paper.

For instance, the papers could cover the following topics:

  1. Classical Theism and its Possible Revisions
    • Are God’s properties consistent with each other in classical theism (against a Christian, Jewish or Islamic background)? (e.g. the debate on the plausibility of an Omni-God-concept)
    • How can God’s relationality be determined against the background of his aseity in classical theism? And how is God related to his own nature, to abstract entities/objects, to the variety of possible worlds or to contingent individuals within this concept?
    • By means of which metaphysical models can God’s relationality be shaped?
    • Do specific contents of Christian faith (theology of revelation, Trinity or Incarnation) require a transformation of the metaphysical framework, which is crucial for classical theism? And are there metaphysical models (substance, subject or event metaphysics), which meet these contents in a more appropriate way?
    • Which internal (problem of theodicy) or external (naturalistic objections) factors require a revision of classical theism? Why would such a revision be inevitable, and which direction would a revised concept of God take?

  2. Alternative Concepts of God
    • What plausibility do “naturalistic”, panentheistic or pantheistic concepts of God have? What are their benefits compared to classical theism? How could Jewish, Christian, or Islamic religious beliefs be integrated into such an alternative framework?
    • How could monistic, dualistic or pluralistic conceptions of the God-World-relation be defined, compared to each other, and evaluated with regard to their metaphysical and theological effectiveness?
    • Which metaphysical and/or theological and/or philosophical arguments are reasons for the development of non-standard concepts of God?
    • Which resources does Jewish, Islamic, or Christian theological and philosophical tradition supply for the formation of non-standard concepts of God and also for the modification of classical theism?

Funding: In most cases the organizers will be able to cover the full expenses of successful applicants, including travel, lodging, and full-board (for both the summer school and the international conference). The specific terms will be negotiated on an individual basis.

1. a short academic CV
2. a letter of intent (max. 500 words)
3. an abstract of the paper/topic to be presented at the summer school (c. 750 words).

Please note: It is not required that the paper to be presented has been fully worked out at the day of the application; a significantly precise draft will suffice.

To apply for the summer school, please send an e-mail with your contact data and affiliation to

by November 15th, 2016.

We will let you know of our decision by January 15th, 2017.

President of the ESPR is Dr. Janusz Salamon; Vice-Presidents are Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans. Dr. Victoria Harrison, Prof. Dr. Peter Jonkers and Dr. Ulf Zackariasson.

Members of the Board of the Society are:

University of Münster, Germany

Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans


University of Macau, SAR

Prof. Dr. Victoria Harrison


University of Tilburg, Netherlands

Prof. Dr. Peter Jonkers


Charles University Prague, Czech Rep.

Dr. Janusz Salamon


University of Uppsala, Sweden

Dr. Ulf Zackariasson


The Society was founded in 1976 with the aim to arrange regular biennial European conferences on the philosophy of religion. These conferences are intended to further the study of the philosophy of religion and the cooperation between philosophers of religion in Europe. Originally the conferences were set up as joint meetings of the British Christian Philosophers Group (later to become the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion), the GermanScandinavian Society for Philosophy of Religion and the Netherlands Society for Philosophy of Religion. However, from the very beginning, philosophers of religion who were not members of these organizations, also from outside Europe, were always welcome.

At the 9th conference in Aarhus, it was decided to have official statutes drawn up for the Society and to have the Society officially registered as such. The draft statutes were approved by the general meeting of the Society in Swansea in September 1994 and officially registered before a notary on the 24th of June 1996 by professors Vincent Brümmer and Henk Vroom, who at the time were president and treasurer of the Society. Included below is a copy of the official statutes of the Society as these are entered in the Register of Societies at the Utrecht Chamber of Commerce [Kamer van Koophandel en Fabrieken], as well as an English translation for use in the Society.

  • 2016

    "Evil", ESPR President: Ulf Zachariasson (Uppsala), Conference commitee: Ulf Zachariasson (Uppsala) and Jonna Bornemark (Södertörn)

  • 2014

    "Transforming Religion", ESPR President: Hans-Peter Grosshans (Münster), Conference commitee: Hans-Peter Grosshans (Münster) and Klaus Müller (Münster)

  • 2012

    "Embodied Religion", ESPR President: Peter Jonkers (Tilburg), Conference commitee: Peter Jonkers (Tilburg) and Marcel Sarot (Utrecht)

  • 2010

    "Religion in the Public Sphere", ESPR and conference President: Roger Trigg (Oxford)

  • 2008

    "Sacrifice", ESPR President: Marius Timmann Mjaaland (Oslo), Conference commitee: Marius Timmann Mjaaland (Oslo) and Jan-Olav Henriksen (Oslo)

  • 2006

    "Religion after Metaphysics", ESPR President: Ingolf U. Dalferth (Zürich), Conference commitee: Ingolf U. Dalferth (Zürich) and Hans-Peter Grosshans (Tübingen)

  • 2004

    "The Criticism of Enlightenment", ESPR President: Henk Vroom (Amsterdam), Conference commitee: Henk Vroom (Amsterdam), Lieven Boeve (Leuven), Joeri Schrijvers (Leuven)

  • 2002

    "Religion, Aesthetics and the concept of the Imagination", ESPR and Conference President: Douglas Hedley (Cambridge)

  • 2000

    "The Future of Religion and the Future of Suspicion", ESPR and conference President: Reijo Työrinoja (Helsinki)

  • 1998

    "The Concept of Religion", ESPR and conference President: Ingolf U. Dalferth (Zürich)

  • 1996

    "Revelation and Experience", ESPR and conference President: Vincent Brümmer (Utrecht)

  • 1994

    "The Concept of 'Person', human Subjectivity and its Consequences for the Philosophy of Religion", ESPR President: Michael Durrant (Cardiff), Conference commitee: Michael Durrant (Cardiff) and Dewi Zephania Phillips (Swansea)

  • 1992

    "Traditional Theism and its modern Alternatives", ESPR and conference President: Svend Andersen (Aarhus)

  • 1990

    "Divine Agency", ESPR and conference President: Ingolf Dalferth (Tübingen)

  • 1988

    "Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Language and their Relevance for the Study of Religious Discourse", ESPR and conference President: Vincent Brümmer (Utrecht)

  • 1986

    "Philosophy and Eschatology", ESPR and conference President: Michael Durrant (Cardiff)

  • 1984

    "The Concept of Revelation", ESPR and conference President: Hampus Lyttkens (Lund)

  • 1982

    "The Concept of Sin", ESPR and conference President: Eilert Herms (Munich)

  • 1980

    "Religion and Understanding", ESPR and conference President: Vincent Brümmer (Utrecht)

  • 1978

    "Transcendence and Religious Experience", ESPR and conference President: Donald Hudson (Exeter)

  • 1976

    "Recent Subjects in Philosophy of Religion", ESPR and conference President: Hampus Lyttkens (Lund)

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If you want to be on the Mailing-list of the European Society for the Philosophy of Religion you can register with this formula, which will be send to the secretary of Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grosshans, who is one of the Vice-Presidents of ESPR.

City / Country:

Selection of Short Papers at the ESPR Conference 2014

Bondi - Gaia or the return of teleology

Damonte - what is natural in natural theology

Harper - Murphy and Tracy's accounts of God

Hoblik - Last und Gewinn der religiösen Desorientierung

Honnacker - Naturalism Without Reductionism

Hoppe, Civil Religion

Jonkers - From Ecclesiastical Doctrine to Christian Wisdom

Li - Joint Causation Emergence Theory and Panentheism

Opalka - A new culture of humility

Ossewaarde-Lowtoo - Theosis contra Transhumanism

Rass - Revelation under Deconstruction

Reitsma - Sin after the Death of God

Sorrentino - Transforming Religion

Søvik - Evolution and Salvation for Non-humans

Titans - Evolution, Biological Universe and the Concept of a Personal God

Article 1
1. The name of the society is the European Society for Philosophy of Religion.
2. The Society is registered in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3. The Society is founded for an unlimited period of time.

Article 2
1. The aim of the society is to promote the study of the Philosophy of Religion in Europe and to undertake actions which directly or indirectly further or have a bearing on this aim.
2. The Society will try to achieve this aim by means of biennial European conferences for scholars engaged in teaching and/or research in the philosophy of religion, and by all other legal means which are considered necessary or useful in order to realize its stated aim.
3. The location of these conferences will rotate between various European geographical Areas including at least: (a) the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, (b) the Benelux, (c) German speaking countries, (d) Nordic and Baltic region, and (e) Central and Eastern Europe.

Article 3
The Society year consists of two consecutive calender years. The first Society year started on the first of September nineteen hundred and seventy six and ended on the thirty first of December nineteen hundred and seventy eight.

Article 4
1. Membership of the Society is open to scholars engaged in teaching and/or research in the Philosophy of Religion. Members are appointed by the Board, to whom applications for membership should be submitted.
2. The Board keeps a register of the names and addresses of all members. Members are required to inform their representative on the Board directly of any change in address.

Article 5
Members are required to pay a biennial membership fee as determined by the General Meeting of the Society.

Article 6
1. Membership is terminated by:
1. The death of the member;
2. Cancelation of membership by the member;
3. Cancelation of membership by the society;
4. Expulsion from the Society.
5. Nonpayment of membership fee within six months after the end of the society year.
2. Cancelation of membership and expulsion from the Society occur in accordance with Dutch law.

Article 7
The Board of the Society consist of at least four and not more than six members elected by the General Meeting of the Society from among its members. Each of the geographical areas mentioned in article 2.3 should be represented by one member in the Board. The member in whose area the next biennial conference is to be held, will act as President of the Society.

Article 8
1. Board members are elected for a period of four years, except when the General Meeting of the Society should decide otherwise. At the end of this period, Board members are eligible for reelection. In accordance with Article 7, the president is appointed for the period between two conferences.
2. Membership of the Board is terminated when a Board member: 1. ends his/her membership of the Society 2. resigns from the Board in writing 3. loses his/her capacity to function as Board member.
3. If a vacancy should occur in the Board during the period between two General Meetings of the Society, the Board will be entitled to appoint a temporary representative for the geographical area not represented on the Board. This representative will serve on the Board until the next General Meeting of the Society, when the vacancy will be filled.
4. Any Board member can be dismissed at any time by the General Meeting of the Society.

Article 9
1. The function of president rotates among Board members in the sense that the Board member in whose area the next biennial conference is to be held, functions as president. The remaining board members function as vice presidents.
2. Decisions can only be taken in the Board when at least half the members are present. Decisions can also be taken without a meeting, provided that all Board members express their views on the relevant issue in writing.
3. All decisions in the Board are taken by majority vote.

Article 10
The management of the Society is vested in the Board. The Board is entitled to delegate any of its tasks provided these are clearly circumscribed. Persons to whom such tasks are delegated, act under the responsibility of the Board.

Article 11
The Society is legally represented by the Board. It can also be represented by two Board members acting jointly.

Article 12
1. The Board shall conduct the financial administration of the Society in such a way that the rights and duties of the Society can be made known at all times.
2. At the General Meeting of the Society the Board shall report on the activities of the Society and submit a financial report for the period since the previous General Meeting

Article 13
1. A General Meeting of the Society will be held during every biennial conference of the Society referred to in Article 16 below.
2. Further General Meetings of the Society may be convened whenever the Board deems this necessary.

Article 14
1. The General Meeting of the Society is convened by the Board. At least fourteen days before the General Meeting all members are invited to attend. Convocations are sent in writing to the members' addresses as these occur in the register kept by the Board.
2. Convocations for the General Meeting are accompanied by a written agenda.
3. All members of the Society are admitted to the General Meeting. The Board may also invite others to attend the General Meeting.

Article 15
1. All members are entitled to vote at the General Meeting of the Society Each member can cast one vote.
2. Decisions are taken by majority of the valid votes cast.

Article 16
1. The Board shall convene a biennial conference of the Society, by rotation in the area from which the current president comes.
2. The president shall be responsible for organizing the conference. In this heshe shall be assisted by the other members of the Board in working out the programme and inviting the speakers. Each Board member shall be responsible for the contacts with the members from the area which heshe represents.
3. In organizing the conference, the president shall be assisted by a secretary and a treasurer from the area where the conference is to be held. Together they form the conference committee. The secretary and treasurer are nominated by the president and appointed by the Board.
4. The Board can invite scholars from other countries who are not members of the Society to take part in the conference.

Article 17
1. Changes in the statutes of the Society can only be made by decision of the General Meeting of the Society.
2. The written text of proposed changes are to be sent in advance to the members with the convocation for the General Meeting.
3. A decision to change the statutes can only be taken by a twothirds majority of the valid votes cast at the General Meeting of the Society.

Article 18
Statutory changes take effect after these have been legally registered. Any Board member is empowered to sign the relevant registration documents.

Article 19
1. The Society can be dissolved by a decision of the General Meeting taken in accordance with Article 17 above.
2. The Board members function as liquidators of the Society. Wherever applicable, the statutes remain valid during the period of liquidation.
3. In the event of dissolution of the Society, any accounts remaining after the satisfaction of any proper debts shall be applied to charitable purposes of a like nature of those of the Society, such at the discretion of the General Meeting.
4. After dissolution the accounts of the Society shall be held in safe keeping for a period of ten years by some person nominated by the General Meeting.
(These statutes were approved by the General Meeting of the Society in Swansea in September 1994. A revision of these statutes was approved by the General Meeting of the Society in Muenster in August 2014.)

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