Recognizing that a dominant construal of joy in contemporary society assumes prosperity – whether in the form of a secular consumer materialism or a religious spirituality that valorizes wealth – this event intends to situate theological exploration of the experience of joy in dialogue with the economic discourses of our age.
The objective of the event is to create a cross-disciplinary dialogue about how material wealth can both encourage and hinder human joy and flourishing by drawing together theologians, economists and other young scholars and early-career academics, especially from the British Isles, a location where this conversation is uniquely relevant due to “Brexit” and its economic consequences. The event will be hosted by the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen on May 10-11, 2017.
The event will involve two components. It will open with a public lecture while the following day will be taken up with a postgraduate workshop.
The workshop is a part of the Theology of Joy and the Good Life project of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture at Yale Divinity School. Joy, as the project recognises, is “a positive emotion” determined in part by “objective external goods, construed rightly and about which one is rightly concerned”. In this context, prosperity is a critical element that must be interrogated. We will explore the relationship between the “mundane plenty”, which so often characterizes life in the Western world, and the experience of transcendent Christian joy particularly around ideas of “contentment” and “enough”, two elusive categories for contemporary political discourse.