2022 Comenius Conference: Imago Dei
Are we just biological beings, not substantially different than other living beings? Or are we created in the image of God, having a special value and dignity over all creatures? The 2022 Comenius conference (April 20–23) discussed the issue under the notion of Imago Dei.
Facts & Figures
12th
Comenius Conference
20-23
April 2022

About the theme

In a time when 3D printers can reproduce damaged bone-structures and when genetic modification and gender transformation allow for altering the given human body, it is time to reflect on the theological question what it means to be human. Are we just biological beings, not substantially different than other living beings? Or are we created in the image of God, having a special value and dignity over all creatures? Is Christian anthropological thinking outdated in our days of enormous technological and societal change? Or does it counterbalance human self-indulgence, having a pressing urgency and relevance?

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  • Genesis

    The testimony of Gen 1:27: “God created man in his own image” has a variety of theological meanings and implications. The special place of humankind in creation is often recognized in the ability of (abstract) thinking, speaking, creativity. This raises philosophical and ethical questions. Can rationality define humans and set them apart from other creatures? What does this mean for the appreciation of mentally handicapped people? Can such an understanding of human superiority be maintained in face of contemporary developments towards the post-human (cyberanthropology), genetic manipulation, and animal philosophy?

  • Christian anthropology

    Many systematic theological issues are involved. Gen 1:27b (“male and female he created them”) implies that humankind is created for communion. To be human means to be a personal being in a communion of love. How does such an anthropology relate to the Christian understanding of the Trinity, a fundamentally relational notion? Is creation primarily receptive of divine grace or also responsible for Imitation of Christ? What are the consequences regarding globalization, national identity, gender, environment, consumerism?

    This involves practical-theological issues as well. Humankind is not only created by the Word of God but also for the Word of God. To be able to respond to God entails accountability. The command “Be fruitful and multiply, … and have dominion…” (Gen 1:28) does not mean that humankind is the ruler of the world, only the representation of God’s rule on earth? How can we communicate the rule of God, or the responsibility and accountability of humankind concerning the creation toward the Creator and the people of modern ages? Or, from a different angle, what are the implications of Christian anthropology for the sub-disciplines of practical theology, such as diaconal studies, pastoral care, homiletics, religious education and so on?

  • Sin and the Fall

    The notion of Imago Dei has a larger biblical context, raising numerous questions. How, for instance, does it relate to the Fall? How could this happen, when Adam and Eve were supposed to be like God? How should we understand sin; and how does this relate to the likeness of God? Do we need a theory of creation to understand this matter, or is the atonement fundamental for our understanding of the Imago Dei?

    Not only Old Testament, but also New Testament exegetical questions are involved. Is a spiritual interpretation of imago dei supported by Jesus’s definition of God (“God is spirit”, John 4:24)? How is Christ the image of God as a perfect reflection of the glory of God? What does Paul teach about the new creation and new nature in connection with the image of God? In what way does our Christology influence our understanding of humanity?

    Thinking about Christian anthropology obviously has a long history. Perhaps doing theology is thinking about the relation between God and humanity, and important developments in the history of Christianity are connected to anthropological considerations. Both in its own right, and in order to understand the otherness of our own times, historical questions are called for. For instance: Why did the patristic fathers distinguish between the image and the likeness of God? Why has this distinction disappeared in Catholicism and Protestantism, and is the motive for the distinction compensated for by other solutions? In what sense was the Reformation connected to the awakening self-awareness of the modern subject? How were anthropological notions historically connected to ideas about (nationalistic) superiority?

  • Theological discours

    The Comenius conference aims at discussing theological issues concerning contemporary challenges. As an international conference, it profits from different historical and cultural backgrounds of the participants. Selected contributions will be published in the Beihefte zur Ökumenischen Rundschau, Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig.

Program

Venue

The conference was be held at Pápai Református Teológiai Akadémia in Pápa, Hungary. Pápa Reformed Theological Seminary is one of the major tertiary institutions where theological students for the Reformed Church of Hungary are trained at the highest possible level. Its first responsibility is to train ministers for the Transdanubian (Dunántúli) Diocese. It aims at passing on the spiritual heritage of the Hungarian Christian Community of the Carpathian Basin in an open ecumenical environment.

Practical information

  • Costs

    The conference registration fee for four days is €80 for participants with an income from Western-Europe (The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy), €60 for participants with an income from Central- and Eastern Europe and 30 € for students (daily registration fee for the above categories: €25, €20 and €10). This includes full participation of all conference proceedings, meals, refreshments and conference literature. 

  • Meals

    The Seminary is unfortunately not equipped to provide breakfast, but there is an excellent bakery close to the conference venue which sells sandwiches, cakes, and coffee (Lipóti Pékség és Kávézó (Lipóti Bakery)). 

    Other coffee shops/patisseries in the vicinity of the Seminary:

    All registered delegates are welcome to partake of all the conference lunches and dinners. In addition, Pápa has the following restaurants near the conference venue:

    At these restaurants main meals cost between €7 and €13.

  • Accommodation

    The Seminary has 13 modest guest rooms available which can accommodate up to two or three persons each (single beds only, each room has a private bathroom). Here, the cost per night, per person is €15. However, due to limited availability these rooms will be booked out on a 'first come ­­– first served' basis.

    Pápa also has hotels and B&Bs.

    Hotel Villa Classica: room with breakfast 

    • Weekdays: Monday-Thursday
      • Standard room, single occupancy: 26350 HUF/night = cca. €74/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)
      • Standard room, double occupancy: 29750 HUF/night = cca. €84/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30
      • Superior room, extra charge: 4.000 HUF/room/night = approx. €11
    • Weekend: Thursday-Monday
      • Standard room, single occupancy: 23250 HUF/night = cca. €65/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30
      • Standard room, double occupancy: 26250 HUF/night = cca. €74/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30
      • Superior room, extra charge: 4.000 HUF/room/night = approx. €11

    These prices are valid ONLY if the rooms are booked directly from the Hotel. At the time of contacting the hotel please refer to Ibolya Balla who is happy to assist you in the process of reservation if necessary.

    Ditlin Boutique Hotel

    • Superior room with breakfast (Single occupancy): 19950 HUF/night = cca. €56/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)
    • Deluxe room with breakfast (Single occupancy): 22050 HUF/night = cca. €62/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)
    • Superior room with breakfast (Double occupancy): 23100 HUF/night = cca. €65/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)
    • Deluxe room with breakfast (Double occupancy): 25200 HUF/night = cca. €71/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)

    These prices are valid ONLY if the rooms are booked directly from the Hotel. At the time of contacting the hotel please refer to Ibolya Balla who is happy to assist you in the process of reservation if necessary.

    Belvárosi Panzió and Főnix Panzió

    • Room with single occupancy: 8990 HUF/night = cca. €25/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)
    • Room with double occupancy: 9990 HUF/night = cca. €28/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)
    • Room with triple occupancy: 11990 HUF/night = cca. €34/night (+ 450 HUF Tourist tax/person/night = €1,30)

    Breakfast is not included in the price but it is available at 2500 HUF/person (= cca. €7/person) upon request by a minimum of 10 persons. 

    These prices are valid ONLY if the rooms are booked directly from the Hotel. At the time of contacting the hotel please refer to Ibolya Balla who is happy to assist you in the process of reservation if necessary.

    Accomodation at the Seminary

    If you do require accommodation at the Seminary, the following modus operandi will apply:

    On receipt of the registration form, we will immediately contact you to confirm availability of said accommodation. If you do request a bed at the Seminary and if for any reason there are no beds available (and/or you are not prepared to share a room with another delegate), we will immediately advise you to make alternate arrangements and we are happy to assist you with reserving accommodation in town.

  • Parking

    There is a closed car park at the Seminary that can be used by the participants free of charge. 

  • Transfer

    Participants from Pápa railway station or from Győr railway station can be transported to the conference venue free of charge. Please note that most of the trains from Budapest to Pápa are not direct trains. The best route to reach Pápa is via the city of Győr (45 kms North of Pápa, 130 kms West of Budapest). View the timetable of the Hungarian Railways.

    Győr is also one of the railway junctions of ÖBB trains (Osterreichische Bundes Bahnen)

    Transport from Budapest Airport (Liszt Ferenc Repülőtér) to the Seminary is possible upon request by a minimum of 5 people (free of charge).

  • Payment

    To help save you unnecessary bank charges, all accounts should be settled upon arrival at the Seminary in cash in Hungarian Forints or Euros (except for those who stay at hotels and settle their account there).

  • Places of interest in Pápa

Register

This conference took place in April 2022. It is no longer possible to register.

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