40th International Barth Conference: Sin and guilt in a Post-Christian Society

11 until 13 October 2023

What does it mean to speak about guilt in a collective sense? Is it meaningful to think about the guilt of a people over against another people, or about guilt of humankind over against the earth? And how does collective guilt relate to individual guilt? How can we sensitively deal with individual guilt (e.g. that of theologians) instead of only charging one another with their faults? In what way can theologians contribute to a meaningful dealing with guilt in a post-Christian society? And how does a confrontation with these issues affect our view of our (innermost) selves?

In Karl Barth’s opinion, this view on our (innermost) selves would certainly not serve as the most fitting starting point for an adequate thinking about guilt: but we would have to start with looking at Jesus Christ. This idea was far from self-evident in Barth’s own time, but it may be considered as even more unhelpful in our time. May it indeed? Anyone who has some experience in reading Barth, will confirm that it is always worth a try to consult him. How does his thinking contribute to a contemporary understanding of sin and guilt? How to proceed with these issues, with Barth and after (or: beyond) Barth?

Our 40th International Barth Conference (main language: English) in Münster (Germany) will consider these questions. There will be plenary lectures, for instance by Prof. dr. Katja Tolstaja (VU, Amsterdam, Barth-expert and Dutch Theologian of the Year); and by dr. Cees-Jan Smits, who recently has published an introduction in Barth’s thoughts about this issue; and by Nicola Whyte (Aberdeen), who will reflect on the question to what extent Barth’s own thinking about sin is dependent on structures which we have come to consider as problematic – and to what extent we can learn from him nevertheless. We will also read relevant portions of Barth’s own work in smaller close reading-groups.

Register now for a few days in an atmospheric setting to delve deeply into the subject matter with experts from different corners of the world.

Practical information

Location: Münster, Germany
Data: 11 October – 13 October.

Organisation: Prof. Dr. H. van den Belt (VU Amsterdam), Dr. C.C. den Hertog (Theological University Apeldoorn), Prof. Dr. A. Huijgen (Protestant Theological University), Prof. Dr. E. van ’t Slot (Protestant Theological University)


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