June 12th, 2015: Conference “Die Moderne und die Vielfalt christlicher Reformbewegungen / Modernity and the Variety of Reformations”

The conference was organised by the research platform RaT, the Institute for Christian Philosophy as well as the Titus-Brandsma-Institute of Radboud University in Nijmegen. Direction and conception: Hans Schelkshorn, Herman Westerink.

The European discourse on modernity had been determined by mainly two historic references ever since the 19th century: On the one hand, Hegel considered Luther and Descartes to be the protagonists of modernity's rational subject. On the other hand, Jacob Burckhardt emphasised the secular discovery of the human and the world by Renaissance humanism as the decisive root of modernity. Both interpretations have meanwhile become questionable due to historic research. Renaissance appears today as embedded in a broad stream of Christian movements that reach from the 12th century to confessionalisation.

Against this background the relations between Renaissance/Reformation and modernity have to be redetermined. After a general outline of the most important paradigms of modernity's discourse and the determination of early modernity as the dawning of a second axial age by Hans Schelkshorn (Vienna, RaT), Gerrit Steunebrink (Nijmegen) portrayed Hegel's reading of modernity. According to Ron Rittgers (Valparaiso/USA) the theme “Suffering and Solace” pervades multiple spiritual movements ever since the 14th century, a complex of topics starting from which important evolutions of modernity become understandable. Herman Westerink (Nijmegen) showed the spiritual and political contradictions and polyvalences of the 16th century by means of a case study, namely the story of Franciscus Spira, a Protestant, who came into conflict with the Inquisition and ended up committing suicide. Two lectures on Ignatius of Loyola concluded the conference: Antonio Senent de Frutos (Sevilla) interpreted the Jesuit movement that already transgressed the limits of the ecumenical world in the 16th century, as an early alternative to techno-capitalist modernity, an interpretation that is currently being intensely discussed in Latin American philosophy. With Michel de Certeau Inigo Bocken (Nijmegen) established the relations between the practising thinking of the Ignatian exercises and Modern forms of thinking.