The Faculty of Theology within the University of Malta organised a two-day international conference on “Reconsidering Transcendence. Between Presence and Absence” held between the 10th and 11th May 2019.
Professor Yvonne Dohna Schlobitten from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome delivered the opening lecture while Professor Gianluigi Pasquale from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome gave a keynote lecture on the second day of the conference.
The conference had five plenary sessions with four speakers addressing each session. The first session contextualised the theme of transcendence in view of biblical anthropology. In the second session, the theme was examined in light of the history of thought, mainly with reference to major philosopher-theologians including Gregory of Nyssa, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Kierkegaard and other contemporary figures. Transcendence was consequently studied in the third session in view of spirituality and from a wider religious perspective.
In the fourth plenary session, the speakers sought to provide an ecclesial and a societal definition of transcendence. Lastly, the theme was examined in view of humanity’s desire to attain greater realities. The conference attempted to provide reasons why we need to reconsider transcendence again as well as to reflect on where we stand between ‘presence’ and ‘absence’.
23 speakers addressed the conference, nine of whom were local academics. The remaining speakers were university professors based in Dortmund, Heidelberg, Kaunas, Lviv, Paris, Prague, Rome, Torun, Verona and Wroclaw.
The most recent conferences organised by the Faculty of Theology focused on the Synods on the Family, the Reformation, and Resilience. In 2018, the keynote speaker was Templeton Prize Winner Professor Tomáš Halík from Charles University in Prague.