International Bonhoeffer Lectures


    The international Bonhoeffer Lectures in Public Ethics will be held at Southern Methodist University and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Dallas, Texas, on May 19-21, 2022. The theme of the Lectures is “Everyday Ethics for Exceptional Times.”

    More than 15 internationally renowned Bonhoeffers scholars will gather for the occasion. In addition, plenary lectures will be delivered by Marla Frederick, president of the American Academy of Religion and a faculty member at Emory University, and Marc Boom, president of Houston Methodist Hospital.

    Perkins School of Theology is a sponsor for the Lectures, which are coordinated by Dallas Gingles, site director for the Houston-Galveston Program at Perkins School of Theology and a member of the International Bonhoeffer Society - English Language Section.

    “Attendees will consider not only larger questions of morality related to the timely issues of the modern state, but also those timeless questions of everyday ethics emphasized by Dietrich Bonhoeffer such as family, church politics, and other institutions that makes possible (and sometimes hinder) human flourishing,” said Gingles.

    Rotating annually between the United States and Germany, and originally conceived as part of the Bonhoeffer Chair program at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, the Bonhoeffer Lectures in Public Ethics represent one of the most important activities of the Bonhoeffer societies worldwide. This is the first year the Lectures will take place in Dallas.

    In addition to Perkins, sponsors for this year’s lectures are Auburn Seminary, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Faith Commons, the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at Southern Methodist University, the Northern Texas - Northern Louisiana Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Luther Center of North Texas, Cynthia and David Krause, and the Mr. and Mrs. Philip Ritter Charitable Fund.

    The Lectures begin on Thursday evening, May 19, at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Dr. Gunter Prüller-Jagenteufel from the University of Vienna will give the opening lecture. On Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21, the Lectures will be held at Southern Methodist University, beginning with a symposium on Friday that interrogates the morality of the modern nation state, and concluding on Saturday with lectures on the relationship between the church and society. In addition to Frederick and Boom, lecturers include Robin Lovin, Mary Ellen O’Connell, Esther Reed, Charles Mathewes, and Michael DeJonge.

    With news of war crimes and civilian casualties in Ukraine, Gingles noted, the Lectures are especially timely. While most recognize Bonhoeffer as the Christian theologian who was martyred in Nazi Germany in 1945, “Bonhoeffer also spent a great deal of time thinking about the most everyday of moral questions,” he said. “Martyrs may inspire us to become more courageous people, but they really show is how faith takes our everyday existence and frames it in the light of eternity. We can think with Bonhoeffer about how to take responsibility for our time, and perhaps even join him in praying for a miracle. I invite you to join us in that task.”

    General registration is $50 for all three days and $25 for students. The conference schedule includes breaks of two to three hours to allow attendees time for meals on their own.

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