2019 Conference, "Compassion and Theodicy"

Bethany Sollereder

Mathematical Institute, Oxford, and Eynsham Hall

Thursday 18th July 6:00PM (BST) - Saturday 20th July 5:30PM (BST)

Event Description

 2019 Ian Ramsey Centre Summer Conference

Mathematical Institute and Eynsham Hall, Oxford, 19-20 July 2019


Compassion and theodicy do not usually mix. Theodicy is generally a dispassionate activity, conducted through abstract philosophical arguments and “just-so” stories of suffering. Compassion is the realm of the pastor, the health care professional, and the friend, typically outside the discourse of the academy. Exploring these two areas of human thought and experience in tandem, however, offers powerful new possibilities to both: compassion enriched by scholarship, and theodicy shaped by compassion. This conference will seek to build new paths at the intersection of theory and flourishing, with presentations providing perspectives on suffering from theological, philosophical, medical, and pastoral perspectives. 

The keynote speakers will include Alister McGrath (at a public lecture 18 July in the evening), Joshua Hordern, Bethany Sollereder, Christopher Southgate, and Eleonore Stump. In addition, three short papers will be selected for inclusion in a plenary session at the Mathematical Institute on 19 July.

The conference will be held at the Mathematical Institute in Oxford and at Eynsham Hall, an 18th century stately home nestled in the English countryside a few miles northwest of Oxford. A coach will be available to take participants to Eynsham Hall on Friday evening, returning on Saturday evening.

Cost and registration:

The cost is £60 for each day of the event, which includes lunch on Saturday. The dinner on Friday evening, at which Christopher Southgate will speak, costs £25. Accommodation with breakfast is available at Eynsham Hall on Friday night, but needs to be booked and paid separately; call: +44(0)1993 885200 (ext. 1 for rooms). 

Registration is open via the Oxford University online store

Call for papers:

Short papers are invited on topics relevant to the conference themes, to be delivered in parallel sessions of 30 minutes duration (20-minute paper, 10 minutes discussion). Those wishing to contribute a paper should submit a title, a < 350-word abstract that situates the paper against its scholarly backdrop, and institutional affiliation by email to:


with the subject line:

“Compassion and Theodicy Paper Application”

Closing date for abstract submissions: Friday 15 March 2019

Notification of acceptance: Friday 22 March 2019

For questions on paper submissions, please contact: bethany.sollereder@theology.ox.ac.uk

The majority of the short papers will be presented on 20 July at Eynsham Hall. In addition, three papers will be selected by a panel of three assessors for a plenary session at the Mathematical Institute on 19 July. 

Theology and Science is planning to publish a special edition with a selection of papers from the event.

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