AAR 2020 Panels


Below are the Theology Without Walls sessions for the upcoming virtual national meetings of the American Academy of Religion.  Evidently, AAR plans to spread the meetings out over a period of a couple of weeks.  More details to follow. A request has been made that our sessions not conflict with the Comparative Theology Group’s sessions.



2020 AAR
Theology Without Walls Group

Theology Without Walls: The Transreligious Imperative Meets Its Readers“   

Theology Without Walls: The Transreligious Imperative (Routledge 2019) brings to fruition several years of work by scholars involved in the Theology Without Walls project.  It presents twenty-one essays offering diverse but mutually reinforcing arguments for a mode of theologizing that is not bound by confessional commitments.  The essays address a range of issues raised by the project, such as its implications for religious participation and identity, and exemplify methods for conducting theology beyond the walls.  Scholars who are not contributors are asked to present a critical appreciation of the theological project represented in the volume.  Two key questions are:  Is the argument for TWW persuasive?  Are the methods promising?  Contributors will be available to respond to comments.

Co-chairs - Jerry L. Martin, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Wilhelmus (Pim) Valkenberg, Catholic U. of America

Perry Schmidt-Leukel, University of Muenster

Hugh Nicholson, Loyola University

Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Fordham University

Hans Gustafson, University of Saint Thomas

Jerusha Rhodes, Union Theological Seminary

Jeanine Diller, University of Toledo

John Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary


2020 AAR
Theology Without Walls Group

“SBNRs:  Doing Theology beyond the Walls” 
The Spiritual But Not Religious, and even more the Nones, have already stepped outside confessional boundaries. This could be seen as a spiritual and cultural crisis insofar as it is religious traditions that have preserved and transmitted some of the profoundest ideas and practices with regard to ultimate reality and how we should live in light of it. On the other hand, the premise of Theology Without Walls is that there are truths to be found outside one’s confession and perhaps outside any confession. In this session, the SBNR and TWW perspectives will meet for the first time in a conference setting. In particular, experts who either are or can speak for SBNRs will speak to the relevance to their concerns of the TWW project, as set out in its flagship volume, Theology Without Walls: The Transreligious Imperative. Scholars active in the TWW project will respond.
150 minutes

Chair: Jeanine Diller, University of Toledo

SBNR presenters:

Paul Bramadat, University of Victoria

Todd Green, Luther College

Trina J. Jones, Wofford College

Jeff Kripal, Rice University

Kate Stockly, Boston University

TWW response:

Linda Mercadante, Methodist Theological School

Rory McEntee, Drew University

Bin Song, Washington College


2020 AAR
Theology Without Walls Group

Rising Scholars Discussion: Avenues of TWW Inquiry

As TWW moves beyond the familiar parallel studies of most Comparative Theology, what directions and forms – what dissertation topics, for example – might begin to emerge?
90 minutes

Chair:  John Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary

Initiating Discussion:
Rory McEntee, Drew University

Bin Song, Washington College

Andrew Schwartz, Center for Process Studies


2020 AAR
Theology Without Walls Group

Planning Meeting

This year’s panels represent a new level of development for TWW.  What are the implications of current discussions for our future work?
60 minutes

Chair:  Jerry L. Martin

Implications of TWW-SBNR Panel:  Jeanine Diller, University of Toledo, Linda Mercadante, Methodist Theological School, and others

Implications of TWW Book Panel:  Wilhelmus (Pim) Valkenberg, Catholic University of America, John Thatamanil, Union Theological Seminary, and others

Global Trends:  Kurt Anders Richardson, University of Toronto

Rapporteur:  Christopher Denny, St. John’s University