May 5-7, 2016 at the University of Notre Dame
The concept of sin plays an important role in many religious traditions, but it also harbors great complexity. Sometimes we speak as if the concept applies mainly to morally blameworthy actions; but we also speak as if it applies to dispositions or character traits (e.g., ‘the sin of pride’). It is sometimes spoken of as a kind of impurity—something that can be washed away, or from which we can be cleansed. Sometimes it is treated as a kind of weight that can be lifted or carried away. Sometimes it is treated as an agency that resides within us—“no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17). In the Christian tradition, original sin is a condition that we inherit and (for many theologians) something for which we are guilty from birth. What is sin that it can be spoken of in so many ways? Alternatively, how should we disambiguate ‘sin’ so as to avoid talking past one another with this multiply ambiguous word? Are some “images” of sin to be prioritized over others? Does our ontology of sin have any bearing on our understanding of forgiveness, or atonement? The 2016 Logos Workshop will be devoted to addressing these and related philosophical and theological questions about sin and sinfulness.