Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

June 2015 Conference


Goals for the Working Group Conference:

  1. To meet the participants in our project on “The Emergence and Effect of the Sacred”;
  2. To generate discussion about the general notion of "the sacred" with the hope of creating some general consensus about this central topic;
  3. To inform each other about the research projects that we are currently involved in dealing with “the sacred”;
  4. To form affinity groups among those present in order to foster development of individual research around common themes;
  5. To discuss the project's envisioned products and the structure of what has to be done in year 2 & 3.

Common Questions for the Working Group Conference:

  1. Given your research area or project, what characteristics of your object of study mark it out as “sacred?
  2. How did (does) your object of study become “sacred”?
  3. What does it mean methodologically to approach your object of study as “sacred”?
  4. What kinds of social reactions do you see in people’s relation to your object of study, precisely when it understood as “sacred”?
  5. What would you want others to think about regarding “the sacred” given your research?
  6. From your research, do you think the category of the “sacred” is useful for historical reasons, but not for contemporary social or political concerns, or do you think this category has something to contribute to broader humanistic scholarship in the current world 

Calendar and Schedule:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Arrival by 17:00

17:00-19:00: Opening Meeting: {goal: meeting the participants; initial discussion of “the sacred”}

  • Welcome (Laura Carnevale, Luca Arcari, and Edmondo Lupieri) (15 minutes);
  • Power Point Explanation of the project as a whole, the structure of the Naples meeting and its goals (John McCarthy) (15 minutes)
  • Screening of one or more of available videos on “the Sacred;” general discussion exploring selected ways “the Sacred” emerges in our society and our research, including its effects in them and in interreligious conflicts and dialogue. (75 minutes)
  • Summary comments about the discussion and plans for tomorrow (led by Laura Carnevale, Luca Arcari, Edmondo Lupieri, John McCarthy)
  • 19:30-21:00: Supper

Day 1: Tuesday, June 16, 2015

9:00-10:30: Session 1: {goal: clarifying the notion of “the sacred”; sharing prepared perspectives on “the sacred”}

  • Welcome and explanation of Session 1 (Edmondo Lupieri) (5 minutes)
  • Power Point on various theoretical approaches to “the sacred” (John McCarthy) (15 minutes)
  • Break out into three rooms to discuss the questions that have been distributed prior to the Naples gathering (see Appendix B). These questions are posed to facilitate discussion about central terms and concepts, and to surface misunderstandings we want to avoid, etc. (50 minutes)
  • Return to common meeting; report back and discussion (20 minutes)( led by Laura Carnevale, Roberto Alciati, Edmondo Lupieri, John McCarthy)

10:30-11:00: Break

11:00-13:00: Session 2: {goal: to allow members to explain what their individual research projects and interests are, how they see that fitting into the overarching project of “the emergence and effect of the sacred,” and what they hope to see as results of this project; establish broad “research affinity group” categories}

General Meeting: brief presentations by assembled participants of the topics and progress of their own contributions to the common research project. (120 minutes; 3-4 minutes per person; followed by identification of broad research affinity categories) (All Research Members - see Appendix A)

13:00-15:00: Lunch and Rest

15:00-16:00: Session 3: {goal: to present current partner’s research}

  • Luca Arcari, “Time(s) and Space(s) in Late Antique Religious Groups (1st-6th cent. CE): The Contextual (or Ambiguous?) Dimension of the Sacred in Ancient World"
  • Laura Carnevale, “Sacred Spaces and Ex Votos as Sacred Objects: a Case Study from St. Matthew Sanctuary (Apulia)”

16:00-16:15: Break

16:15-17:15: Session 4: {goal: to present current partner’s research}

  • Sergio Botta, “Is ‘Primitivity’ a ‘functional’ category in History of Religions? The problem of "indigenous cultures" in light of the notion of "sacred" according to the Italian History of Religions.”
  • Tessa Canella, Daniela Patti, “The Sacred Cave of Mount Tancia (Latium): History and Archeology [an Overview]”

17:15-17:30: Break

17:30-18:15: Session 5: {goal: to begin affinity group discussions and planning}

Break down into affinity groups; discussion of current research and mutual interactions in small groups

18:30—20:00: Supper

Day 2: Wednesday, June 17, 2015

9:00-10:00: Session 6: {goal: to summarize current progress and identify specific problems that need to be addressed}

Common Meeting to discuss progress of Day 1 and question for Day 2 (Laura Carnevale, Roberto Alciati, Edmondo Lupieri)

10:00-10:30: Break

10:30-11:30: Session : {goal: to present current partner’s research}

  • Andrea Nicolotti, “A History of the Shroud of Turin”
  • Marianna Ferrara, “Indology and the centrality of sacrifice in the notion of "sacred" between 19th and 20th cent.”
  • Alessandro Saggioro, “A Sabine Goddess and the Sacred” - Alessandro Lagioia, “A Hagiographical Text and its Problems: the Apparitio Sancti Michaelis in Monte Gargano”

11:30-12:00: Break

12:00-13:00: Session 8: {goal: to present current partner’s research}

Short presentations and further discussions as needed.

13:00-15:00: lunch and rest

15:00-17:00: Session 9: Common discussion of goals and structure of Year 2 Conference; discussion of the project’s products in year 3. {Laura Carnevale, Luca Arcari, Edmondo Lupieri, John McCarthy, Sander Evers)

17:00-17:30: Break

17:30-18:30: Closing Session: Summary discussion lead by research coordinators