Call For Papers

18th European Conference on Science and Theology (ECST XVIII)

Madrid, 29 April-2 May 2020

“Creative pluralism? Images and models in science and religion”

All those attending ECST XVIII are invited to offer a paper on this conference theme for presentation in a short paper session. This issue can be approached from a number of perspectives.

The field of science and religion has long been marked by the search for both a common methodology and a clear consensus on how reality can be most fully known. Many have lamented the lack of agreement about how theology should engage the sciences, and it is unclear how progress in science and religion should be evaluated. But what if the specificity and plurality of both scientific and theological projects might be seen as a virtue, rather than a vice? It is widely recognized that all human enquiry is contextual and per-spectival, heavily reliant on both models and images to know and represent reality. Scientists rely upon models to depict simplified versions of particular aspects of their subject matter. Scholars of religion too recognize the necessity of modelling religious thought, behaviour, and communities. Theologians demonstrate an increasing awareness of the necessity of the models and images that allow them to think about and speak of divine realities in specific, contextual, and perspectival ways.

Rather than lamenting the need for models and the mediating role of images in science and religion, might it be possible to affirm and even encourage such creative pluralism in science and religion? How can one affirm truth in the kaleidoscope of methods, models, and embodied perspectives on reality represented within the sciences and theological sub-disciplines today? Is an-ything lost by affirming such pluralism, and do we risk succumbing to ‘post-truth’ rhetoric? If all theologies are inherently perspectival and contextual, is there a standard against which theological imagery, models of God, and contextual perspectives should be evaluated? How do abstract models and evocative images act as useful tools within the science and religion dialogue, and can a gestalt be perceived within the plurality?


These and other related questions are ones we want to discuss at the Eighteenth European Conference on Science and Theology in Madrid.

Papers related to these issues are welcome. Papers on other aspects of the interaction between science and theology may also be offered.

Those intending to present a paper should submit a provisional title, 5 to 10 keywords, and an outline of between 400-500 words making clear the rele-vance of the paper to the theme of the conference or other aspects of the interaction between science and theology.


These single-sided outlines should also include: full name, academic position (if any), full postal and e-mail ad-dresses.

They must be received, as e-mail attachments only, before October 31st, 2019 by the Scientific Programme Officer at the address below and must be sent in either .doc or .rtf file format. No other format will be accepted.


The conference language is English.

Information about the acceptance of a paper will be given in December 2019 together with guidelines for the paper and its presentation at the conference. Complete papers must be received by March 15th, 2020. Papers and the short paper session schedule will be made available to registered participants and members of ESSSAT. If you want your paper to be presented in the same session as another paper, please indicate which paper in the email when sub-mitting your abstract.

Each presenter will have 5-10 minutes to present the main ideas of the paper, followed by 20 minutes for discussion. Projectors will be available. You must bring your own laptop/computer for Powerpoint presentation. Presenters are free to distribute their own handouts, but must provide copies for the listen-ers. Some of the papers presented at the conference will be printed in subse-quent ESSSAT publications. Information on submission and selection will be given later. Presentation of a paper at the conference does not guarantee publication.

Scientific Programme Officer: Dr Sarah Lane Ritchie, E-mail:


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