School of Divinity

Scottish Network for Religion and Literature

Conversations, talks, panel discussions and book launches organised by the School of Divinity’s new Scottish Network for Religion and Literature.

All welcome. For enquiries, please contact Dr Alison Jack:

Semester 2: Spring 2023

Date Speakers Topic

Monday 24 January

1-2pm, Baillie Room

Dr Halszka Leleń (University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn)

Sanctity as a Story: Literary-Studies Perspectives on Narrative Patterns

Further Information

Wednesday 8 March

4:10-5:30pm, Elizabeth Templeton Lecture Theatre

Prof Erik Tonning (University of Bergen and Visiting Fellow at the School of Divinity)

Biography: Erik Tonning, DPhil (Oxon) is Professor of English in NLA University College, Norway, and Professor II in English in the University of Bergen, Norway, as well as an Honorary Fellow of the School of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Modernism and Christianity (2014).

Title: ‘Modernism, Nominalism, and the Hidden God in Samuel Beckett, Wallace Stevens, and David Jones’

Abstract: The idea that human language is an inherently inadequate instrument for grasping reality—that its concepts and metaphors represent mere anthropomorphic projections—is widespread in modernist literature. While the ‘radical nominalism’ of this position has been recognised, this lecture argues that a fuller genealogical understanding of its theological roots in medieval nominalism is needed to highlight the ways in which modernist writers like Samuel Beckett and Wallace Stevens still wrestle with a voluntarist God of absolute and arbitrary power. This genealogical perspective also situates modernist radical nominalism as historically founded upon controversial theological choices, thus challenging its self-understanding as the inevitable end-product of a process of post-anthropomorphic, post-theological disenchantment. By contrast, for a writer like David Jones, the historical choice of nominalism amounts to a theological mistake, and the task of the modern artist is to rediscover a God who consecrates and redeems the human capacity for sign-making.

A joint seminar with Theology and Ethics. 

Monday 13 March

5:45pm, Elizabeth Templeton Lecture Theatre

Chitra Ramaswamy, Dr Hannah Holtschneider and Moira McDonald

Chitra Ramaswamy in conversation about Homelands: The History of a Friendship

A joint event  with the Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society

Further Information