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New centre will fight nihilism

THE new Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham is to be opened formally next week by a papal envoy, the Rt Revd Donal Murray of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Bishop Murray's involvement, says the Vatican, expresses "the strong support and interest of the Holy See for this enterprise". The purpose of the centre, whose director is an Anglican, Professor John Milbank, is to challenge "the contemporary nihilism that is plaguing both the academy and indeed the general populace".

Professor Milbank, who was previously a Reader in Philosophical Theology at the University of Cambridge, and now teaches at the University of Virginia, is one of the leading figures in the Radical Orthodoxy movement.

The opening ceremony will take place at the centre's first conference on 1-2 September. The organisers say that the conference, which focuses on phenomenology and transcendence, has attracted more than 100 scholars from 18 countries, representing a wide range of theological standpoints. Participants come from institutions such as the Sorbonne and the Evangelical Wheaton College in the United States.

The centre's first Fellows are the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Robin Eames, Archbishop Javier Martinez of Granada, and the Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna. Its members include more than 30 professors of theology and philosophy.

Two series of books by Christian scholars associated with the centre are also under way. The centre's assistant director, Dr Conor Cunningham, said last week that its financial backing reflects the intellectual breadth of its audience. Funds have come from the British Academy, the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in the US, and a leading City recruitment agency.

For details about the centre, contact conor.cunningam@nottingham.ac.uk.

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