Biennial Congress, Prague, 2018


“Image, Phenomenon, and Imagination in the Phenomenology of Religious Experience”

The Society for Phenomenology of Religious Experience (SOPHERE) Biennial Congress, Prague, 2018

Dates: November 2, Friday, to November 4, Sunday, 2018

Hosted by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague

Venue: Prague, Narodni 3, the Czech Academy of Sciences (main building)

Keynote speakers:

Hans Rainer Sepp, Charles University, Prague

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawaii at Manoa


Presidential address:

Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, Jesuit School of Theology and UC Davis, USA


Conference director:

Martin Nitsche, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague


The 1st Biennial Congress of the Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience invites submission of papers dedicated to the phenomenologically determined themes of imagination, image-consciousness, appearance and the non-apparent, phenomenological ontology, and genetic phenomenology, with regard to religious experience. We further invite innovative philosophical and theological reflections on image, imagination, and creativity in religious experiencing, as well as reflections on a reverse problem of how religious experience contributes to the above mentioned faculties examined in the psychological horizon. The topics will be discussed in following perspectives:


  1. Methods in Phenomenological Research

– Applicability of phenomenological methods to study religious experience in general.

– Applicability of phenomenological methods to study images of religious experience and its imaginative aspects in particular.

– Imagination and the embodied nature of religious experience.

– Philosophy and phenomenological research of religious experience


  1. Phenomenological Ontology and Metaphysics

– Can phenomenology capture the non-apparent?

– What is the relationship between phenomenality and religious experiencing?

– How do we think relationship between phenomenality, intentionality, and visible light?

– What are the modes of givenness in religious experiencing?

– How does religious experiencing transcend (or not) intentionality?

– Is there a religious experiencing sans the “moral emotions”?

– What is the relationship between religious experience, certainty, and truth?

– How do the questions of phenomenological manifold and unification manifest in regard for religious experiencing?


  1. History of Phenomenology:

– Phenomenological accounts of image and imagination in the work of phenomenological scholars (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, etc.).


  1. Phenomenological Psychology

– Imagination, fantasies, and dreams in religion and religious experience.

– Images in spiritual praxis.

– Imagination and the altered states of consciousness.

– Spatiality and other cognitive aspects of religious imagery.


  1. Phenomenological Theology

– Connection between images and the concepts of Divine.

– Imagination in pastoral praxis.

– Theological importance of sacred images.


  1. Phenomenological aspects of Image in Religious studies

– Relation to images and/or imagination in different religions and religiosities.

– Comparative iconography (also with regard to language).

– Images and imagination in mythopoetics, or history of religion.


  1. Phenomenology and Philosophy of Religion

– Picture theory of meaning.

– Phenomenological ontology of “Imago Dei”.

– Visual vs. symbolic consciousness in generation of religious concepts.

– Phenomenology of symbolic forms.

– Phenomenology of relations between image and language in religious contexts.


  1. Theory of Images

– Image and representation – related to religion and religious experience.

– Pictorial turn – related to religion and religious experience.

– Synesthesia in religious experience (tactility of images).

– Apparent and unapparent in phenomenology of religious experience.


  1. Theory of Art

– Different kinds of images: film, photography, painting, sculpture, performance – related to religion and religious experience.

– Contemporary religious art.


  1. Media Theory

– Image as medium of religious experience.

– Communicological virtues of religious image.


  1. Politics of Images

– Political dimensions of image and imagination in religion and religious experience

– Religion and images of holocaust.

– Social phenomenology of religious image.

– “We-intentionality” and religious visuality.


  1. Ethics

– Ethical dimensions of image and imagination in religion and religious experience.

– Image and healthcare.

– Image and hope.

– Religious transformation in the images of good and evil.


We welcome paper proposals related to the main theme of the conference, but not necessarily bound by the topics listed above. Session proposals with at least three presentations are also welcome.


Propositions have to be written in English.

Please submit an abstract of approximately 250 words. To be considered all presentation proposals should be anonymized and must include a cover sheet with name, paper title, affiliation, five key words, and full contact information including email. For more information, see our website

Session proposals must include abstracts of at least three presentations, a clear title of the session, a name of its chair, and a short description of the session.


Abstracts should be sent to:

Deadline for submitting presentation proposals: June 10 2018

Deadline for submitting session proposals: June 3 2018

Notification of acceptance: until June 30 2018


Selected papers from the conference will be invited for publication in the topical issue of Open Theology, De Gruyter, “Phenomenology of Religious Experience III”, planned for 2019.




Please share.