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Top U.S. theologian Father Peter Phan to give Vance Lecture at OST

Faculty Portraits of Georgetown Theology Department

Oblate School of Theology has scored a major coup in bringing Father Peter C. Phan to give its 2017 Louis G. Vance Lecture in Systematic Theology Oct. 17 in the lecture’s third year.

Father John Markey, OP, associate professor of Theology, called Father Phan “one of the most significant theologians in the United States and in the global Church,” adding, “His coming is very prestigious for us and a sign of the commitment of the Vance Chair to bring the most important theological voices into the local conversation here.”

Father Phan’s topic in the free public lecture will be “Doing Ecclesiology in the Global Church.” He will discuss the concept of “World Christianity,” outlining the theology of the Catholic Church and exploring its mission, nature and ministry. His lecture will draw insights from Pope Francis and the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and seeks to respond to the most prominent challenges facing the Church today.

“Peter Phan is like the Rosetta Stone of theology. …He’s not just a major Catholic theologian; he’s a major theologian, period,” -Father John Markey, OP

The event will be held at OST’s Whitley Theological Center at 285 Oblate Drive at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

“Peter Phan is like the Rosetta Stone of theology. Every theologian in the global church has contact with him. He’s not just a major Catholic theologian; he’s a major theologian, period,” Father Markey said.

Father Phan brings the American church and culture to global conversations, and he brings many global perspectives into U.S. church conversations and Catholic theological conversations, Father Markey noted. A former president of the ecumenical Association of Theological Schools, he knows what is happening in a variety of other religious denominations and has served on global commissions and projects.

The Vietnam native is the Ignacio Ellacuria Professor of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He emigrated to the United States in 1975 and has earned three doctorates. Father Phan taught philosophy at age 18 at Don Bosco College in Hong Kong. He has taught at the University of Dallas, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Union Theological Seminary in New York, Elms College in Chicopee, Mass., and St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wisc. In 2001, Father Phan became the first non-Anglo elected president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. In 2010, he received the John Courtney Murray Award, the society’s highest honor for outstanding and distinguished achievement in theology.

Father Phan’s writings deal with the theology of icons in Orthodox churches, patristic theology, eschatology, and the history of mission in Asia. His books include Christianity with an Asian Face; In Our Own Tongues and Being Religious Interreligiously. His writings have been translated into Italian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Vietnamese.

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