Dr. Craver Presents Paper at Oxford Symposium

August 21, 2017

Picture of Dr. Ben Craver
Dr. Ben Craver, Assistant Executive Director of the San Antonio Campus and Professor of Religion and Philosophy.

SAN ANTONIO -- Wayland Baptist University Assistant Executive Director of the San Antonio Campus and Professor of Religion and Philosophy Dr. Ben Craver, presented a paper at the prestigious Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom on Aug. 3.

“I was invited to submit a proposal and thought, ‘Why not?’ I’ll admit that I was totally blown away when they accepted it and invited me to present it at the Symposium,” Craver said.

The title of Craver’s paper is, “Who are you? Origen on Personal Identity and Post-Resurrection Life.” Some scholars believe Origen to be the first systematic theologian in the church. Using Origen’s theological-philosophical constructs, Craver asks how it is that a resurrected body might be numerically identical to the corporeal body of a person who has died?

“My paper takes into account Origen’s father, Leonides, who suffered martyrdom for his faith during the persecution of the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus in 202, when Origen was around seventeen years of age,” he noted. “How will Origen be able to identify his beloved, martyred father as one of the incorporeal souls rehabilitated from dust? A larger question is, how will any of us know another in the afterlife?”

Craver explained that the paper fuses Origen’s thinking with the work of the philosopher Saul Kripke (Naming and Necessity). Kripke’s concept of “rigid designators” identifies persons and tracks them across possible worlds, which would make it feasible for Leonides’ physical body to be identical to his spiritual body in the heavenly world.

“Was I nervous? Absolutely!” he said. “Frankly, it was astounding for a country boy from Princeton, Texas, to be invited to the University of Oxford and present a paper! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”