Imagination Symposium: An Introduction

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

This pronouncement echoing around the globe on this day constitutes the core of the Christian gospel. And this is a gospel that not only informs our minds, takes root in our hearts, and impacts our lives; it transforms our imaginations. The Christian imagination is essentially a resurrection imagination, an imagination reshaped by the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.

But what is the imagination, and how is it connected with the Christian faith and life?

Although Transpositions bears the subtitle ‘Theology, Imagination, and the Arts,’ we have yet to explore the imagination in any formal way since launching the blog last year. As a result, we are excited to announce that this week we are hosting an Imagination Symposium, offering six perspectives on imagination and its influence on theology. Of course, there are a myriad of possible angles to approach the topic of imagination, but we intend to offer a range of views that open up vistas on this vast dimension of human experience and reflection, hopefully generating some fruitful conversations.

On Monday, David Brown, Professor of Theology, Aesthetics, and Culture at the University of St Andrews, will begin the Symposium by offering a historical perspective on the “Enlightened Imagination,” and questioning the divide between reason and imagination.

On Tuesday, Jim Watkins, PhD Candidate at the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts (ITIA) at the University of St Andrews and regular contributor for Transpositions, will explain how the “Metaphorical Imagination” is essential in the process of knowing and speaking about God.

On Wednesday, Danny Gabelman, also a PhD Candidate at ITIA, will introduce us to the “Whimsical Imagination,” that highlights the playful intermingling of different worlds as the “frolicsome cousin of memory.”

On Thursday, another PhD Candidate at ITIA, Samuel V. Adams, will present his perspective on the unsettling nature of the “Apocalyptic Imagination,” both in popular discourse and in the event of Jesus Christ.

On Friday, Trevor Hart, Professor of Divinity at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, will explore how Christian faith has at its core the “Eschatological Imagination,” an imagination of hope oriented toward the kingdom of God.

Finally, on Saturday Wesley Vander Lugt, PhD Candidate at ITIA and a regular contributor for Transpositions, will offer a perspective on the “Synthetic Imagination,” or how the imagination is used in drawing together disparate parts into a whole, or connecting the visible to the invisible, all for the purpose of faithful Christian living.

We look forward to your interaction throughout this Imagination Symposium, and remember that you can always subscribe to Transpositions through email, RSS, or Twitter if you would like notification of new posts.


  • Wesley Vander Lugt is the former editor of Transpositions. He earned his PhD at the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts (ITIA), where his research focused on the dynamic interplay between formation and performance in the theodrama. Currently, he is lead pastor at Warehouse 242 and Adjunct Professor in Christianity and the Arts at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC

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