The Scope and Limits of Aesthetic Reenchantment

with Gordon Graham (Princeton Theological Seminary, professor emeritus)

A study day organized by the Center for European Philosophy


Tuesday 5 November 2019, 14:00-18:30


University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, Room R.118, Rodestraat 10, 2000 Antwerp.

Description and program

This study day will compare and contrast a typically modern, secular form of enchantment, namely ‘aesthetic enchantment’, with the ‘religious enchantment’ that most disenchantment narratives have taken to be the authentic and more original form of enchantment. Special attention will be given to the extent to which the former succeeds in replacing the latter, and is thus able to avert ‘the revenge of the sacred in the secular’ (in Kolakowski’s words), the spiritual vacuum that is often held to be an inevitable result of the diminishing role and influence of religion in the modern world. The concluding discussion will focus on the scope and limits of the ‘aesthetic reenchantment of the world’, both as a convincing historical narrative and as a viable, perhaps even desirable, prospect for the future.

14:00-15:00 “Aesthetic Enchantment versus Religious Enchantment” (Introduction and preliminary exploration of the topic by Guido Vanheeswijck and Herbert De Vriese) 

15:15-16:30 “The Re-Enchantment of the World: Art versus Religion” (keynote lecture by Gordon Graham)

16:30-17:30 Soup & sandwich dinner 

17:30-18:30 “The Distinctive Potential of Aesthetic Reenchantment” (replies by research master students and plenary discussion)

Afterwards, are all welcome at prof. Graham's Antwerp Philosophy Lecture.

Practical information

No prior reading or preparation is required. All the study material will be provided in printed and electronic form at the start of the study day.

Participation fee: €15 (course material and catering included), to be paid in advance.

Registration: please write an e-mail to confirm your participation before Friday 1 November to

Course coordinators: Herbert De Vriese and Guido Vanheeswijck (University of Antwerp)

This study day is part of series of lectures and study days devoted to a critical analysis of philosophical discourse on reenchantment. For more information, follow this link.