From Mozart and Theology to the Virgin Mary and Mazu Cults: Two Lectures
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From Mozart and Theology to the Virgin Mary and Mazu Cults: Two Lectures

What does Mozart’s operatic work have to do with theology? How are the Virgin Mary and the ancient Mazu cults of Imperial China connected? Two upcoming lectures from the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University will explore the topics.

In the 2015 Catholicism and the Arts Lecture, “Mozart: Catholic Enlightenment in a Musical Key,” on Wednesday, October 28, Dr. Steffen Lösel, associate professor of systematic theology at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, will offer a theological entree to the operatic work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 

Dr. Lösel will focus on two of Mozart’s operas, Così fan tutte and Die Zauberflöte, as a contribution to philosophical and theological debates of his time. What does the proper functioning of human community require? As in all of his great operas, Mozart investigates these issues in these works, celebrating human love, a willingness to forgive, and mutual reconciliation—virtues which reflect his deep roots both in the European Enlightenment and in his Catholic faith. But these late operas also show a deeply critical side of Mozart.

Dr. Lösel has taught at the Candler School of Theology since 2002. He studied Protestant and Catholic theology at the University of Munich, the Washington Theological Consortium, and the Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät of the University of Tübingen, where he received his doctorate in theology in 1999. He is the author of Kreuzwege: Ein ökumenisches Gespräch mit Hans Urs von Balthasar, on the theology of the cross in the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar (Ferdinand Schöningh, 2001), as well as numerous articles. He is currently working on a theological commentary on the Johannine Epistles, and a book on theological dimensions of Mozart’s late operas.



‌‌On Wednesday, November 4, Dr. Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History at The Pennsylvania State University, will speak on “Elective Affinities and Conversion: The Virgin Mary and Mazu Cults in Late Imperial China.”

Dr. Hsia’s research haRonnie Hsias focused on the history of the Protestant Reformation, Catholic Renewal, anti-Semitism, and the encounter between Europe and Asia. He is the author of A Jesuit in the Forbidden City: Matteo Ricci 1552-1610 (Oxford University Press, 2010), Noble Patronage and Jesuit Missions: Maria Theresia von Fugger-Wellenburg (1690-1762) and Jesuit Missionaries in China and Vietnam (Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 2006) and The World of Catholic Renewal, 1540-1770 (Cambridge University Press, 1998). He is currently working on a book tentatively titled Translating Christianity: China and the Catholic Missions 1584-1780—a study of the history of cultural encounter between Counter-Reformation Europe and the Ming and Qing empires.

Dr. Hsia received his doctorate and master’s degrees from Yale University. He was born and educated in Hong Kong, and has had extensive research experiences in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Austria, and Italy.

Both lectures will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Dolan School of Business Dining Room, and are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Michelle Ross, Visit to find out more about the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University.

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Last modified: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 15:45:45 EDT

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