Skip to main content

Gratitude: Love, Power, and Indebtedness

Both Islamic and Christian traditions emphasise the importance of divine gift-giving and gratitude (Ar. shukr) as the appropriate human response. Theological literature, however, has tended to focus on the divine action rather than the human response. As a result, relatively little has been written about the theology of gratitude and its role in the religious life.

This is the second of three international workshops funded by the Issachar Fund, in which leading scholars examine the concept of gratitude from Christian and Muslim theological and philosophical perspectives.


Day 1: Wednesday, 28 August 2019

6pm: Opening evening lecture followed by drinks reception (Niebuhr Hall)

Robert A. Emmons (UC Davis), ‘Gratitude: A Virtue as Vast as Life Itself?’

8pm: Dinner for workshop participants (provided by Sanctuary Kitchen)


Day 2: Thursday, 29 August 2019

9.15am: Opening remarks, Mona Siddiqui (SG-58)

9.30am: Keynote address: Martin Nguyen (Fairfield University), ‘Islam and the Wielding of Gratitude: From Divine Orientations to the Structures of the Social.’

11am: Coffee break

11.30am: Session 1 (S-151)

  • Linn Tonstad (Yale University), ‘Gratitude, Debt, and Life’
  • Atif Khalil (University of Lethbridge), ‘Gratitude toward the Other in Islamic Contemplative Ethics’

1pm: Lunch (provided by Sanctuary Kitchen)

2pm: Session 2

  • Wisam Abdul Jabbar (University of Alberta), ‘The Averroesean Pedagogy of Disagreement: On Gratitude in Islamic Education and Epistemology.’
  • Joshua Ralston (University of Edinburgh), ‘Gratitude as Debt’

3.30pm: Reflections and discussion on day one, Ryan McAnnally-Linz (Yale University)

4pm: Adjourn

6.30pm: Presentation by Sanctuary Kitchen

7.30pm: Dinner (provided by Sanctuary Kitchen)


Day 3: Friday, 30 August 2019

9.30am: Keynote address (SG-58): Peter Leithart (Theopolis Institute), ‘Saying Thanks at the Checkout Counter: Gratitude in a Money Economy’

11am: Coffee break

11:30am: Session 3 (S-151)

  • Elena Dini (Pontificia Università Gregoriana), ‘Gratitude to God and Consequences in Our Human Relationships: A Catholic Perspective’
  • Abdul-Rehman Malik (Yale University), ‘Praise be to God for my Repression: Shukr as a Form of Resistance and Dissent’

1pm: Lunch (provided by Sanctuary Kitchen)

2pm: Session 4

  • Michael Trice (Seattle University), ‘Cruelty, Generosity and Religica’

3pm: Reflections and discussion on day two, Miroslav Volf (Yale University)

4pm: End of Workshop


Gratitude project

Issachar Fund

Yale Divinity School