This month we will meet on Tuesdays, March 6th and 20th, from 1-3 pm in the library.
This month we will conclude our Great Courses lecture series, Sacred Texts of the World. Our first meeting, we’ll begin by discovering the Baha’i faith, which began in 1862 when Baha’u’llah (1817-1892) announced in Baghdad that he was the prophetic fulfillment of Babism, a 19th-century offshoot of Shia Islam. Baha’is believe in the oneness of God, the oneness of religions, and the oneness of humanity. The huge Baha’i canon teaches that the fundamental purpose of religion is to promote concord and harmony, that it must go hand-in-hand with science, and that it constitutes the sole and ultimate basis of a peaceful, ordered and progressive society. Next, we’ll look at the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Mayan Popul Vuh, two sacred texts which still exist today but are no longer connected to any contemporary faith communities.
We begin our final meeting in this course with Professor Hardy asking the question: “If it is really true that sacred texts are defined less by their specific content than by the role they play in the lives of believers, is it possible to have writings that are basically secular in nature yet are treated as if they were scripture?”. He and we will examine the Constitution of the United States in regards to this question. To conclude, Prof. Hardy will begin by recommending some readings for each of the major religious traditions we’ve studied. And finally, we’ll discuss how reading world scripture can helps us better understand the lives of others and perhaps even provide greater insight into our own intellectual and spiritual commitments.
It has been a true joy sharing these world religions studies and it is with great gratitude toward all of you that I leave you to continue on on your own. – Glory Bowen. For more information, contact Lessie Culmer-Nier, 973-593-0114.