Saturday, December 31, 2016

January and February Lecture and Discussion Schedule

Our History, Philosophy, & Theology Group will meet irregularly on Tuesday evenings this January and February.

Jan 10, Tues (7 pm): Jesus the Jewish Cynic. Academics in search of the historical Jesus have proposed many models from apocalyptic prophet to social reformer to religious zealot and revolutionary.  We’ll look at the case for seeing the historical Jesus as a teacher and philosopher analogous to the Hellenistic school of cynicism. 

Jan 17, Tues (7 pm): Manichaeism: The World Religion that Lost. In the first millennium AD, Manichees were spread from Britain to China and the dualistic religion was briefly a credible rival to Christianity in the later Roman Empire.  We’ll look at the religion’s origin, cosmology, its structure, its rise, its extinction, as well as surviving echoes of its thought in the East and in the West.

Jan 31, Tues (7 pm): Exploring the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. In our first seminar format discussion group, we will read passages from the gospel of Thomas together and talk about what its ideas might tell us about the historical Jesus, early Christianity, Gnosticism, theology, and philosophy.

Feb 7, Tues (7 pm): The Gospel According to Her: Luke. All the New Testament gospels are anonymous texts whose customary names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were assigned by later Christians.  We’ll examine the argument that the author of Luke was a woman. 

Feb 14, Tues (7 pm): Pagan Origins of Christian Holidays. Roman, Germanic, Celtic, and Norse paganism was deeply rooted in European customs, including holiday festivals.  We’ll spend this Valentine’s Day evening looking for possible pagan roots of our present-day traditions. Bring a date!

Feb 21, Tues (7 pm): To See, To Be, To Do: The Landscape of World Religions. Brian Carwana, director of the Encounter World Religions Centre and our guest lecturer for the evening, will take us on an overview tour of the variety of religious traditions around the world and here in Toronto.

Feb 28, Tues (7 pm): Myth in 19th Century America: The Book of Mormon. With the popular Broadway musical, the Book of Mormon has received renewed attention, but to 21st century ears, its central claim that the indigenous inhabitants of North America are descendants of Israelite refugees seems ever more outrageous.  We’ll put the Book of Mormon story into the context of America in the 1830s.  

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