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St. John’s College opens its doors to the public with Community Seminars
St. John’s College Community Seminars are special opportunities for community members to read and discuss seminal works in the same unique manner as St. John’s students. Seminars are discussion-based and small in size in order to ensure spirited dialogue. There are topics to pique every interest, and for many participants the discussion-based learning model is an entirely new experience.
Full-time teachers with proof of current employment can enroll in a Community Seminar at a 50 % discount. Community Seminars are free to 11th and 12th grade high school students (limited spaces available). For more information or to register, please call 505-984-6117.
Rumi, Masnavi-ye Ma’navi
Tutor: Michael Wolfe
Dates/Times: Four Consecutive Saturdays: September 8 - September 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Seminar participants will read all of Book I of Rumi’s Masnavi-ye Ma’navi, or “spiritual couplets,” which was begun in 1262 AD and is thought to be the longest single-authored “mystical” poem ever written. Jalaluddin Rumi was a poet and mystic of the highest attainment, but he was first and foremost a spiritual teacher. Rumi draws on a vast range of sources, from fables to stories from daily life and religious tradition, to compose a remarkable text, which is a ladder to the spiritual world.
Fortunate Fall? Exploring John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Tutor: Gregory Schneider
Dates/Times: Six Consecutive Wednesdays: October 10 - November 14, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
John Milton’s blank verse masterpiece, Paradise Lost, announces in its opening that it will “justify the ways of God to men.” Springing from just a few lines from the Book of Genesis, the poem puts forth a much expanded version of the relationship between Adam and Eve and their cursed choice to eat from the forbidden tree of the Garden. As it unfolds, Milton offers a portrayal that attempts to justify the God who put humans in the place to make that choice. Along the way, we meet a captivating Satan, hear of the story of the rebellious angels, and see the unique ways that Adam and Eve each respond to their predicament. Over six sessions, this seminar will explore this complicated story, often considered the greatest epic poem in the English language.
Tutor: Ken Wolfe
Dates/Times: Five Consecutive Tuesdays: October 2 – October 30, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Seminar participants will study a collection of rabbinic stories selected from the Talmud. The rabbis told stories about law, piety, sin and suffering, the relation of Jews to Gentiles, and important events in Jewish history, such as the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the revolt of Bar Kokhba.
Tutor: Topi Heikkerö
Dates/Times: Four Consecutive Saturdays: October 20 - November 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
Plutarch, best known for his biographies of important Greek and Roman men, was a skillful essayist, too. Seminar participants will read a selection of his essays, including “On Listening” and “How to Distinguish a Flatterer from a Friend.”
If Rousseau were a Woman: Women Thinkers’ Points of View
Tutor: Michael Bybee
Dates/Times: Six Consecutive Wednesdays: September 12 - October 24, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Arguably, the great minds of Occidental philosophy were predominantly male, almost universally unmarried, and without child-rearing responsibilities. One might wonder whether the major doctrines in Western philosophy, history, and literature seem plausible only to this class of individuals. What if we were to look at these themes from the point of view of their female counterparts? What insights into the human condition would we find? This seminar will examine society through the thoughts and writings of some of the foremost female minds of past and present, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and Alice Walker.