Winter 2013: Sacred Dialogue

Interpreting and Embodying Sacred Texts Across Traditions

In the winter quarter, the 2012-2013 Bannan Institute will engage in an extended process of storytelling.  Lectures and events will explore the public significance of sacred texts from diverse contexts and traditions, including the Hebrew Bible, the Christian Scriptures, the Qur'an, the Bhagavata Purana, various Buddhist sutras, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This winter series will also highlight the multiple ways in which sacred texts make meaning in the public sphere, through narrative, critical analysis, illuminations, communal and personal interpretation, electronic media, proclamation, art, and interreligious engagement.

  • Creating a Culture of Care

    Creating a Culture of Care

    Hebrew Scripture and Jewish Tradition on Charity and Hospitality

    Judaism interprets Scripture at several distinct levels. Each tries to cultivate the religious and moral life of the individual within community—but in different ways and with different emphases. The presentation will illustrate this interplay.

  • Sacred Pixels I

    Sacred Pixels I

    Engaging Digital Spirituality

    This event will consider the following questions: What does religious and spiritual practice look like in social media networks and other digital spaces? How might digital practice be changing what we believe and how we practice our faith? Does the religious and spiritual information we share in social media communities form new “sacred texts”?

  • Sacred Pixels II

    Sacred Pixels II

    Sacred Games

    In this event, we will consider the following questions: What role does religious belief and practice play in popular online games and gaming communities? What elements of “the sacred” are part of gaming practices? How might gaming shape religious belief? Can games be “sacred texts”?

  • Creation and Chaos in Hindu Sacred Texts

    Creation and Chaos in Hindu Sacred Texts

    In this lecture, we will examine the interplay of creation and chaos in Hindu sacred texts and its implications for our own times.

  • Text and Pen

    Text and Pen

    The Legacy of Biblical Art and the Saint John's Bible

    In common with the Book of Kells and other biblical manuscripts, The Saint John's Bible brings the word of God to life on a page, and it speaks to a religious vision of the 21st century.

  • Sacred Pixels III

    Sacred Pixels III

    The Digital Canon and Distributed Faith

    This event will consider the following questions: How do distributed digital communities understand and negotiate religious and spiritual authority? How do they experience and authorize a common sense of “the sacred”? How does the wide distribution and adaptation of traditional sacred texts in digital spaces reshape their meaning and authority?

  • Visio Divina

    Visio Divina

    Reflecting on the Word through the Saint John’s Bible

    Each week, the group will gather with a simple lunch (vegetarian soup) and reflect together on Lenten scriptures, using illuminations from the Saint John's Bible.  Copies of illuminations from the Saint John's Bible will be provided for all participants.

  • Sacred Dialogues Across the Qur'an

    Sacred Dialogues Across the Qur'an

    During the period of revelation, believing men and women raised questions about the fairness of certain practices, and even about the way in which the Qur'an spoke about them. The fact that many of these concerns were addressed by the ongoing revelation is part of the Qur'anic message that needs to be better understood.

  • Contested Origins

    Contested Origins

    The Hindu Hymn of the Person, the Origin of the Caste System, and the Buddhist Responses

    This talk will examine not only this myth, but also a Buddhist response to this myth, found in the Agañña Sutta, an early Buddhist work that constitutes a Buddhist response to the Hindu myth, and provides a "counter-myth," or alternate myth for the origin of things.

  • Pearls, Prodigals, and Samaritans

    Pearls, Prodigals, and Samaritans

    Jesus' Parables as Jewish Stories

    Story telling is a basic form of human communication, and the parables of Jesus -- brief narratives designed to challenge, to indict, and to inspire, and to do so often in humorous or satirical ways -- are among the best examples.

  • Jewish Readings of the Christian New Testament

    Jewish Readings of the Christian New Testament

    Amy-Jill Levine will offer a workshop for clergy, secondary school teachers, elementary school teachers, bible study leaders, Sunday school instructors, scripture faculty, and religious educators on how to engage, teach, and proclaim the Christian Scriptures without bearing false witness against Judaism.

  • The Universal Declaration as Sacred Text

    The Universal Declaration as Sacred Text

    Reflections on the Religion of Human Rights

    Michael John Perry talks on the understanding that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) functions as a sacred text: the sacred foundational text of the religion of human rights.



Dialoguing with Sacred Texts
This exhibit brings together contemporary artists, working in a variety of media, to engage the unfolding dynamic of sacred texts.

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