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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Philosophy & Religion Programs

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

The story of Jerusalem is the tale of how science, politics, and religion meet in its shadowy subterranean spaces. Journalist Andrew Lawler traces that buried history as he discusses the early explorers who navigated sewage-filled passages; follows the European, American, and Israeli archaeologists who made stunning discoveries beneath the city; and explores how these finds became essential elements in the battle to control the Holy City.

Saturday, January 22, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Humans are obviously part of the animal kingdom in many important ways, and yet they exhibit features and activities that set them apart from other species. Philosophy professor Michael Gorman leads a fascinating exploration into the nature of what makes us uniquely human, touching on topics including consciousness, free will, morality, and the duality of body and soul.

Friday, February 4, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

From the late Middle Ages to the early Renaissance, the Book of Hours, filled with groups of prayers designed for use by lay people, was more in demand than the Bible itself. Roger S. Wieck, Melvin R. Seiden curator and department head of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Morgan Library and Museum, explores the textual and pictorial riches to be found within the pages of these fascinating books. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Friday, February 18, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Vatican Museums in Vatican City comprise 26 public art museums housing about 70,000 world-famous paintings and sculpture. Art historian Elizabeth Lev explores the origins of the world's first truly modern museum through the lives and times of three remarkable popes: Julius II, a visionary; Pius VI, a financier; and Pius XI, a savvy communicator. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Saturday, February 26, 2022 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Biblical scholar and historian Gary Rendsburg presents a fascinating survey of aspects of the Jewish diaspora from the ancient and medieval periods, tracing the histories of communities in Egypt, Babylonia, Russia, Arabia, Italy, and Spain.

Monday, February 28, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Historian Janna Bianchini explores the roots of the Spanish Inquisition: fears of heresy, the drive to crusade, and the political strategems of Spain’s rulers, Ferdinand and Isabella.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Despite prejudice, prosecution, and political setbacks, nothing could force out the Jews of Kazimierz—a district of Krakow in Poland established in the 14th century. For centuries, they built their lives here, gaining religious and other freedoms along the way—until the Holocaust. Author and tour guide Christopher Skutela surveys the district’s rich history, its sites, and its significance.

Friday, March 18, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Join art historian Elaine Ruffolo as she explores the influence of the powerful Medici family, especially their golden age and legacy in Florence. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)