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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Philosophy & Religion Programs

Lecture/Seminar

Dead Sea Scrolls: Determining Their Legitimacy

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

After supposed fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls purchased by wealthy evangelical collectors were discovered to be fake, questions about the methods and ethics involved in validating ancient textual fragments have divided scholars and institutions. Colette Loll, a leading art-fraud expert, explains new scientific protocols designed to restore confidence in the arcane world of authenticating textual artifacts and delves into how ideological biases affect the way collectors and experts view important religious materials.

Lecture/Seminar

Papal Avignon

Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

The first pope’s arrival in Avignon in 1309 changed both the papacy and this French city on the Rhône forever—and not always for the better. Charlie Steen, professor of history at the University of New Mexico, explores this alternative court and how lavish expenditure on art, architecture, and entertainment by popes created a hedonistic rather than a pious environment.

Lecture/Seminar

The Holy Sepulchre: Circles of Faith and Art

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET

Join Barbara Drake Boehm, the Paul and Jill Ruddock curator emerita of the Met Cloisters, to explore the remarkable Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the rhythms of history and intersecting circles of faith have given shape to an extraordinary artistic monument and a unique and vital place of worship worthy of close attention. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)

Lecture/Seminar

Mediterranean Exchanges: Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Alexandria

Wednesday, July 6, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Alexandria as key cities around the Mediterranean where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in rich and complex cultures during the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.

Lecture/Seminar

Western and Asian Religious Views of Humanity

Monday, July 11, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET

Charles Jones, a professor of religion at Catholic University of America, explores the differences in how Western and Asian religions embrace dissimilar concepts of humanity—and how that plays into specific problems of moral reasoning and ideas about human destiny with unexpected outcomes.

Lecture/Seminar

Mediterranean Exchanges: Cordoba, Venice, Cairo

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores Cordoba, Venice, and Cairo as key cities around the Mediterranean where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in rich and complex cultures during the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.

Lecture/Seminar

Mediterranean Exchanges: Toledo, Palermo, Granada, Istanbul

Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET

For thousands of years the Mediterranean Basin has nurtured creative and powerful cultures. Alice C. Hunsberger, a professor of Islamic culture, explores Toledo, Palermo, Granada, and Istanbul as key cities around the Mediterranean where the interplay of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam flourished in rich and complex cultures during the millennium between 500 and 1500 A.D.

Lecture/Seminar

The Mystical Core in Traditional Religions

Thursday, August 4, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Using sacred texts, music, art, and other forms of expression, Graham M. Schweig examines the meaning, role, and practice of mysticism. In the process, he discusses what mystical traditions reveal about the relationship between humans and the divine.

Lecture/Seminar

Great Gothic Cathedrals of the High Middle Ages: Awe, Wonder, and Imagination

Thursday, August 11, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Explore the fascinating connections between local medieval communities and the construction of great Gothic monuments to faith, believed to be the purest expression of shared life with historian Cheryl White. (World Art History Certificate elective, 1/2 credit)