Addressed to the City of Hartford.
The woman Babylon in the Book of Revelation has had more than her share of violence, both in the Christian Bible, as well as in the scholarly writings about her text. Having the name, “Babylon,” she is automatically negatively perceived before one gets a chance to know her. Yet the woman Babylon is so much more than her name. She is so much more than a female-gendered metaphor for a city - representing the Roman Empire - that will be overturned by God’s Empire. She just may be more akin to us than we would ever dare to imagine. By reading the woman Babylon’s text from a postcolonial womanist perspective, the Reverend Dr. Shanell T. Smith will highlight the woman Babylon’s simultaneous ambivalent identification as a “brothel slavewoman” and as an “empress/imperial city.” She will then discuss how the woman Babylon incites tension within her because she reflects ever so sharply her continual conflicting reality of being simultaneously a victim of, and participant in, empire. Certainly, by the looks of Hartford, she is not alone.
A discussion between Mahmoud Ayoub, author of “A Muslim View of Christianity,” and Thomas F. Michel, author of “A Christian View of Islam.” The two longtime colleagues will share a dialogue about their respective books and the subject matter of how Christians view Islam and how Muslims view Christianity. Topics to be covered range from the need for dialogue, approaches to interreligious dialogue, Muslims and Christians in history, Muslim-Christian dialogue in the modern period, critical issues in Christian and Muslim theology, holiness in Christianity and Islam, and the Bible, the Qur'an and ecology.
The history of the relationship between Sunnism and Shi’ism goes back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad. This long history will be surveyed with the goal of facilitating better understanding of the present day relations between Sunnism and Shi ‘ism. There also will be an account of the manipulation for political interests of Sunni-Shi’ite differences by forces both internal and external to the Islamic world. Finally, with consideration of both accord and discord that exists in different areas between Sunnism and Shi’ism, attention will be paid to the future of this relationship and the impact it is likely to have within the Islamic world itself and in its relation to the West.
The Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture, named after the first director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, brings a distinguished scholar to campus for a public presentation on Islam or Christian-Muslim relations to promote interreligious understanding and mutual respect in the local, national and world communities.
Seyyed Hossain Nasr is University Professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Nasr was born in Tehran, Iran in a family of educators and scholars. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied physics and mathematics, and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in the history of science and philosophy with specialization in Islamic cosmology and science. From 1958 to 1979, he was a professor at Tehran University and for several years the dean of the Faculty of Letters and the vice chancellor of the University. He also served as president of Aryamehr University in Iran. In 1964-65, Dr. Nasr was the first Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. In 1979 Dr. Nasr migrated to the United States where he became Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Utah, then Professor of Islamic Studies at Temple University. In 1984, he joined the faculty at George Washington University.
Dr. Nasr has lectured widely throughout the United States, Western Europe, most of the Islamic world, India, Australia and Japan. He has given several major lectures such as the Azad Memorial Lecture in India, the Iqbal Lecture in Pakistan, the Charles Strong Memorial Lecture in Australia, the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the Cadbury Lectures at Birmingham University in England. Dr. Nasr is the author of more than fifty books and more than 500 articles.
Nov 28th, 2012 by hartsem
One of the most intriguing and challenging puzzles of the recent revolution in Syria is the stance of the Syrian minorities, in general, and the Syrian Christians, in specific. Many observers fail to perceive the exact kernel of the Christians’ view on the struggle in Syria, and they wonder why Christians seem to be completely silent and hardly participating in the revolution’s events. In this lecture, Dr. Najeeb Awad will attempt to show that the Christians are neither silent nor indifferent to the Syrian Spring, and will shed light on the real essence of the Christians’ stance on the Syrian revolution. He will discuss how the Christians’ main concern is the question of the country’s future. The lecture will explain the Christians’ serious concerns, if not their fears, about the future of interreligious relationships in the country, and why they think that a serious dialogue between the minorities and the Sunni majority in the country over the future of the Syrian state and society may not actually take place or be possible.
Najib Award joined the faculty at Hartford Seminary in August, as Associate Professor of Christian Theology. Born in Lattakia, Syria, he is the first Syrian Protestant Arab systematic theologian. Previously he was Lecturer in Systematic and Contextual/Intercultural Theology in the Intercultural Theology program of Göttingen University in Germany. He also was a Visiting Fellow for a year at Yale Divinity School in 2008-2009. Awad has a Bachelor of Arts from the Near East School of Theology, Beirut Lebanon, and a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from King’s College, London. He is the author of three books: “God without a Face? On the Personal Individuation of the Holy Spirit”; “God, Man and Evil: A Theologico-Existential Study”; and “The Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Matthew: A Historico-Narrative Criticism” Most recently he finished writing a contextual theology manuscript on the Arab Spring and the role of Arab Christians in the future of the Near East.
Nov 21st, 2012 by hartsem
This talk presents an analysis of how Hinduism began with an abstract concept of the One Supreme Being and ended embracing a large number of gods and goddesses. It argues that this concept is fundamental and is still preserved, worship of multiple deities notwithstanding.
Dr. Amrutur Venkatachar “Sheenu” Srinivasan is an engineering and management consultant who has deep interests in religion and politics. He served two terms on the Glastonbury, CT, Town Council and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Connecticut Innovations. In 1979, he helped found the Connecticut Valley Hindu Temple Society in Middletown, CT. He has functioned as a Hindu priest for four decades, performing a wide variety of Hindu religious ceremonies of worship, weddings, housewarmings, and bhajans or kirtans. His publication, “The Vedic Wedding: Origins, Tradition and Practice,” won the USA Book News 2007 Best Book Award in the category of Eastern Religions. In 2011, he published “Hinduism for Dummies.” A popular writer and speaker, Srinivasan has presented numerous papers on a variety of cultural, social and religious issues in the United States and India
Nearly two-thirds of the billions of dollars spent in this year's Presidential campaign purchase television advertising. Anticipating the growth of broadcast and cable media, Marshall McLuhan famously observed, "the medium is the message." If money is the medium in political life, what is the message? Debates about the Supreme Court's "Citizen's United" decision often focus on the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption. While those are real concerns, the deeper message may be the inexorable erosion of civic life as money and markets penetrate every part of life. Dr. Rion's lecture will examine the full range of dangers to our common life from unbridled political spending and consider whether there are ways to counter them.
The Carew/Purdy Lecture is an endowed lectureship named after Joseph and Eliza Carew of South Hadley, MA, who made a donation in 1873 for a special lectureship, and Dr. Alexander Purdy, a Hartford Seminary Professor of New Testament from 1923 to 1960 and Dean from 1954 to 1960. It brings a leading scholar to offer Christian perspective on thought and life.
Dr. Michael Rion served as President of Hartford Seminary from 1983-1989 and recently retired after more than two decades as an independent business ethics consultant. He is recognized nationally for his pioneering work in ethics training that successfully bridges the gap between theory and practice. He has worked on organizational ethics with major corporations and non profit organizations for over 30 years. He holds a Ph.D. in religious social ethics from Yale University and is the author of The Responsible Manager: Practical Strategies of Ethical Decision Making and Everyday Ethics: Putting Values into Action.
May 25th, 2012 by hartsem
Ned Lamont is Founder and Chairman of Lamont Digital Systems, a privately held company which provide telecommunications services to over one million college students on 250 college campuses. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT, a significant promotion having previously taught at Yale School of Management, Harvard Institute of Politics, and Harding High in Bridgeport, CT.
Ned was the Democratic candidate of US Senate from Connecticut in 2006, winning the primary against incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman and then losing to him in the general election. There is no rubber match planned. He was also a candidate for Governor in 2010, albeit briefly.
Ned serves on the Board of Mercy Corp, a $400million NGO which focuses on economic development and entrepreneurship in the Middle East. He is also on the board of Conservation Services Group, the nation’s largest residential energy efficiency company as well as The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Ned’s wife Annie is a partner at Oak Investment Partners, where she specializes in financial services and health information technology. She continues to be very active at Stanford University, where their daughter Lindsay is a Junior. Emily graduated from Harvard and is an associate at Marwood, and Teddy is a Senior at Brunswick High school in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Concerns about the relationship of Islam to liberalism have dominated Western discussion of Islam ever since the events of 9/11. Many Western democracies, often in the name of the need to preserve a liberal order, have taken steps, implicitly or explicitly, to limit the freedoms of Muslims. Part of the reason that such measures have been taken is the assumption that Islam is so thoroughly and irredeemably opposed to a liberal public order that ordinary assumptions about religious freedom should not apply to Islam or Muslims. In this lecture, Professor Fadel will try to discuss why this idea of Islamic "exceptionalism" is deeply flawed, subversive of liberalism itself, and ironically, likely to bring about the very theological dangers that such measures are intended to forestall.
Visiting Scholar Dr. Mohammad Ali Shomali, author, academic and religious leader. He is a graduate of the Islamic Seminaries of Qom and has also both a BA and an MA in Western Philosophy from the University of Tehran. He has earned his Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Manchester.
Islamic ethical reasoning involves bringing together information, values and principles in the context of real human needs. The complexity of ethical reasoning requires the ethicist to be able to manage a great deal of information of varying importance as well as conflicting norms. Many scholars have stressed the importance of reason in Islam. Umar Abd-Allah, in his short paper “Living Islam with Purpose” says “The authority of reason forms the foundation of Islamic theological and legal thought.” Ibrahim Kalin explores the topic on a deeper level in his “Reason and Rationality in the Qur’an” where he argues that reason is by itself “neither a principle nor ground of knowledge, truth and rationality because our epistemic encounter with the world takes place in a wider context of relations and significance.” This context is the metaphysics of creation. In this lecture, Mattson will explore the way in which imagination, as a mode of thinking, relates to and forms an essential part of the reasoning process. Human imagination is both limiting and freeing as we contemplate the reality of the world in which we live and which we would like to see improved.