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“God” in the Great Monotheistic Tradition
March 18, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, repeating until March 25, 2020
A three-week study taught by Dr. Len Bowman. A crucial first step in understanding different religious traditions is to address the question, “What is the ultimate or divine in this tradition, and how does that sacredness or holiness affect the lives and spirituality of adherents to the tradition?” This course addresses that crucial question in relation to the great monotheistic or Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Each session will begin with a brief (20 – 30 minutes) presentation on what is divine or ultimate in the particular tradition(s) addressed that week. The presentation will be followed by open discussion.
- Week 1 (March 11): After a cursory look at Basic Concepts (religious language, Scriptures and their interpretation), we will explore the development of the understanding of God in the Hebrew Scriptures, probing its complexity and ambiguities.
- Week 2: (March 18): We’ll briefly review the Hebrew perspective and then see how the Christian community built upon that tradition to develop an understanding of God even more puzzling and more dynamic. We will focus primarily on the canonical gospels.
- Week 3: (March 25): We will ponder how Islam understands God primarily through the “names of God” distilled from the Qur’an, revealing profound complexity beneath striking simplicity. Then we will follow the mystical current of Islam, Sufism, to its ultimate realization of the shahadah-“There is no god but God.”
Dr. Len Bowman’s undergraduate major is philosophy. He holds an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Detroit, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from Fordham University. Dr. Bowman taught undergraduate and graduate courses in philosophy, religion and literature for over forty years. He has published three books and edited a fourth and has published many journal articles. He served as Vice President for Academic Affairs in three institutions, including the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Among his teachers are Ewert Cousins, William Richardson, Thomas Berry, Wilfred Cantwell Smith, and Huston Smith. Dr. Bowman currently teaches in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Johns Hopkins University. Len is a member of the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware.