There is Still Time to Register for St. John’s College Community Seminars

Editor | - January 8, 2013

"There are topics to pique every interest..."

From a Saint John's College press release...

Community Seminars are special opportunities for community members to read and discuss seminal works in the same unique manner as our students. Seminars are discussion-based and small in size in order to ensure spirited dialogue. There are topics to pique every interest, and for many participants the discussion-based learning model is an entirely new experience. Please call 505-984-6117 to register for any of the seminars.

Full-time teachers with proof of current employment can enroll in a Community Seminar at a 50-percent discount. Community Seminars are free to 11th and 12th grade high school students (limited spaces available). Gift certificates available. Please note: If you receive a notice indicating that your desired seminar is full, please contact 505-984-6117 to be placed on the waiting list.

Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel | Tutor: David McDonald
Wednesdays, January 30 – March 6, 2013, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m, $210

In his prologue to Gargantua and Pantagruel—a book of thirsty giants —Rabelais hints that there is a secret meaning to his work, a secret meaning which will make us braver and wiser. What follows is a funny book of boozing, wordplay, mockery and ribaldry. We will read the first three volumes of the book and try to find the secret of Rabelais. Even if we do not become more brave and more wise, we will probably laugh. Readings will average about 65 pages in length per week.

Icelandic Sagas and Tales | Tutor: Julie Reahard
Tuesdays, January 15 – February 19, 2013, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m., $210

A source of inspiration to authors as diverse as J.R.R. Tolkien and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., the Icelandic sagas describe the life of Icelanders in the Viking age (around 1000 A.D.). Though constructed centuries after the events occurred, the sagas provide a detailed account of Viking life. In reading Egil’s Saga, the Laxdaela Saga, Hrafnkel’s Saga, The Saga of the Greenlanders, Erik the Red’s Saga and a selection of Icelandic tales, we shall encounter a blend of fact and fantasy, extraordinary heroes and ordinary lives.

Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi, Divine FlashesTutor: Michael Wolfe
Saturdays, March 23 – April 13, 2013, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., $140

Love where you may, you will have loved Him; turn your face whatever way, it turns toward Him – even if you know it not.
Sufis and scholars of Sufism have often wondered if Sufism’s two greatest masters, Rumi and Ibn al-‘Arabi, ever met. They probably didn’t. Nonetheless, their lineages are united in the person of Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi. ‘Iraqi knew and studied under Rumi; he was also a disciple of Ibn al- Arabi’s adopted son and successor. Inspired to bring these two Sufi schools together, he wrote the "Divine Flashes," a book that expresses Ibn al- ‘Arabi’s startling metaphysical insights in ecstatic Persian poetry reminiscent of the poetry of Rumi.

Rousseau’s Discourse on the Sciences and the ArtsTutor: Topi Heikkerö
Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., $35

In 1749 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) participated in an essay competition organized by the Academy of Dijon. The academy had put forth the question whether the development of the arts and sciences had improved public morals. Rousseau’s submission, "Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts " (published in 1750, also known as the "First Discourse"), somewhat surprisingly argued that the arts and sciences have corroded both civic virtue and individual moral character. Rousseau won the first prize and was made famous. "Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts" begins the trajectory of Rousseau’s thought, one main theme of which is the tension between the inherently good human nature and society.

George Eliot’s Scenes of a Clerical LifeTutor: Arcelia Rodriguez
Wednesdays, April 10 – April 24, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. $105

Published in 1858, a time of religious reform and upheaval during Queen Victoria's reign, "Scenes of a Clerical Life" was George Eliot's first work of fiction. The three novellas of the book, " The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton," "Mr. Gilfil's Love Story," and "Janet's Repentance," are about the life that unfolds around Shepperton Church in the fictional English village of Milby. These stories, hopefully, will be an occasion to reflect on the questions and problems that arise in rapidly changing times, of which the most important of these might be how we should confront and adapt to a world that seems to be quickly leaving us behind.