Sacred Texts In a 21st-Century World: A Comparison of Three Religious Traditions

PLEASE NOTE: Effective January 6, 2022 this course is being moved to online delivery in compliance with UC Davis COVID protocols.

Sacred texts and writings lie at the foundations of religion. Their stories and precepts have served as timeless guides to faith and life from their inceptions to the present day. Some contain what appear to be universal truths applicable to human nature and relationships in any age and society. Others may be obscure and confusing. Still others contain depictions of discord, cruelty and ruthlessness that offer neither solace nor comfort nor constructive lessons for life in our time and place. This course aims to bridge the gap between ancient texts and contemporary life in three ancient religious traditions born in the Near East, which continue to be revered and practiced today—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Three groups of scholars and religious leaders will be featured as guest speakers in an introduction to the interpretation and application of sacred texts from these religious traditions in our own time. The instructor and guest speakers hope their efforts will contribute to greater interreligious understanding, appreciation and dialog.

There will be four two-hour sessions in the following sequence:

First Session: Sacred Texts in Christianity – Rev. Dr. Daniel R. Smith, Pastor of Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, Davis, M.Div., Pacific Theological Seminary, Ph.D. Graduate Theological Union, Adjunct Professor, Graduate Theological Union and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Second Session: Sacred Texts in Islam – Mairaj Syed, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Director, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program, UC-Davis Department of Religious Studies

Third Session: Sacred Texts in Judaism – Eva Mroczek, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Director of Jewish Studies, and Chancellor’s Fellow, and Seth Sanders, Professor of Religious Studies, Guggenheim Fellow. Both are from the from the UC-Davis Department of Religious Studies.

Fourth Session: Closing discussion led by course coordinator and participating guest speakers.

This course is organized and coordinated by Tony J. Tanke, Attorney At Law, Davis, J.D. University of Minnesota, LL.M. Cambridge University, OLLI Instructor in Holocaust, Israel-Palestine Studies, and Legal Subjects

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