Mysticism Poster

49th Annual Fall Academy of Religion Begins September 13

Lecture series at The College of Wooster to study “Mysticism: Beyond the World of Illusory Differences”

5 September, 2017 by Sarah Stanley

WOOSTER, Ohio — The 49th annual Fall Academy of Religion at The College of Wooster will study "Mysticism: Beyond the World of Illusory Differences" every Wednesday night starting Sept. 13 and running through Oct. 18. The lecture series, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.) from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Mysticism is a highly-contested phenomenon in the academic world for there is not a universal definition. Contrasts also exist between European Protestant cultures and Asian cultures in describing what mysticism is. In this lecture series, a variety of mystical traditions will be discussed. Charles Kammer, the James F. Lincoln Professor of Religious Studies at Wooster, describes the series as "discovering both their similarities and their differences and perhaps discover(ing) a pointer beyond the polarization and divisions which have created our world of intolerance and violence."

The series begins on Sept. 13 when Kammer presents "Morality and Mysticism." The following week (Sept. 20), Dheepa Sundaram, assistant professor of religious studies at Wooster, will discuss "Language of the Sacred: Poets, Saints, and Mystics in Indian Religious Traditions."

On Sept. 27, the topic will be "The Mystical-Magical Facet of Sacred Text and Holy Language in Kabbalah," featuring Rabbi Haim Rechnitzer, associate professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew Union College. The fourth lecture will take place on Oct. 4 with Daniel Bourne, professor of English at Wooster, addressing "Inside the Red Wheelbarrow: A Reverie on Image and Mysticism in American Poetic Tradition."

One week later (Oct. 11), the topic will be "Body, Soul and Spirit in the Islamic Mystical Tradition," presented by Zeki Saritoprak, professor of Islamic studies at John Carroll University. The series will then conclude on Oct. 18 with Mary Suydam, professor emerita of religious studies at Kenyon College, discussing "From Joyful Exuberance to Disciplined Meditation and Back: Christian Mysticism Then and Now."

Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2473) or email.