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Religion


Religion



KENDAL PROJECT, THE: A SPIRITUAL REVOLUTION?

Between October 2000 and June 2002, a University of Lancaster study of the population of Kendal, a town near the Lakes District in the UK, revealed some fascinating trends in modern society's approach to, and practice of, religion and spirituality. Known as the Kendal Project, the study looked at the prevalence of regular congregational church attendance compared with the popularity of spirituality in the holistic domain. This program explores the scope and methodology of the Kendal Project, its findings and conclusions about modern society, religion and spirituality, and examines implications and explanations of changing trends. We hear reflections from a range of people, including University of Lancaster academics involved in the Kendal project, a member of the clergy, and a modern day practising witch.

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DVD / 2012 / 23 minutes

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EVIL AND SUFFERING: A RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE

This program discusses the concepts of evil and suffering in relation to the existence of God. It attempts to resolve the theological and philosophical dilemma of the inconsistent triad and gives some possible explanations of evil and suffering in the face of an omnipotent, omni-benevolent and omniscient God. This topic is discussed by a range of specialists and academics who explain how the existence of God and suffering can coexist, with reference to the theodicies of St Augustine and Irenaeus. Contains some mildly disturbing imagery that you may wish to prepare younger students for before showing.

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DVD / 2011 / 21 minutes

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SACRAMENTS, THE

This informative program defines what a sacrament is, examines what the seven sacraments are, and explores what they mean for Christians today. It focuses on each sacrament individually and explains how they affect the life of a Christian. This topic is discussed by a range of specialists, academics and Christians who describe what the sacraments are and how they are followed, giving detail behind the meaning and symbolism of each one. The last chapter focuses on anointing the sick and provides views on life after death that you may wish to prepare younger students for before showing.

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DVD / 2011 / 23 minutes

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RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY

Radical Islam is attacking democracy today. The Christian World for the most part is democratic today. Students will learn how religions have helped and hindered the paths to democracy in the past and how they help or hinder that path today.

The program traces the early history of how both religion and democracy began in tribal societies on all continents. It stresses the importance of enduring ideas of western civilization that first arose in Greece, in Rome and in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Program explains how these ideas were profoundly modified in the western world's Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment and why this history is so important today


DVD / 2009 / 57 minutes

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GREAT RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD

Major belief systems, their origins, and modern influences are examined. Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism are investigated.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1) Students will be introduced to the origins of religious beliefs in the civilizations of antiquity.
2) Differences between ethnic religions and universalizing religions will be explained.
3) How each of the universalizing religions developed from an ethnic base and expanded past national boundaries will be shown.


DVD / 2004 / (Grades 6-12) / 33 minutes

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RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN AMERICA

In America there are a variety of cultures that are defined by many different religions. Discover the elements of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Take this opportunity to learn about these beliefs and the systems that guide them.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1) Students will learn about belief systems including pluralism, polytheism, monotheism and exclusivism.
2) Students will learn general concepts that may be applied to religion as a whole
3) Students will be introduced to several religions including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism.


DVD / 2004 / 24 minutes

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CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM, THE

Introduces Jews, Christians, Muslims as the worlds monotheists who share the same God; each religion tracing its spiritual origins to Abraham through its sacred writings. A glimpse of what it means to be Jewish, Christian or Muslim and an exploration of the colorful and often tragic relationships among the three groups.

DVD / 1999 / (Senior High) / 30 minutes

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COVENANT AND REALITY

Examines the accordance with the ideals of each religion. The episode asks why it remains so difficult for people of faith to live up to their own ideals. Religions may appear to be standing in the way of enlightened human development, but they are also powerful agents for change.

DVD / 1999 / (Senior High) / 30 minutes

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ARE INTERPRETATIONS TRUE?

Asks how it is possible for us to interpret and understand each other. Is there a true or correct way of interpreting the meaning of what people say or write? Explores the views of Schleiermacher, Gadamer and Wittgenstein on language and meaning.

DVD (Closed Captioned) / 1998 / 30 minutes

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CAN RULES DEFINE MORALITY?

Addresses formalist theories of ethics, particularly that of Immanuel Kant, and explores the implications of his views in relation to ethical issues.

DVD (Closed Captioned) / 1998 / 30 minutes

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DOES GOD EXIST?

Delves into how philosophers have probed the universe for evidence of God's existence. How did the world begin? Is there a reason for its order and design? And, can we reconcile the existence of God with the existence of evil?

DVD (Closed Captioned) / 1998 / 30 minutes

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IS ETHICS BASED ON VIRTUE?

Explores Aristotle's and other ancient views of virtue and the good life, as well as contemporary virtue ethics with its focus on emotions, personal relationships, character, and long-term values.

DVD (Closed Captioned) / 1998 / 30 minutes

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GOD DOES NOT PLAY DICE - ALBERT & MILEVA EINSTEIN

In 1905, the young and unknown Albert Einstein, a third class clerk in a Swiss Patent office, made his most revolutionary of scientific discoveries. He underwent an intense intellectual and spiritual transformation as he worried about his real place in the world, as he obsessed with trying to figure out how the Universe really worked, Einstein struggled night and day to produce the four papers that revolutionized Modern Physics, including the Theory of Relativity. But who was really behind the Einstein genius and who transformed the then arrogant and tunnel-visioned young man into one of the most expansive thinking and humanitarian spirits known to Civilization?

Some say it was his first wife and scientific collaborator, Mileva, despite their rocky marriage, who was the real brains behind Albert's work as well as the impetus that turned him into the pillar of human wisdom and social enlightenment he was to become. Perhaps it was the self-taught janitor who visited the couple after hours. The janitor entered their lives at a crucial time. What kinds of conversations would the socially-distant twenty-something Einstein have had with a gregarious, semi-literate, yet very common sense janitor who talked about life, science and relationships with the 'respectful rebel' scientist and his wife? He made them face themselves and appeared to influence whether they stayed together, or destroyed themselves and each other.

Albert Einstein (1879 íV1955) was a German-Swiss-Austrian-American theoretical physicist who made great advances in science. He is one of the most well known scientists of the twentieth century. He is most famous for his theory of relativity, development work with quantum mechanics, cosmology and statistical mechanics. His achievements include the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.


DVD / 60 minutes

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BUDDHISM

Taught by Malcolm David Eckel

Buddhism challenges some of the most important Western ideas about God, human life, and the self.

In Buddhism there is no single almighty God who created the world. Instead, Buddhism teaches that all of life is "suffering" and there is no permanent self.

And it teaches that in accepting that all life is suffering, bliss can be achieved in this life.

Professor Malcolm David Eckel is winner of Boston University's highest honor, the Metcalf Award for Teaching Excellence. He has spent most of his adult life studying Buddhism in Asia and North America, and shares his insights about this endlessly fascinating faith in this vital series.

"An Excellent Study in the Basics of Buddhism"

Buddhism's core philosophy that nothing is permanent-all is change-has made it an astonishingly lively and adaptable religion. Buddhism has transformed the civilizations of India and much of Asia, and has now become a vital part of Western culture.

According to Professor Eckel, nothing conveys the spirit of Buddhism better than the image of the seated Buddha-stable, focused, and serene in the face of tumultuous change.

In this course you study:
  • the Buddhist idea that there is no single almighty God who created the world, that all of life is "suffering" (while not necessarily being pessimistic), and that there is no permanent self
  • the life story of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama
  • the Buddha's teaching, or Dharma
  • the development of his Samgha, or community of disciples
  • key Buddhist terms such as nirvana, tantra, mandala, bodhisattva, and Zen
  • the lives of well-known Buddhist personalities such as the Dalai Lama
  • Buddhist responses to some of the fundamental problems of human life.

    According to Readers Preference Reviews, " Buddhism' is an excellent study in the basics of Buddhism. While it can easily take a lifetime to gain a complete understanding of the nuances of Buddhism, Professor Eckel provides a solid foundation."

    Buddhism: A Tiny Community That Now Spans the Globe

    These lectures survey Buddhism from its origin in India in the 6th or 5th centuries B.C.E. to the present day. During its 2,500-year history, Buddhism has grown from a tiny religious community in northern India into a movement that now spans the globe.

    Buddhism has shaped the development of civilization in India and Southeast Asia; significantly influenced the civilizations of China, Tibet, Korea, and Japan; and has become a major part of the multi-religious world in Europe and North America.

    "Although Buddhism plays the role of a 'religion' in many cultures, it challenges some of our most basic assumptions about religion," says Dr. Eckel. "Buddhists do not worship a God who created and sustains the world. They revere the memory of a human being, Siddhartha Gautama, who found a way to be free from suffering and bring the cycle of rebirth to an end. For Buddhists, this release from suffering constitutes the ultimate goal of human life."

    "The Awakened One"

    Born as Siddhartha Gautama in a princely family in northern India about 566 B.C.E., the man who is known as the "Buddha," or the "Awakened One," left his family's palace and took up the life of an Indian ascetic. After years of difficult struggle, he sat down under a tree and "woke up" to the cause of suffering and to its final cessation.

    He then wandered the roads of India, preaching his Dharma, or "teaching"; gathering a group of disciples; and establishing a pattern of discipline that became the foundation of the Buddhist community, or Samgha.

    The Buddha helped his disciples analyze the causes of suffering and chart their own path to nirvana. Finally, after a long teaching career, he died and passed gently from the cycle of death and rebirth, or reincarnation, in which Buddhists believe.

    The community's attention then shifted from the Buddha himself to the teachings and moral principles embodied in his Dharma. Monks gathered to recite his teaching and produced a canon of Buddhist scripture, while disputes in the early community paved the way for the diversity and complexity of later Buddhist schools.

    Theravada, Mahayana, Tantra, and Philosopher Kings

    The Buddhist king Asoka, who reigned from about 268 to 239 B.C.E., sent the first Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka. From this missionary effort grew the Theravada Buddhism ("tradition of the elders") that now dominates all the Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia with the exception of Vietnam.

    Asoka also left behind the Buddhist concept of a "righteous king" who gives political expression to Buddhist values. This ideal has been embodied in recent times by King Mongkut in Thailand and Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent resistance to military repression in Burma.

    Two major new movements radically transformed the Indian tradition.

  • The first was known as the Mahayana ("Great Vehicle"). The Mahayana preached the ideal of the bodhisattva who postpones nirvana to help others escape the cycle of rebirth.
  • The second was Tantra or the Vajrayana ("Diamond Vehicle"). Tantra developed a vivid and emotionally powerful method to achieve liberation in this life.

    Buddhism entered Tibet in the 7th century and established itself as a powerful combination of Indian monasticism and Tantric practice. Tibetan Buddhism eventually developed four major schools, including the Geluk School of the Dalai Lama. Today, the 14th Dalai Lama carries Buddhist teaching around the world.

    Buddhism in China, Japan, and throughout the World Today

    You learn how Buddhism entered China in the 2nd century when many Chinese were disillusioned with traditional Confucian values. To bridge the gap between the cultures of India and China, Buddhist translators borrowed Taoist vocabulary to express Buddhist ideas.

    Professor Eckel shows how Buddhism became distinctively Chinese in character: more respectful of duties to the family and the ancestors, more pragmatic and this-worldly, and more consistent with traditional Chinese respect for harmony with nature. During the T'ang Dynasty (618-907), Buddhism was expressed in a series of brilliant Chinese schools, including the Ch'an School of meditation that came to be known in Japan as Zen. From China, Buddhism spread to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

    Buddhism entered Japan in the 6th century and was quickly allied with the power of the Japanese state. Buddhist Tantra was given distinctive Japanese expression in the Shingon School, and the Tendai School brought the sophisticated study of Chinese Buddhism to the imperial court.

    During the Kamakura period (1192-1333), Japan suffered wide social and political unrest. Convinced that they were living in a "degenerate age," the brilliant reformers Honen (1133-1212), Shinran (1173-1262), and Nichiren (1222-1282) brought a powerful new vision of Buddhism to the masses. In the Kamakura period a series of charismatic Zen masters gave new life to the ancient tradition of Buddhist meditation.

    Today, Buddhism reaches most of the world, including Europe, Australia, and the Americas. And, with this course, its history, insights, and perhaps its profound peaceful influence may reach you.

    (12 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    2 DVDs / 360 minutes

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    CHRISTIANITY

    Taught by Luke Timothy Johnson

    As the world's largest religion, with over two billion members, Christianity is "one of religion's great success stories," notes Professor Luke Timothy Johnson, himself a former Benedictine monk.

    But Christianity is more than large and popular-it is extremely complex and often highly contradictory.

    Christianity's Central Creeds: Difficult to Fathom

    Uniquely, Christianity asserts that its central figure, Jesus Christ, was not only a man but also God. The central elements of its creed-that there are three persons in one God, for example-are often difficult to accept or even fathom.

    It emphasizes belief rather than law and ritual practice. And it is highly susceptible to paradox:

  • Bearing a message of peace and unity, it has often been a source of conflict and division.
  • Proclaiming a heavenly kingdom, it has often been deeply involved with human politics.
  • Rejecting worldly wisdom, it has claimed the intellectual allegiance of great minds.

    These apparent contradictions arise from the complex character of Christianity's claims about God, the world, and above all, Jesus of Nazareth, whose death and resurrection form the heart of the good news proclaimed by this religious tradition.

    "The lectures concentrate on the basics," says Professor Johnson. "They seek to provide a clear survey of the most important elements of this religious tradition and a framework for the student's further study."

    In his course, you will consider fundamental issues including:

  • Christianity's birth and expansion across the Mediterranean world
  • the development of its doctrine
  • its transformation after Christianity became the imperial religion of Rome
  • its many and deep connections to Western culture
  • the tensions within Christianity today.

    Discover a Great World Religion

    This course introduces Christianity as a world religion. The obvious first questions to ask are: "What is a religion?" and "What is a world religion?"

    Religion can be defined as "a way of life organized around experiences and convictions concerning ultimate power."

    A world religion is one whose experience and convictions succeed in organizing a way of life beyond local, ethnic, or national boundaries.

    By any measure, Christianity must be considered one of the world religions because:
  • it claims more adherents than any other religion and is the dominant tradition among many diverse populations
  • it has 2,000 years of history, making it younger than Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but older than Islam
  • it is complex both in terms of its internal development and in terms of its engagement with culture
  • it is remarkably various in its manifestations, existing not only in three distinct groupings (Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant), but in thousands of specific styles
  • most of the world operates on a dating system that revolves around the birth of Jesus: B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini).

    Beginning as a sect of Judaism in an obscure province of the Roman Empire in the 1st century C.E., it became the official religion of the Empire by the 4th century, dominated the cultural life of Europe for much of its history, and now counts more than two billion adherents throughout the world.

    Although Christianity's influence has declined in Europe and North America, it continues to grow worldwide. In the First World, Christian fundamentalism struggles with modernity. Yet, in the 21st century, Christianity is poised for a possible renaissance in the developing nations, where millions of new followers are drawn to its central and powerful claim: the resurrection of Christ.

    Various Manifestations of Christianity

    Professor Johnson's synthetic approach provides first an overview of the Christian story (how it understands history from creation to new creation-and the relation of Scripture to that history), and the Christian creed (what Christians believe about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the church).

    He explains Christian practice as expressed, in turn, by the structure of the community and its sacraments, by the struggles of Christians to find a coherent and consistent moral teaching, and by various manifestations of Christianity's more radical edge in martyrs, monks, mendicants, missionaries, and mystics.

    Professor Johnson's lectures also deal with internal and external conflicts:

  • The first of these is the division of Christianity into three great families: Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant.
  • The second is the centuries-long struggle to find an appropriate role within the political structures of society.
  • The third is Christianity's past and present engagement with culture and the life of the mind, with particular emphasis on the impact of the Enlightenment.

    Christianity's Distinctive Character and Its Future Possibilities

    At the end, students will have a grasp of:
  • Christianity's distinctive character
  • the major turning points in its history
  • its most important shared beliefs and practices
  • its sharp internal divisions
  • its struggles to adapt to changing circumstances
  • Christianity's continuing appeal to many of the world's peoples.

    Harold McFarland, Editor of Midwest Book Review, writes about this course: "If you want a good understanding of Christianity from a historical perspective-where it came from, where it is going, how its doctrines have come about and how they have changed, this is one of the best places to acquire that knowledge."

    (12 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    2 DVDs / 360 minutes

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    HINDUISM

    Taught by Mark W. Muesse

    Terms we associate with Hinduism-"Hinduism," "religion," and "India"-are all Western creations, notions that for most of history did not accurately reflect the thinking of those who practice this most ancient of the great faiths.

    In fact, one of the primary themes of Professor Mark W. Muesse's lectures is the difficulty of studying Hinduism without imposing Western perceptions upon it.

    In Hinduism you will find a religion that is perhaps the most diverse of all, that worships more gods and goddesses than any other, and which rejects the notion that there is one path to the divine.

    A Window into All Religions

    These lectures provide a window into the roots of not only this religion, but perhaps all religions. You will explore over the course of Hinduism's 5,000-year journey:

  • the Indus Valley civilization
  • the huge variety of Hindu gods and goddess
  • the sacred writings in the Vedas, the Bhagavad-gita and the Upanishads ritual purity rites
  • the Aryan language of Sanskrit, whose roots can be seen in such English words as "divine," "video," and "ignite."

    The story of Hinduism is the story of very un-Western traditions-arranged marriages and the caste system-that have survived and thrived for thousands of years; and of a wealth of gods, terms, and practices-karma, Krishna, yoga, guru-that have found a home in Western lives and language.

    The course also explains that Hinduism rejects the notion that there is one path to the divine, and at its best, it honors all seekers after the truth.

    Understand the Oldest Religion

    Hinduism is the world's oldest living religious tradition, with roots deep in the early cultures of India. These ancient cultures, the most important of which were the Indus Valley civilization and the Aryan society, combined to create a highly diverse family of religions and philosophies.

    The series moves chronologically through the history of Hinduism, from its earliest precursors through its classical manifestations to its responses to modernity. Along the way, Dr. Muesse discusses salient aspects of Hindu life and places them in historical and theological context.

    The journey begins with an examination of the early cultures that most significantly shaped the development of Hinduism.

  • Dr. Muesse makes a brief visit to the indigenous culture of northern India, the Indus Valley civilization, before introducing the migration of the Aryans from Central Asia.
  • Hinduism received from the Aryans its most sacred and authoritative scripture, the Veda , which is explored in detail.
  • After the "Vedic" period, classical Hinduism developed. During the classical period, Hinduism generated many of its basic ideas and practices, including the notions of transmigration of the soul, reincarnation, and karma. Major social arrangements were established in Hindu culture during its classical phase.
  • The classic phase strongly influences the present day. Social stratification and gender relations greatly affect the nature of spiritual life for all Hindus. Professor Muesse discusses the caste system, and the different life patterns for men and women.

    The Way of Action; The Way of Wisdom; The Way of Devotion

    Hinduism is religiously and philosophically diverse. It affirms not only the multiplicity of the divine but also the multiplicity of paths to divine reality. Different people require different spiritualities. Dr. Muesse outlines:

  • The "way of action," the spiritual discipline pursued by the vast majority of Hindus, aims to improve an individual's future lives through meritorious deeds (according to the Hindu belief of reincarnation). The series looks at several varieties of such action, including ritual, festival, and pilgrimage.
  • The "way of wisdom" is a much less traversed pathway to ultimate salvation. It is demanding and rigorous. Gaining wisdom means to understand the unity of the soul and ultimate reality and to live one's life accordingly.
  • The "way of devotion," or bhakti, is oriented toward faith in a personal deity of choice. It is a widely traversed road to god among Hindus. Your introduction to bhakti practice comes through one of the most important and beloved Hindu texts, the Bhagavad-gita, a wondrous story of a warrior's dilemma and the counsel of the god Krishna which has been a treasure trove of spiritual enrichment for Hindus for centuries.

    These are different paths that involve very different conceptions of the divine reality, and Dr. Muesse explains how such divergent views can coexist within the Hindu tradition.

    He also explores the functions of images in Hindu worship and how Hinduism can be both monotheistic and polytheistic.

    You also learn about devotion to the Goddess and her many manifestations in the Hindu pantheon, and investigate some of the theory and practice of Tantra, a yogic discipline associated with the Goddess.

    Hinduism in the Modern Era

    Modern Hinduism faces challenges from Islam and from Western culture.

    The great theological differences between Hinduism and Islam have formed the basis for tense relationships between Hindus and Muslims, frequently erupting into outright violence.

    Dr. Muesse describes the British Raj and the Indian independence movement led by Gandhi, includes examples of Hindu missions to the West, and discusses the tensions between Hinduism and modernity.

    (12 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    2 DVDs / 360 minutes

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    JUDAISM

    Taught by Isaiah M. Gafni

    What is the "essence" of Judaism? Is it the Ten Commandments, given by God to Israel at Mount Sinai? Or is it the totality of teachings in the Hebrew Bible? Or is it symbolized by something outside the Bible?

    However Judaism is defined, the beliefs, practices, attitudes, and institutions of Jews through the ages display a striking diversity, despite the fact that all would ascribe to a common heritage.

    Professor Isaiah M. Gafni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem addresses these and other issues as he explores the ever-changing 4,000-year-old saga of Judaism, one of the world's most ancient and influential religions.

    More Than a Faith

    Indeed, as Professor Gafni points out, Judaism is something more than a religion. Christianity and Islam are faiths, or "systems of beliefs," that embrace diverse communities and ethnic groups throughout the world. Although Judaism also adheres to particular beliefs and practices, many Jews would nevertheless consider the designation of Judaism as a "religion" as a far too narrow or confining categorization.

    Where Does the Term Judaism Come From?

    Consider the origin of the term Judaism:

  • In the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament, what came to be called Judaism is practiced by a people that are referred to as the nation of Israel.
  • The Israelites believed their destiny was linked to a faith in God and to God's promise to give a particular land to the offspring of Israel's founding patriarch, Abraham, who lived around 1800 B.C.E.
  • Abraham had a son Isaac, who had a son Jacob, who had a son Judah.
  • King David, a descendant of the tribe of Judah, founded a dynasty that would rule over Israel for four centuries. The kingdom would ultimately go by the name of Judah.
  • The term Judaism appears for the first time in the Second Book of Maccabees, composed 1,700 years after Abraham, as the designation of a way of life maintained by those people linked to the land of "Judaea" (the Roman term).

    Hence, from the beginning, Judaism meant a people defined by a place as well as an ethnic and religious heritage.

    Judaism From Within

    Throughout this course, you will study Judaism from within-as it was understood by its adherents in the past and by those who practice or identify with Judaism today.

    The lectures cover the critical stages of Jewish history; the centrality of such books as the Torah, Talmud, Midrash, and Mishna; and the manner in which the Jewish calendar and Jewish law, or Halakha, define daily life.

    The course also illustrates how Judaism reinvented itself by embracing the rabbinical tradition after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and considers the thinking of such philosophers as Philo of Alexandria and Moses Maimonides, a 12th-century C.E. scholar whom Professor Gafni calls "the star of this series."

    The final lecture turns to the issue of how Judaism deals with the outside world. How does it handle converts to Judaism? How does it manage its dual but potentially conflicting missions: to be true to itself as a people chosen by God, and to be a spiritual example to the world, a "light unto the nations"?

    Digging Deeper Into Judaism

    These are some of the issues you will encounter:

  • Among many Jews today the Hebrew Bible is known by the Hebrew acronym Tanakh, which is composed of the initial Hebrew letters for the three component parts of the Bible. The first part is the Torah (or five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch); the second is Nevi'im (Hebrew for "prophets"); the third is Ketuvim (Hebrew for "scriptures").
  • Judaism's calendar is arguably the most important unifying factor in what is otherwise a frequently fragmented religious community. The key to the calendar is that it is both lunar and solar. Months are defined by the period from one new to moon to the next, while the year is adjusted with periodic "leap months" to keep it in concord with the seasons.
  • Judaism has no dogma or creed in the Christian sense. The most famous attempt at formulating a set of principles was made by the philosopher Maimonides, replying to a convert's request with this 13-point list:

    1.The existence of God.
    2.God's unity.
    3.God has no corporeal aspect.
    4.God is eternal.
    5.God alone (and no intermediaries) should be worshipped.
    6.Belief in prophecy.
    7.Moses was the greatest of prophets.
    8.All of the Torah in our possession is divine and was given through Moses.
    9.The Torah will not be changed or superseded.
    10.God knows the actions of man.
    11.God rewards those who keep the Torah and punishes those who transgress it.
    12.Belief that the Messiah will come.
    13.Belief in the resurrection of the dead.

  • Even the most zealously practiced Judaism of today is radically different from the biblical representation of that very same tradition. Why? The break came with the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 1st century C.E. In the aftermath, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai created an alternative system based on a spiritual, decentralized, mobile leadership, without priests or a temple, and focused on prayer instead of animal sacrifice.

  • The idea of a messiah has wielded enormous influence on much of Jewish history. The nature of this belief has been constantly in flux-from a restorative notion that envisioned a return to the old glory of Israel to a utopian image that encompassed all nations and pictured a total revision of the laws of nature, where animals that are natural enemies would become friendly neighbors.

    (12 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)


    2 DVDs / 360 minutes

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    SPIRITUAL BRAIN, THE: SCIENCE AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

    By Andrew Newberg

    Does God exist? Do we have a soul? Is it possible to make contact with a spiritual realm? How should we respond to the divine? Will life ...

    The religious impulse is so powerfully pervasive that neuroscience has posed a provocative question: Are our brains wired to worship? In The Spiritual Brain: Science and Religious Experience, award-winning scholar and practicing neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Newberg, Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, offers you 24 riveting lectures that explore the new and exciting field of neurotheology, a discipline aimed at understanding the connections between our brains and different kinds of religious phenomena. Using an academic, experimental approach into what he calls "objective measures of spirituality," Dr. Newberg attempts to explain what others have previously only guessed at: the neuroscientific basis for why religion and spirituality have played such a prominent role in human life.


    4 DVDs / 720 minutes

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