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Paths to Spiritual Insight (Free)

Lancaster Public Library

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Lancaster, PA

Paths to Spiritual Insight (Free)

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Event Details

Thursday evenings

This week's program on Islam will be held in the Windolph Room on March 20 at 6pm.

Hinduism: Thursday, February 20, 2014   6-7:30pm

Jeffery D. Long is Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of religions from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of The Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (Scarecrow Press, 2011), Jainism: An Introduction (I.B. Tauris, 2009), A Vision for Hinduism (I.B. Tauris, 2007), and the forthcoming Indian Philosophy: An Introduction and Indian Philosophy: The Essential Readings (both from I.B. Tauris). He has also published a variety of articles on Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and religious pluralism.

Professor Long will discuss the major philosophical concepts and practices of Hinduism, with a particular focus on Vedanta (the central philosophy of modern Hinduism), Yoga, and the internal diversity of Hindu traditions.

Buddhism:   March 6, 2014  6:30pm-7:30pm

David L. McMahanis the Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin &Marshall College in Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in religious studiesfrom the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the editor of Buddhism in the Modern World (Routledge2012) and author of The Making ofBuddhist Modernism (Oxford, 2008), EmptyVision: Metaphor and Visionary Imagery in Mahāyāna Buddhism (RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), and a number of articles on Mahāyāna Buddhism in South Asia andBuddhism in the modern world. 

Professor McMahan will discuss some of the major ideas and practices of Buddhism, including the life of the Buddha, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the impact of Buddhism in the modern world, especially the recent spread of meditation practices across the globe.

Jainism and Sikhism:   March 13  Thursday 6-7:30pm

Jeffery D. Long is Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in the philosophy of religions from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of The Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (Scarecrow Press, 2011), Jainism: An Introduction (I.B. Tauris, 2009), A Vision for Hinduism (I.B. Tauris, 2007), and the forthcoming Indian Philosophy: An Introduction and Indian Philosophy: The Essential Readings (both from I.B. Tauris). He has also published a variety of articles on Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and religious pluralism.

Professor Long will present the central beliefs and a brief historical overview of two minority traditions of India–Jainism and Sikhism–which both have had an enormous impact upon Indian religiosity, despite their relatively small followings in comparison with the dominant Hindu tradition. Particular attention will be paid to the Jain philosophy of nonviolence and the Sikh ideal of religious harmony.

Islam:  March 20, 2014  6-7:30pm

Hoda A. Yousef is a historian of the Middle East and Islamic World and is an Assistant Professor at Franklin & Marshall College. She received her PhD in Middle East history from Georgetown University with a focus on cultural and social history and gender in society. She has published several articles on Egyptian education and early feminists movements in the Arab world. Currently, she is working on a manuscript entitled "Masters and Mistress of the Pen" on Arabic language literacy at the turn of the 20th century.

Professor Yousef will cover the life of Muhammad, the early Islamic community, as well as a historical overview of the cultural and religious features of Islamic civilization before the modern period. She will also address some the challenges posed by recent changes in the political and religious landscape of Muslim societies. 

Judaism:  March 27, 2014  6-7:30pm

Born in Brooklyn, Rabbi Jack Paskoff earned his BA (cum laude) in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandies University, and an MA in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Brooklyn. Rabbi Paskoff has been serving the congregation Shaarai Shomayim since 1993.

The history of Jews in Lancaster County begins before 1747 and the Jewish community continues to thrive today.  Our spiritual, social, cultural, and mercantile contributions to this area are well-documented and we continue to maintain a cordial and responsive relationship with the diverse religious communities here.  While a shared reverence for the sacred writings of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible/Christian Old Testament) generally keep the discourse respectful, different interpretations can keep the discussions lively!

Anabaptist Denominations:  April 3, 2014 6-7:30pm

Edsel Burdge, Jr. is Research Associate at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pa. He received an M.A. from Villanova University in History. He is co-author of Building on the Gospel Foundation: The Mennonites of Franklin County, Pennsylvania and Washington County, Maryland, 1730-1970, as well as articles and reviews in Mennonite Quarterly Review and  Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage.

Edsel Burdge will discuss the origins of Anabaptism in the Reformation of 16th. Century Europe, outlining its cardinal beliefs, and then paint in broad strokes its variegated expressions among present day Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites.

Mormonism:  April 10, 2014  6-7:30pm

Delbert Ellsworth holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and is Professor Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he also served as Chairman of the Psychology Department for eighteen years.  since retiring ten years ago, Dr. Ellsworth and his wife Mary Lou spent two years training teachers for the Mormon Schools in the Polynesian Islands of Tonga, a year and a half managing a student loan fund for Mormon college students in Chile, and a year and a half managing a dormitory and conference center in Washington, D.C., for interns from the Mormon Brigham Young University.

When the American colonists won their independence from England, they were uprooted from the Church of England.  The new republic was fertile soil for the growth of American religions, among them The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons.)  With converts from New York, Pennsylvania, and New England and a Utopian vision, it sought to establish "Zion" in Missouri (not a welcome place for New Englanders), then Illinois, and finally Utah, where it took deep root and branched out from there.  

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