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Siegal Lifelong Learning

Religion + Philosophy

Religion + Philosophy

Mondays, March 20-May 8 | 10:30 a.m.-noon


Joe KonenLeader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


This book offers us a vehicle for a nuanced understanding of Islam. Carla Power, a Western reporter who grew up in several predominantly Muslim countries, writes of her dialogues with prominent India-born and now London-based Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. The dialogue enlightens us on a nonviolent understanding of Islam. The sheik shows us how he distinguishes between culture and politics on the one hand and religion and spirituality on the other. Book: Carla Power (2015), If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran


South Franklin Circle | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >



Wednesdays, March 22–April 19 | 1:30–3:30 p.m.

Kristen Tobey, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, John Carroll University


This course investigates the rich religious history and contemporary religious demographics of the region we now call Ohio, which has served as an incubator for several well-known religious groups and significant religious modes. The timeline of the course will stretch from the ancient mound-builders into present day, though much of our material will come from the 19th century. During that century, Ohio was an important site for a number of religious groups including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church), the Shakers, the Quakers, and the Amish. Also, during the 19th century, several Protestant groups developed and refined their proselytization styles in Ohio, and Cleveland was home to one of the largest Catholic populations in the United States, inspiring (false) rumors that the Pope intended to establish another Vatican in the area. 

The College Club of Cleveland | Members: $115; Nonmembers: $135 | REGISTER >


Thursdays, March 23-May 11 | 10:30 a.m.-noon


Ted Smith, Leader-Teacher, Off-Campus Studies


Between mid-400 AD to mid-600 AD, Ireland practiced a unique type of Christianity. After the fall of Rome there was no central authority directing the practice of religion, no official date as to when Easter was to be observed each year, etc. The Irish embraced Christianity (without bloodshed) while still upholding their Druidic traditions. Irish men and women were both priests and bishops alike. Humanity was seen as fundamentally good, an integral part of God’s creation. All of this was contrary to the writings of Augustine of Hippo, that men were born into sin, adopted as the official positions of Christendom. The Synod of Whitby in 664 AD favored the disciple Peter as the rock of the church as opposed to the disciple John, remembered as “listening for the heartbeat of God”. What would Christianity be like today if the Synod had decided differently?  Book: Listening for the Heartbeat of God, A Celtic Spirituality, The Reverend Dr. J. Philip Newell 


Hamlet Village | Members: $82; Nonmembers: $97 | REGISTER >


Tuesdays, May 2-23 | 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Ezra Blaustein, Lecturer in Lifelong Learning, CWRU


A little over a hundred years ago, an enormous cache of documents (called a geniza) was found in a Cairo synagogue. This discovery, known as the "Cairo Geniza," provides a window into Jewish life in Egypt and across the southern Mediterranean rim in the 10th through 13th centuries, giving us unparalleled access to the private, commercial, and intellectual lives of the Jews. This course will survey family and communal structures, it will look at the Jewish participation in trade with India and other destinations, and it will examine the intellectual achievements of Jewish leaders such as Maimonides.

Landmark Centre | Members: $60; Nonmembers: $75 | REGISTER >