Title:  Understanding World Views:  A study group


DISCRIPTION:  The purpose of this class is to understand others worldview.  World- views such as Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity are explored.  With the use of various media material from The Teaching Company and PBS Video, recognized scholars from universities and seminaries will give lectures on the concepts of each worldview.  The text that correlates with each class is Huston Smith classic entitled “World Religions” It is advised that the participant read the chapter corresponding to the worldview being presented.


The first program to be presented is a PBS program entitled “ Peter & Paul and the Christian Revolution”.  The program explores how two men led one of history’s most astonishing religious movements.  It is a two- hour program with discussion periods every 60 minutes. 


The second program is entitled  “Buddhism” taught by professor Malcolm David Eckel.  He is an Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University.  His books include To See the Buddha: A Philosopher’s Quest for the Meaning of Emptiness and Buddhism: Origins, Beliefs, Practices, Holy Texts, Sacred Places. Prior to each session a DVD of photographs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be shown for 10 minutes.


The third program is entitled: “Judaism” taught by Isaiah M. Gafni is Sol Rosenbloom Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  His books include A Social and Cultural History that won the 1992 Holon Prize in Jewish Studies.


The fourth program is entitled “Hinduism” taught by professor Mark W. Muesse, Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dr. Muesse is the author of many articles, papers, and reviews in comparative religions and theology and has co-edited a collection of essays entitled Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities.


The fifth program is entitled “God and His Prophet: The Religion of Islam” This program is taught by professor John Swanson at the American University of Cairo.  Professor Swanson has served as coordinator of the Center for Arabic Study Abroad, director of the Arabic Language Institute, and assistant provost for international programs.  He has lectured for the Association of Yale Alumni, the Smithsonian Associates, and the Elderhostel program.


Each of the Teaching Company lecture series includes a study guide.  Two lectures are shown with 30 minute of audience reaction and discussion.  There are 12 lectures except 10 lectures for the program on Islam.   The book “World Religions” by Huston Smith will be used as a resource guide.  The method of instruction will be seminar format.  The class meets for two hours twice a week for three weeks.


Barbara J. Hemphill-Pearson is Assistant Professor Emeritus at Western Michigan University. She taught Spirituality to occupational therapy students,  a computer course on spirituality and a spirituality course at the senior center in Portage, Michigan.  Dr. Hemphill taught a series of courses on C. S. Lewis and most recent a PBS course entitled “A Question of God” a debate between Freud and C.S. Lewis at the Portage Library, Portage, Michigan.  She has a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit.