A Global Philosophy of Religion in Des Moines

Globally, we enact an innovative new approach to the philosophy of religion that compares over a wide diversity of religious reasons and ideas. Locally, we work the religions of Des Moines to create resources about their communities, digital stories about their practices, and photographs of their sacred spaces.


Concluding Comparisons

Tim Knepper and Leah Kalmanson, Directors of The Comparison Project, Drake University professors of philosophy and religion. April 30, 7 p.m., Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center In the final event of its 2013-2015 series on “religion beyond words,” The Comparison Project’s directors, Tim Knepper and Leah Kalmanson, will compare over the programming of the last two years, raising philosophical questions of…


Love Is to Renounce Naming the Beloved: Muslim Mystic al-Rabi’a and Her Teaching of the Ineffable

Tamara Albertini, Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Undergraduate Certificate of Islamic Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa April 16, 7 p.m., Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center   The female Muslim mystic Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya (d. 801) is widely considered one of the most influential mystics of Sufism, as she was primarily responsible for redirecting the spirit of early Sufism away from the path…

Photo courtesy of the USHMM

Kabbalah, Language, and Transcendental Mysteries

Steven Katz, Alvin J. and Shirley Slater Chair of Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Boston University Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center The Jewish mystical tradition, like all mystical traditions, has had to deal with the issue of language and the communication of mystical experience. In responding to this basic issue, Jewish mystics did not emphasize ineffability. Instead, they…


The Sayings and Missayings of Samuel Beckett

Craig Owens, Associate Professor of English, Drake University February 12, 7:00 p.m., Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center The narrators of Samuel Beckett’s novels and the characters in his plays fill their worlds with words. In his final trilogy of novels, Nowhow On, these utterances become intensely self-reflective, so much so that they are about uttering itself, the signifier’s inability to bear…

Student Comparisons (Fall 2014 Comparative Religions Course)

Professor Knepper’s Fall 2104 Comparative Religions course studied discourses of ineffability in Zen Buddhism (especially Dogen) and the Hindu theological tradition of Advaita Vedanta. Below are some of the students’ final papers: Isaiah Enockson’s comparative paper Renee Kumon’s comparative paper Ken Kuniy’s comparative paper