2013–2015 Theme: Religion Beyond Words

Religion Beyond Words: Religions often claim that ultimate realities and experiences transcend the limits of human comprehension and expression—that such “things” are ineffable. But the nature of these ultimate realities and experiences differ, as do the linguistic means by which, theological reasons for which, and cultural ends toward which they are declared ineffable.

Our 2013-2015 programming explored these differences in a variety of religious traditions, comparing between them in order to raise philosophical questions of meaning, value, and truth. As a means of comparing more widely and philosophizing more deeply, we also considered discourses of ineffability in art, music, poetry, and drama.

The calendar below offers a complete listing of the events of our 2013-2015 series. You can click on the titles of past events to find descriptions, pictures, audio files, and sometimes also manuscripts and power point presentations.

Below the calendar you can find supplementary resources related to this Comparison Project theme from the students in Prof. Knepper’s 2013-2015 Comparison Project classes.

Programming, Spring 2015

 

EVENT SPEAKER DATE/TIME/LOCATION
The Sayings and Missayings of Samuel Beckett Craig Owens, Associate Professor of English, Drake University Thurs. 2/12
7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater,
Olmsted Center
Kabbalah, Language, and Transcendental Mysteries Steven Katz, Alvin J. and Shirley Slater Chair of Jewish & Holocaust Studies, Boston University Thurs. 2/26
7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater,
Olmsted Center
Love Is to Renounce Naming the Beloved: Muslim Mystic al-Rabi’a and Her Teaching of the Ineffable Dr. Tamara Albertini, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Undergraduate Certificate of Islamic Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa Thurs. 4/16
7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater,
Olmsted Center
Philosophizing Ineffability: Comparative Reflections on Our 2013-2015 Theme and Events Timothy Knepper, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Leah Kalmanson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Drake University Thurs. 4/30
7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater,
Olmsted Center

 

Programming, Fall 2014

 

EVENT SPEAKER DATE/TIME/LOCATION
Meditation Workshop and Dialogue Local Meditation Instructors Sat. 9/6, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
First Christian Church
2500 University Ave,
Des Moines
When Expression Is Expressed, Non-expression Is Not-expressed: A Zen Buddhist Approach to Talking About the Ineffable Gereon Kopf, Professor of Religion, Luther College Thurs. 9/18
7:00 p.m.,
Sussman Theater,
Olmsted Center
“That From Which All Words Return”: The Distinctive Methods of Language Utilization in Hinduism’s Philosophical Tradition of Advaita Vedanta Anantanand Rambachan,
Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies at Saint Olaf College
Thurs. 10/9
7:00 p.m.
Sussman Theater,
Olmsted Center
Using a Net to Catch the Air: Poetry, Ineffability, and Small Stones
in a Shoe
Christopher Janke,
Independent poet and artist
Thurs. 11/6
6:00 p.m.
Cowles Library Reading Room
Opening Events for the Ineffability Exhibitions National and local artists, poets, and musicians Fri. 11/7
5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Anderson Gallery,
Weeks Gallery,
Sheslow Auditorium

 

Programming, Spring 2014

 

EVENT SPEAKER DATE/TIME LOCATION
After Silence, That Which Comes Nearest Jonathan Bellman, Professor of Music History and Literature, University of Northern Colorado Response by Eric Saylor, Associate Professor of Music History and Musicology, Drake University
Thurs. 2/13
7:00 p.m.
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center
1150 28th Street
Achieving Eternal Peace through Non-dualistic View – Buddhist Concepts and Meditation Practices Lecture and discussion with the eighth Arjia Rinpoche, Lobsang Tubten Jigme Gyatso Wed. 3/5
7:00 p.m.
Cowles Library Reading Rm.
“Names Are the Guest of Reality”: Apophasis, Mysticism and Soteriology in Daoist Perspective Louis Komjathy, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Program Director of Contemplative Studies, University of San Diego Thurs. 3/6
7:30 p.m.
Cowles Library Reading Rm.
Translating the Ineffable: How Hunters Hear and Talk to the Dead in Côte d’Ivoire  Joseph Hellweg, Associate Professor of Religion, Florida State University  Thurs. 3/27
7:00 p.m.
Cowles Library Reading Rm.
West African Dance Workshop Diadié Bathily, Dancer
Caph Guéï, Drummer
with introduction and interpretation by Joseph Hellweg
Fri. 3/28 12:15–1:45 p.m. Studio 55 Theater, Harmon Fine Arts Center
Expressing the Inexpressible: The Heartbeat of Sikh Mysticism Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, Crawford Family Professor of Religion, Colby College Thurs. 4/10 7:00 p.m. Cowles Library Reading Rm.

 

Programming, Fall 2013

 

EVENT SPEAKER DATE/TIME LOCATION
Sacred Earth and Healing Arts of Tibet Gaden Shartse Buddhist Monks Mon.–Fri.
9/9-9/13
times vary
Locations vary
Ineffabilities and Conventional Truth in Jñānaśrimitra’s Buddhist Philosophy of Language Amy Donahue, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Kennesaw State University Thurs. 10/3
7:00 p.m.
Cowles Library Reading Rm.
Paying Attention: The Fine Art and Neuroscience of Visual Awareness Barbara Stafford, Distinguished University Visiting Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology School of Architecture Thurs. 10/24 7:00 p.m. Cowles Library Reading Rm.
How To Speak About An Unspeakable God: The Christian Mysticism of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite Tim Knepper, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Drake University Thurs. 12/5 7:00 p.m. Sussman Theater, Olmsted Center

 

Student Resources on Religions Beyond Words