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Coming Online and Onsite Events

Become a subscriber in the Community of Lifelong Learners for $40 per month for unlimited attendance at on-site and online events, or $25 per month for only ONLINE events. Subscribers are responsible for ordering their own books. One-day ONSITE seminar tuition is $125 per person for non-subscribers. Special events have differing tuition. Scholarships are available for teachers and students. Please inquire via email here.

Online Weekly Intensives


Online Seminar Series - NOW MEETING

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky


Wednesday Evenings - January 24 - April 17, 2024


Crime and Punishment was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. The book is the second of Dostoevsky's full-length novels following his return from exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is often cited as one of the greatest works of world literature.

Through brilliant dialogue and vivid characters the book explores the consequences of nihilism, utilitarianism, and rationalism, extending the ideas the author earlier animates in Notes from Underground. Raskolnikov, our main character and point of entry, exemplifies the potentially disastrous hazards contained in some developing western ideals. Questions of morality, kindness, sympathy, faith and pity come to the fore, as well as the antitheses of pride, contempt, and solipsism. The moving conflicts ask us all to consider torment and disorder, but also higher social goods, right and wrong, and the potential of redemption. Dynamically portraying mysticism, psychological struggle, and social inequity, Crime and Punishment is an emotionally engaging pinnacle of art. We invite you to join us over 13 online sessions as we explore this work in the spirit of civil discourse, camaraderie, and adventure. 


Online seminars in this series will take place on Wednesday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Books will be supplied and sessions will be facilitated by Elizabeth Reyes. Groups will be limited to 14 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 2 CEU credits for participating. This thirteen-week series is $750. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $50 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Click here for full details.


Online Seminar Series - NOW MEETING

The Book of Leviticus


Tuesday Evenings - January 30 - April 2, 2024


The Agora Foundation's online series on the books of the Old Testament / Torah will continue in the winter with The Book of Leviticus. The overall initiative is expected to last three to four years, with attendees choosing which book offerings to participate in.

The Book of Leviticus (/lɪˈvɪtɪkəs/, from Ancient Greek: Λευιτικόν, Leuïtikón; Biblical Hebrew: וַיִּקְרָא, Wayyiqrāʾ, "And He called") is the third book of the Torah (the Pentateuch) and of the Old Testament, also known as the Third Book of Moses. In Leviticus, God tells the Israelites and their priests how to make offerings in the Tabernacle and how to conduct themselves while camped around the holy tent sanctuary. Leviticus takes place during the month or month-and-a-half between the completion of the Tabernacle and the Israelites' departure from Sinai. The instructions of Leviticus emphasize ritual but also reflect the world view of the creation story in Genesis, and that God wishes to live with humans. The book teaches that faithful performance of the sanctuary rituals can make that possible, so long as the people avoid sin whenever possible. 


Online seminars in this series will take place on Tuesday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Attendees are encouraged to read their preferred translation of The Book of Leviticus. Sessions will be facilitated by Dennis Gura. Groups will be limited to 14 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 2 CEU credits for participating. This ten-week series is $600. Community of Lifelong Learner subscribers receive a discount of $50 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Click here for full details.


Online Seminar Series - NOW MEETING

Paradise Lost by John Milton


Thursday Evenings - February 8 - April 25, 2024


First published in 1667, John Milton wrote Paradise Lost at the age of nearly 60, composed entirely through dictation due to his blindness. The book is a masterpiece and considered one of the greatest English poems of all time. The text concerns the biblical story of the fall of man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. 


The wide arc of the angelic war is contrasted with the domestic epic of first humanity. When Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, the angel Michael says that Adam may find "a paradise within thee, happier far". Adam and Eve now have a more distant relationship with God, who is omnipresent but invisible, unlike the tangible Father in the Garden of Eden. The wisdom, efficacy, and mystery of God’s plan also provides an energetic backdrop to the action and character dialogue throughout.

Online seminars in this series will take place on Thursday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Books will be supplied and sessions will be facilitated by Barry Rabe and Eric Stull. Groups will be limited to 14 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 2 CEU credits for participating. This twelve-week series is $725. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $50 through a refund. Payment options are available. 

Click here for full details.


Online Seminar Series - NOW ENROLLING

The Founding of Rome - Virgil and Livy


Monday Evenings - March 11 - May 27, 2024


Rome became the greatest empire in the ancient world, spanning three continents, ruling millions of people, and lasting more than one thousand years. The enduring influence of its art, technology, jurisprudence, philosophy, and language continue to shape western culture and the entire world every day. How can we access this ancient world, with some aspects so foreign and others so familiar, and discover foundations that create the civilization we have inherited. This series is developed in five sections: 1) The Founding, 2) Literature, 3) Philosophy, 4) History and Politics, 5) Science and Art. Attendees will gain a deep understanding of Roman life through some of its greatest authors, and will be better able to see the profound influence the Romans have on us today. Online seminars in will take place on Monday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Section One - The Founding - will focus on The Aeneid by Virgil. The Early History of Rome by Livy, fragments from the first Roman historians, and The Twelve Tables.


All reading materials (in English translation) will be supplied and sessions will be facilitated by Roxana Zirakzadeh and Andy Gilman. Groups will be limited to 14 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 2 CEU credits for participation in each section. The twelve-week series is $750. Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $50 through a refund. Payment options are available.  

Click here for full details.

Free Community Series


Free Onsite Community Seminar Series

Eastern Classics

The First and Third Tuesdays of each month

Next Session is March 5, 2024

Like the west, the east has its own tradition of influential texts that address the perennial questions of human kind. Centering around the bodies of work from China, Japan, and India, this series will focus on the texts of Taoism, Confucius, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We invite you to join us. 

The March 5 reading is:
The Tao Te Ching - Chapter One

Click icon to download, or click here
for all chapters.

12:00 - 1:00PM Pacific


The Ojai Library

111 East Ojai Avenue

Ojai, California 93023

1 - 800px-Athènes_Acropole_Caryatides.jpeg

Free Online Community Seminar Series

The Glory of Art

Saturday, March 9, 2024

What is Art? Why does it hold such a central position in humanity’s self-understanding? Art seems to have subjective, contingent, and relative aspects, while also evoking the eternal, essential, and radical. Art represents, communicates, explores, inspires, challenges, creates, and questions. This semi-monthly series will explore the work of artists and thinkers through history.


Aristotle - “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”.


O’Keeffe - “To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”


da Vinci - “Art is the Queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all generations of the world.”


O’Connor - “Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”


Picasso - “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.” 


Klee - “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”


Brecht - “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”


de Beauvoir - “Art, literature, and philosophy are attempts to found the world anew on a human freedom: that of the creator; to foster such an aim, one must first unequivocally posit oneself as a freedom.”


Dostoevsky - “Art is as much a need for humanity as eating and drinking. The need for beauty and for creations that embody it is inseparable from humanity and without it man perhaps might not want to live on earth.” 


Click here to visit The Glory of Art Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

The March 9 reading is:

Vitruvius on Architecture - Book II -
On Dwellings and Substances

12:00 - 2:00PM PST


Online. Register to receive the link.


Free Online Community Seminar Series

The Foundations of Our Republic - The Federalist Papers Complete Series

Sunday, April 7, 2024

What are the fundamental principles of our Republic? Are these principles based on a view of objective reality/nature, or simply the "consent of the governed"? Depending on how one addresses the previous question: Are these principles changeable, and if so on what grounds? How should one read the founding documents? What authority does the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches have? What are rights? Are they based on nature or consent? Are they inalienable? Please join us as we explore these political works through monthly weekend meetings. 

Click here to visit The Federalist Papers Complete Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

The April 7 reading is:

Federalist Papers 17-20

12:00 - 2:00PM PDT

Readings in the series:
Complete Federalist Papers and selected Anti-Federalist Papers


Online. Register to receive the link.

Upcoming Regular Events


Online Seminar Series

The Golden Bough by James Frazer

Saturday, March 2, 2024

“For myth changes while custom remains constant; men continue to do what their ancestors did before them, though the reasons on which their fathers acted have been long forgotten. The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice.”


The Golden Bough - A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging investigation of mythology, religion, and ritual. First published in 1890 and greatly expanded in later editions, the book attempts to define the shared elements of religious belief and scientific thought, discussing fertility rites, human sacrifice, the dying god, the scapegoat, and many other symbols and practices whose influences had extended into 20th-century culture. We invite you to join us as we discuss this entire abridged version, a few chapters at a time, with weekend seminars taking place about one month apart.

March 2 Reading:

The Golden Bough by James Frazer -

Chapters XI - The Influence of the Sexes on Vegetation, XII - The Sacred Marriage, XIII - The Kings of Rome and Alba, XIV - The Succession to the Kingdom in Ancient Latium, XV - The Worship of the Oak, XVI - Dianus and Diana (pages 163-202)

Penguin Classics; Abridged edition (January 1998)

ISBN 978-0140189315


12:00-2:00PM PST



Andy Gilman


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

The Laws by Plato

Sunday, March 3, 2024

“...there is simple ignorance, which is the source of lighter offenses, and double ignorance, which is accompanied by a conceit of wisdom; and he who is under the influence of the latter fancies that he knows all about matters of which he knows nothing.”

The Laws (Greek: Νόμοι, Nómoi; Latin: De Legibus) is Plato's last and longest dialogue. The conversation depicted in the work's twelve books begins with the question of who is given the credit for establishing a civilization's laws. Its musings on the ethics of government and law have established it as a classic of political philosophy alongside Plato's more widely read Republic. Scholars agree that Plato wrote this dialogue as an older person, having failed in his effort to guide the rule of the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, instead having been thrown in prison. These events are alluded to in the Seventh Letter. The text is noteworthy as Plato's only undisputed dialogue not to feature Socrates. We invite you to join us as we read this often overlooked text, one section at a time, in monthly online events.

Click here to visit the Laws of Plato Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.


March 3 Reading:

The Laws by Plato

Book 1 - Section 3: The Arts in the Service of Education (pages 39-72)

Penguin Classics (June 2005)


ISBN 9780140449846


12:00-2:00PM PST



David Appleby


Online. Register to receive the link. 


FREE EVENT - Online Seminar Series

US Supreme Court—Decisions and Interpretations

Sunday, March 3, 2024

In this seminar series we will explore Supreme Court decisions that have helped define what it means to live in a constitutional republic. Ranging from the powers of government as articulated by the Court in its early days to the impact of its decisions in the 21st century on civil and individual rights, we will examine the nature of the Court’s various—and sometimes competing--interpretations of the Constitution. The roles of the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment will be a particular area of focus in seeing how the Court has drawn upon principles of “equal protection” and “human dignity” in its rulings. The goal will be to come away with a more informed citizen’s view of the Court’s contributions to our understanding of the “rule of law” in both its political and Constitutional meaning.

Special Free March 3 Event - TRUMP v. ANDERSON (Colorado Case, SCOTUS)
The timely final session of the series will focus on the Colorado ballot case currently under review by SCOTUS. The Supreme Court may issue its ruling on the Colorado case immediately before our meeting. 


How will SCOTUS justices instruct us in interpreting the 14th Amendment and its applicability to the current controversy? Participants will have the opportunity to build on our citizen’s understanding of the Constitution and the Court’s role in real time.

Click here to visit the US Supreme Court Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.


There will be six meetings in the series, once per month:

Sunday, September 17

Sunday, October 15

Sunday, November 12

Sunday, December 10

Sunday, January 14

Sunday, March 3


March 3 Readings:

1) Colorado Supreme Court Ruling - December 19, 2023

2) Trump v. Anderson - Supreme Court Petition Brief

3) Congressional Research Service - The Insurrection Bar to Office:
Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment

4) Click here to listen to the February 8 oral arguments
and download the transcript


2:30-4:30PM PST
(please note later than usual weekend time)


Karl Haigler


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Let us leave theories there and return to here's hear.


Having done the longest day in literature with Ulysses (1922),  Joyce set himself an even greater challenge for his next book - the night. "A nocturnal state... That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream." Published in 1939, the book would take Joyce two decades to complete. 


A story with no real beginning or end, the work has come to assume a preeminent place in English literature. Anthony Burgess has lauded Finnegans Wake as "a great comic vision, one of the few books of the world that can make us laugh aloud on nearly every page". Harold Bloom has called it Joyce's  masterpiece, and, in The Western Canon (1994), wrote that "if aesthetic merit were ever again to center the canon, Finnegans Wake would be as close as our chaos could come to the heights of Shakespeare and Dante".

Join us as we read this text a few pages at a time, every other Wednesday afternoon. Click here to visit the Finnegans Wake Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

March 6 Reading:

Book One - Chapter Eight (page 213, Line 11), Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (December 1999). ISBN 9780141181264. Also, Chapter Eight of A Reader's Guide to Finnegans Wake by William Tindall. Syracuse University Press; Reprint edition (May 1996), ISBN 0815603851


12:30-2:00PM PST


Barry Rabe


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

The Romantic I/Eye

Sunday, March 10, 2024

A pan-European and American phenomenon, Romanticism influenced Western notions about the individual as well as humans' relationship to nature. This series of online seminars addresses both themes through a variety of genres and nationalities, most of which texts are written in the first person. How did the Romantic Era shape the notion of what a subject is?  Does first-person writing, in seeming to explore the subject or the self, reveal it or make it more obscure? To what extent does the choice an author makes to portray an experience through the use of the first person affect that experience, and do these authors' texts coalesce into a coherent portrait of the Romantic period? Finally, how do these singular voices engage with nature, particularly under the looming shadow of the Industrial Revolution?

Readings in the Series (ISBNs and Posted PDFs will added soon):

Goethe — The Sorrows of Young Werther
Rousseau — Reveries of a Solitary Walker
Holderlin — Hyperion
Wordsworth — The Prelude (Two-Part 1799 version)
Chateaubriand — Rene, and Atala
Foscolo — The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis
Byron — Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto One 
Hazlitt — On the Love of the Country, On Living to One's Self, and On Thought and Action
Müller/Schubert — Die Winterreise
Pushkin — Eugene Onegin 
Emerson — Nature, The Over-Soul, and Circles
Poe — The Landscape Garden, William Wilson, and The Fall of the House of Usher

Join us as we read explore these readings, with sessions about one month apart. Click here to visit The Romantic I/Eye Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

March 10 Reading:

Chateaubriand — Rene, and Atala
University of California Press; First Edition (January 1952)
ISBN: 978-0520002234


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Jordan Hoffman and Eric Stull


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

Epistemology of Spinoza

7 Thursday Afternoons, January 25 - May 9, 2024

What can we say we know with certainty? What does it mean to say that we know something? How does knowledge differ from belief? Can an exploration of basic philosophical questions, such as How do we know what we know? and What are the limits of our understanding? inform our thinking not just on intellectual issues, but on broader cultural challenges as well?


Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, usually known as the Ethics, is a philosophical treatise written in Latin by Baruch Spinoza. It was written between 1661 and 1675 and was first published posthumously in 1677. The book is perhaps the most ambitious attempt to apply the method of Euclid in philosophy. Spinoza puts forward a small number of definitions and axioms from which he attempts to derive hundreds of propositions and 
corollaries, such as "When the Mind imagines its own lack of power, it is saddened by it", "A free man thinks of nothing less than of death", and "The human Mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the Body, but something of it remains which is eternal." Over seven afternoon online seminars, the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, the series w
ill cover:

January 25: Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect (pp. 233 to 262)

February 8: Ethics, Part I, Propositions 1-15 (pp. 31-43)

February 22: Ethics, Part I, Propositions 1-15 (pp. 31-43) continued

March 14: Ethics, Part I, Propositions 16-36 and Appendix (pp. 43-62)

April 11: Ethics, Part II (pp. 63-101)

April 25: Ethics, Part III (pp. 102-151)

May 9: Ethics, Part IV (pp. 152-200)

May 23: Ethics, Part V (pp. 201-223)

Join us as we discuss these foundational works from Spinoza. This series continues a broader series on epistemology. All are welcome. Please join us even if this will be your first seminar in the series. 

Click here to visit the Epistemology Page.

March 14 Reading: 

Ethics, Part I, Propositions 16-36 and Appendix (pp. 43-62)

Ethics: with The Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and Selected Letters

Hackett Publishing Company (November 1992)
ISBN 978-0872201309

(This is the text for all seven seminars in the series)


Thursdays, 12:00-1:30PM PDT



Carol Seferi


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Onsite FILM Seminar Series

The Earrings of Madame de... Directed by Max Ophüls

Saturday, March 16, 2024

The Earrings of Madame de... (French) is a 1953 romantic drama film directed by Max Ophüls from a screenplay he co-wrote with Marcel Achard and Annette Wademant, based on the 1951 novel Madame de... by Louise Lévêque de Vilmorin. Starring Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica, and Danielle Darrieux, the film is considered a masterpiece of 1950s French cinema. Andrew Sarris called it "the most perfect film ever made". Ophüls said the story's construction attracted him, stating "there is always the same axis around which the action continually turns like a carousel. A tiny, scarcely visible axis: a pair of earrings".

View the film on The Criterion Channel, Amazon Prime, HBO Max

March 16 Schedule (times PDT):

9:30-10:00AM - Continental Breakfast

10:00AM-12:00PM - Film Showing

12:00-12:45PM - Lunch

12:45-2:45PM - Discussion


Peter Rainer - Film Critic for the Christian Science Monitor and NPR


417 Bryant Circle in Ojai, California


Online Seminar Series

Shakespearean Marriage, Italian-Style (Mostly) - 

& One by Marlowe!

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Almost the last detail the reader hears of Socrates at the end of Plato’s Symposium, which is Apollodorus’ recollection of Aristodemus’ account of the dinner party, is that after a night of speechmaking and drinking, Socrates was still awake near dawn, pressing Agathon and Aristophanes (tragedian and comedian, respectively), the three of them still passing the jug around, to admit that the same poet could write both tragedy and comedy.  As “dawn spread forth her fingertips of rose,”[1] the two poets, deep in their cups, nodded off to sleep, Aristophanes just before daybreak, Agathon just after.  What would one do for the encore of a Socratic lullaby! 


Fast forward two millennia: in a strange land, in a tongue that had not existed on the occasion of that Athenian sunrise, Shakespeare proved Socrates right in a very different city with a very different climate.  One can only guess at Socrates’ argument, for Aristodemus seems not to have heard or remembered it, as he was only just waking up, presumably with a hangover, but one might try surmising the logic backwards from the evidence of Shakespeare’s drama, different as it is from that of ancient Athens, and say that comedy and tragedy in the hands of the same poet can show themselves as the inside-out, upside-down mirror images of each other.  Whence comes the hypothesis that the same poet can write both if he understands the mirror and can give each dramatic form, in each of its many instances, “a local habitation and a name.”[2]  This hypothesis serves as an invitation to consider Shakespearean comedy and tragedy together, loosely grouped, all but one of the plays set in Italy, all but one by the Bard, comedies followed by tragedy, each play always standing on its own, winking perhaps at the others.

Click here to visit the Shakespeare Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

Group 1:

The Taming of the Shrew (Signet Classic - ISBN 9780451526793)

Much Ado About Nothing (Pelican - ISBN 9780143130185)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (set in Athens) (Pelican - ISBN 9780143128588)

Romeo and Juliet (Pelican - ISBN 9780143128571)


Group 2:

The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Pelican - ISBN 9780143132240)

The Jew of Malta (by Marlowe) (Penguin - ISBN 9780140436334)

The Merchant of Venice (Pelican - ISBN 9780143130222)

Othello (Pelican - ISBN 9780143128618)


[1] a translation of an expression from Homer

[2] A Midsummer Night’s Dream

March 17 Reading: 

The Merchant of Venice 
(Pelican - ISBN 9780143130222)


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Eric Stull


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

The New Testament

Saturday, March 23, 2024

The word testament in the expression New Testament refers to a new covenant that Christians believe fulfills the covenant that God made with the people of Israel made on Mount Sinai through Moses, described in the books of the Old Testament. We invite you to join this series as we explore the  four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles, and the Book of Revelation. 

March 23 Reading: 

Paul - First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians, First and Second Letters to Timothy (attendees may use any translation they prefer)


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Elizabeth Reyes


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951, was Hannah Arendt's first major work. The book strives to understand the causes and the mechanics of Nazism and Stalinism as the major totalitarian political movements of the 20th century. Regarded as one of the most important books of the last 100 years, Arendt warns that, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.” We invite you to join us as we explore this entire book, meeting about once per month. 

March 24 Reading: 

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

Chapter Nine - The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man

Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; First edition (March 1973)
ISBN 978-0-156-70153-2


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Andy Gilman


Online. Register to receive the link. 

agora foundation online seminar on flannery Oconnor.jpeg

Online Seminar Series

The Work of Flannery O'Connor
Parker's Back by O'Connor and
Question 94, Article 2 - Aquinas on Idolatry

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964) was an American novelist, short story writer and essayist. She wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. Her writing is exquisite and reflects her Catholic faith and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a sardonic style and relied heavily on regional settings and troubling characters. 

"Anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic... The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism... When I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror."

Despite her secluded life, her writing reveals an an incredible grasp of human behavior. O'Connor gave many lectures on faith and literature, traveling quite far despite her frail health. Politically, she maintained a broadly progressive outlook in connection with her faith, voting for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and supporting the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. We invite you to join us as we read a collection of her work, meeting about about once per month online. 

March 30 Reading:

Parker's Back

The Complete Stories - Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First edition (January 1971)

ISBN - 978-0374515362, and Question 94, Article 2 - Aquinas on Idolatry


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Kevin Walker


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin
Chapter Seven

Sunday, March 31, 2024


In 1871 Charles Darwin published The Descent of Man, which applies evolutionary theory to human evolution, and details his theory of sexual selection, a form of biological adaptation distinct from, yet interconnected with, natural selection. The reception was mixed, with some concerned that “this book would unsettle our half educated classes and people will begin doing as they pleased, breaking laws and customs…” The text discusses many issues, including evolutionary psychology, evolutionary ethics, and the relevance of the evolutionary theory to society. We invite you to join us as we discuss this entire text, with readings about one month apart.

March 31 Reading:

The Descent of Man by Darwin - Chapter Seven - On the Races of Man -

pages 194-240

Penguin Classics Reprint Edition
(June 2004) - ISBN 978-0140436310


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Andy Gilman


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Contemporary Issues Seminar Series

The Gene - An Intimate History
by Siddhartha Muk
herjee (2017)

Saturday, April 6, 2024


This revived online series will inquire into contemporary issues of science, politics, culture, and economics, meeting once per month and covering 30-50 pages of a text per session. We kick off the series with a look into the history and current questions of genetics. The Gene: An Intimate History was written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, an Indian-born American physician and oncologist, published in 2017. The book chronicles the history of the gene and genetic research, all the way from Aristotle to Crick, Watson and Franklin and then the 21st century scientists who mapped the human genome. The book discusses the power of genetics in determining people's well-being and traits. It delves into the personal genetic history of Siddhartha Mukherjee's family, including mental illness. However, it is also a cautionary message toward not letting genetic predispositions define a person or their fate, a mentality that the author says led to the rise of eugenics in history. This series will span over ten monthly sessions on this book, and then turn to other contemporary subjects.

April 6 Reading:

The Gene - An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Part Two - Truths and Reconciliations, Transformation,Lives Unworthy of Living, That Stupid Molecule, Objects Come in Pairs 
(pages 101-160)

Scribner; Reprint edition (May 2017)
ISBN 978-1476733524


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Andy Gilman


Online. Register to receive the link. 


Online Seminar Series

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

Saturday, April 13, 2024

“We must judge the tree by its fruit. The best fruits of the religious experience are the best things history has to offer. The highest flights of charity, devotion, trust, patience, and bravery to which the wings of human nature have spread themselves, have all been flown for religious ideals.”

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James. It comprises his edited Gifford Lectures (20 in total) on natural theology, which were delivered at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland between 1901 and 1902. The lectures concern the psychological study of individual private religious experiences and mysticism, and use a range of examples to identify commonalities in religious experiences across traditions. James concludes that religion is overall beneficial to humankind, although acknowledges that this does not establish its truth. He also considers the possibility of over-beliefs, beliefs which are not strictly justified by reason but which might understandably be held by educated people nonetheless, and had relatively little interest in the legitimacy or illegitimacy of religious experiences. Join us as we work through these lectures, with online seminars taking place about one month apart. 

Click here to visit the Varieties of Religious Experience Online Seminar page, with links to media and the Discussion Forum.

April 13 Reading:

Lecture Sixteen - Mysiticism

The Varieties of Religious Experience 

Penguin Classics; Later Printing edition
(December 16, 1982) - ISBN 978-0140390346


12:00-2:00PM PDT



Andy Gilman


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