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Shakespeare and Religion

Thursday 20th October, 7:30pm

Raymond Salter, Bewsick Lecture theatre, University of Chester.

The lecture will focus upon Shakespeare’s habit of thinking, on his philosophical and religious outlook, and whether that outlook can be understood in terms of definite religious categories to which he can be thought to adhere.  So, for example, does Shakespeare unambiguously endorse certain Christian virtues such as forgiveness and charity?  At the end of The Tempest, Prospero chooses the better virtue of forgiveness, and says to his brother ‘For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother/Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive/Thy rankest fault’. What can we make of Gloucester’s desperate cry, in King Lear, ‘As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods./They kill us for their sport’?  Which voice, if either, claims authority?

Admission at the door £3.00 (Students £1.00).

‘In return for a bottle and a hangover we have been given the Keys to the Kingdom’: Reflections on the Language of Salvation in Twelve Step Recovery.

Tuesday 7th February,  7.30pm at Hollybank House:

Dr Wendy Dossett, University of Chester

Hollybank House (TRS department, 51 Liverpool Road, CH2 1AB)

This lecture examines the language of religion and spirituality in the narratives of people recovering from substance use disorders (SUDs/drug and alcohol addictions). It proposes ways in which religious studies and theology (not just ‘religion’) can contribute to addressing some of the challenges faced by people seeking recovery. The process is profoundly challenging and susceptible to relapse. Those who do establish sustained recovery from SUDs often describe the journey in dramatic, spirituality-inflected, terms.

The talk draws on extensive qualitative research to explore the contours of addiction recovery within the well-known, yet also mysterious, setting of Alcoholics Anonymous, and evaluates the influence of the Oxford Group (which claimed to emulate 1st Century Christianity) on AA’s Twelve Step Programme.

Admission at the door: £3.00 (Students: £1.00).

The Essenes in the Ancient Literary Sources

Tuesday 9th May 2017, 7.30 pm

Prof. Joan Taylor, King’s College London

Hollybank House (TRS department, 51 Liverpool Road, CH2 1AB)

The Essenes, hailed as the authors of many of the Dead Sea Scrolls, are known from many literary attestations of the first century.  But are these texts read correctly?  If we read them again with fresh eyes, what are the most interesting features of this mysterious group?  May they appear under different names? 

This talk will delve into the sources on the Essenes and assess what we can know of a party that played a major role in Judaism of the time of Jesus, and – it will be suggested – indeed interacted with him.

Admission at the door: £3.00 (Students: £1.00) Soft Drinks, Wine and Refreshments.