The Disseminary Seminars

The hoopoe, our emblem

Disseminary seminars will offer asynchronous discussions led by commissioned participants in the project. While leaders will maintain the prerogative to shape the seminar as they feel appropriate, we anticipate seminars beginning from a familiar readings-and-discussion format. We plan for such seminars to use existing weblog tools such as Moveable Type, and may (at the leader’s discretion) permit comments from non-participants. Once the seminar has run its course, the conversation will be archived (how? we’re still thinking about that) and available for browsing or redistribution.

We do not plan to restrict participation in seminars according to academic qualifications. While some Disseminary ventures may eventually involve advanced academic preparation, those will be clearly identified at the outset. Typical seminars, such as those we project below, should welcome a mixed cadre of participants.

Our first seminar will begin in late September; Trevor Bechtel and A K M Adam will lead a discussion of “The Ethics of Interpreting the Bible” as a pilot for subsequent online ventures. Both of us have a special interest in this topic, and we estimated that it might elicit some interest among Disseminary particpants as well. We’ll begin taking applications right away at either director’s email address; although eventually we’ll have a formal PDF application, for now you can simply send to one of us an email message with your name, the names and email addresses of two references, any biographical information that might help us consider your interest, and information about your computer, connection speed, and technological comfort level. We’ll look to setting up a group of about a dozen participants; if more than twelve people apply, we’ll try to develop a balanced and active discussion group.

Our next seminar will discuss Spirituality and Technology with Prof. Wesley Avram from Yale Divinity School. After that, we’ve persuaded Dr. Tania Oldenhage of the Boldern Evangelisches Tagungs- und Studienzentrum (the Protestant Academy of Boldern) to lead a seminar on interpreting Jesus’ parables. Once these take clearer shape, and we have opening dates for them, we’ll supply updates.

Once the Ethics of Interpretation seminar gets rolling, we’ll begin a slightly different project here. In response to a number of inquiries about the theological movement known as Radical Orthodoxy, we’ll host a roundtable discussion among some invited participants and some applicants. Radical Orthodoxy has generated a lot of publications, and much interest at scholarly gatherings, but hasn’t affected church life much. Should it? If so, what kind of difference might RadOx theology make? Our round table will talk through the point(s) of taking a RadOx position in theology, and will discuss ways that such a stance might affect the lives of congregations and congregants apart from rarefied academic discourse. Please keep your eyes open for this discussion group.