The 2012–13 Bannan Institute, Sacred Texts in the Public Sphere, explores the content, meaning, and activity of sacred texts from a range of traditions, as these texts have been interpreted, performed, imaged, embodied, and contested in the public sphere.
Leading into the 2012 presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial elections in the United States, the fall quarter of the 2012–2013 Bannan Institute will host a series of public lectures exploring Christian texts relevant to issues of significant public debate, and engaging major questions of authority, national identity, and public conscience.
In the winter quarter, the 2012–2013 Bannan Institute will engage in an extended process of storytelling. Lectures and events will explore the public significance of sacred texts from diverse contexts and traditions. Featured texts include: the Hebrew Bible, the Qur’an, the Christian Scriptures, the Bhagavata Purana, various Buddhist sutras, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This winter series will also highlight the multiple ways in which sacred texts make meaning in the public sphere, through narrative, critical analysis, illuminations, communal and personal interpretation, electronic media, proclamation, art, and interreligious engagement.
In the spring quarter, the 2012–2013 Bannan Institute will attend to the ways in which critical engagement with sacred texts and traditions is relevant to the work of a Jesuit, Catholic university. The Bannan Institute will offer a series of public conversations, lectures, and events in which persons of diverse religious and secular traditions are invited to reflect upon how sacred texts are significant to their lives and make meaning of their work.