The Abolition of Man

The Abolition of Man

By early 1943, it was clear to many observers that the Allies would win the Second World War. But for C.S. Lewis, the conflict had revealed a civilizational crisis that military victory alone could not solve. He feared that the war had a exposed a terrifying ignorance about the foundations of a humane social order. He argued that to be worthy of victory,  and to avoid a degradation worse than defeat, Western nations would need to understand the basis of humanistic education. This reading group will meet to discuss Lewis’s The Abolition of Man and its argument that only universal values, rooted in man’s rational nature, can protect human dignity. For more information, or to receive a copy of the reading, please contact info@binst.org.

Dates: Thursdays on 5/28, 6/4, 6/11
Time: 5:30-6:45 PM

Reading schedule:

5/28: Men Without Chests (pp. 1-26)
6/4: The Way (pp. 27-52)
6/11: The Abolition of Man (pp. 53-82)

Location: Zoom

This seminar is free and open to all Cal, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.

Imagining Race

Imagining Race

Three years before receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison gave a series of lectures at Harvard examining depictions of race in American culture. She argued that the American imagination had been profoundly shaped by the categories of “whiteness” and “blackness,” and that knowledge of their codependency is essential for knowledge of American history. With Morrison as our guide, this discussion group will consider how American history and literature has shaped, and has been shaped by, an unconscious awareness of race. For more information or to receive a copy of the short readings, please contact director@binst.org.

Dates: Tuesdays on 7/7, 7/14, and 7/21.

Time: 5:30-6:45pm PST

Discussion Schedule:

7/7: Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark, Preface and Chapter One.
7/14: Chapter Two
7/21: Chapter Three

Location: Zoom

This seminar is free and is open to all full-time UC Berkeley, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.

Time and Eternity in Milan Kundera

Our summer fiction reading group continues with Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. We will meet weekly to talk about Kundera’s understanding of erotic love, its relationship to human finitude, and his frequent reflections on theological themes. A free copy of the book will be provided to all participants. To receive a copy of the book and a reading schedule, please write to director@binst.org.

Dates: Tuesdays on 7/16, 7/23, 7/30, 8/6
Time: 6:30-8:00 PM

Reading schedule:

7/16: Parts One and Two
7/23: Parts Three and Four
7/30: Part Five
8/6:   Parts Six and Seven

Location: Berkeley Institute 2134 Allston Way

This seminar is free and open to all Cal, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.

Jane Austen and the Moral Life

Jane Austen wrote romantic comedies about smart young women looking for good husbands.  But her novels are also charged with moral significance, and offer guidance, both serious and hilarious, in the virtuous conduct of life.  Her heroines learn about the importance of good character and the social virtues that perfect it.  Sense and Sensibility tells the story of two sisters  who learn these lessons (and others!) through the struggles with courtship and their search for marriage. We will meet to discuss the novel and to talk about the relationship between literature and ethics.  A free copy of the book will be provided to all participants. For more information, please respond to this email.

Dates: Thursdays on 5/30, 6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27.
Time: 6:00-7:30 PM

Reading schedule:

5/30: Sense and Sensibility, pp. 3-48.
6/6: pp. 48-102.
6/13: pp. 103-149
6/20: pp. 150-191
6/27: pp. 191-289.

Location: Berkeley Institute 2134 Allston Way

This seminar is free and open to all Cal, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.

Theology After Christendom

Theology After Christendom

In 1850, nearing the end of his writing career, Soren Kierkegaard published the book that he regarded as his most personal and his most important. Training in Christianity was his summation of “what it meant to be a Christian.” It culminated his ongoing feud with an established church that, he believed, had betrayed Christianity by aligning its teachings with the values and institutions of European culture. “Christendom has done away with Christianity, without being quite aware of it,” he charged. This group will meet to discuss Kierkegaard’s ideas about Christian life in a post-Christian culture, asking what relevance his ideas might have for students today.  It will also consider his proposals for “introducing Christianity into Christendom.” Our short readings will include selections from his Attack on Christendom.

Dates: Friday afternoons on 4/5, 4/12, 4/26, 5/3

Time: 12:00-1:30pm

Discussion and Reading Schedule:

4/5: Christianity and Secular History: pp. 5-10, 18-23.
4/12: Christianity and Secular Knowledge: pp. 26-31, 57-62.
4/26: Christianity and Paganism: pp. 92-103.
5/3: Christianity and the Church Militant: pp. 180-195.

Location: Berkeley Institute, 2134 Allston Way

**This seminar is free and open to all Cal, GTU, and St. Mary’s students.