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Apr  2012 02
New Interreligious Understanding Program Offered

New Interreligious Understanding Program

TULSA, OK. March 29, 2012 – Phillips Theological Seminary announced today the launch of a new and innovative certificate and graduate diploma program.  By facilitating a broad-ranging conversation among adherents of different religious traditions, PTS aims to prepare interreligious leaders for increasingly multicultural and religiously diverse communities.

Courses in the program will be taught by religious leaders and scholars in the Tulsa metropolitan area who represent Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, and Native American traditions.

“America is now the most religiously plural nation in the world,” said PTS Dean and Professor of the History of Religions, Don A. Pittman, “The question is whether that diversity will enhance and enrich our lives together or tear us apart.  The paradox is that we can’t love others whom we make no attempt to understand,” said Pittman. “And, at same time, we can't understand others whom we do not first respect and love.”

The first two courses will be offered in the Fall of 2012.  The first course “Contemporary Native American Traditions,” will be offered on six Thursday evenings beginning August 23.  The instructor will be Dr. Richard A. Grounds, a Yuchi/Seminole leader and scholar who received his Ph.D. in the History of Religions from Princeton Theological Seminary.  The second course “Contemporary Christian Traditions,” will be offered on six Thursday evenings beginning on October 4.  The instructor will be Dr. Ellen J. Blue, Mouzon Biggs, Jr. Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and United Methodist Studies at PTS.  She received her Ph.D. in History from Tulane University. 

Other courses in the 15 semester-hour program will include: Contemporary Jewish Traditions; Contemporary Islamic Traditions; Contemporary Hindu Traditions; Contemporary Buddhist Traditions; Perspectives on Religious Pluralism; Reading Scripture; Religion, Literature, and the Arts; and Religion, Politics, and Law. Courses are scheduled so that a person can take two courses per semester.  Field trips may augment the class sessions. 

This program is designed for adults who recognize the need for greater interreligious understanding and cooperation. Individuals may enroll with or without a desire for academic credit. All are expected to read basic class-related materials for informed class participation. However, unless an individual enrolls for academic credit, there are no faculty-evaluated written assignments or tests. Costs for the program are as low as $120 per course. Interested individuals may contact the PTS Director of Student Recruitment at 918-270-6463.  For additional information, visit www.ptstulsa.edu/interreligious.

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