Society for Classical Learning Summer Seminar
“What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?”
July 26 - August 8, 2015, Orvieto
The Studio for Art, Faith & History has partnered with the Society for Classical Learning to host a two-week study program in Orvieto for a group of students selected from classical-Christian academies around the United States.
Tertullian’s question, asked around the year 200, remains as new as it is old: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
On what terms have educated Christians over the centuries allowed the classical and the Christian—the Greco-Roman and the Judeo-Christian intellectual heritages—to mix in the same classroom?
No classical-Christian academy can avoid articulating an apologia for Why Christians Should Read The Pagan Classics—to cite the subtitle of Louis Markos’s recent book, From Achilles to Christ.
What is the Christian mind to make of the rich and sophisticated heritage of classical thought and literature and culture, so full of useful tools of learning, so astute in its exploration and analysis of nature and history, of the human psyche and the polis, of human artistic endeavors … and yet falling short of a wisdom unto salvation? Dante’s Virgil can lead the pilgrim only so far.
The historic cliff-top town of Orvieto offers an inspirational setting to reflect on this theme. The town itself is an archeological-architectural palimpsest of the Etruscan, Roman, medieval, and Renaissance strata everywhere present in contemporary Orvieto. The classical is notably integrated with the Christian in the decoration of the Orvieto Duomo. One could hardly ask for a richer distillation of our theme than is found in the magnificent fresco cycle of the End Times, Last Things, and Last Judgment in the San Brizio Chapel.
The Soul's Journey into God: Walking in the Footsteps of Saint Benedict and Saint Francis
June 15–26, 2015, Orvieto
In collaboration with the Studio for Art, Faith & History, Rev. Dr. Susan Skillen, Canon for Spiritual Formation of the Anglican Diocese in New England and director of Spiritual Retreats in Italy, led a retreat exploring the lives and spirituality of Saint Benedict and Saint Francis of Assisi.
Quiet days in Orvieto given to study, discussion, prayer, and lectio divina alternate with pilgrimage-excursions to the secluded monastery of Subiaco the site of Benedict's first community, to the Benedictine monastery of Monte Oliveto with its fresco cycle of the life of St. Benedict painted by Sodoma and Sigorelli, and to Assisi, including the hermitage high above the Assisi valley on the side of Mont Subasio where Francis went for his own retreats.
Rev. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun served as co-leader. Author of The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (InterVarsity Press) and the recent True You: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Using Your Voice, Rev. Calhoun is widely respected as a speaker and workshop leader. She co-pastors Redeemer Community Church in Needham, MA with her husband Douglas.
Who makes the Art Work?
January 17-26, 2015, Orvieto
CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) joined forces with the Studio for Art, Faith & History to offer a nine-day retreat for friends of CIVA in the historic Italian hilltop town of Orvieto, guided by Studio director, Dr. John Skillen. Skillen highlighted the active roles played not only by artists but by patrons, scholars, and local communities in creating the rich body of art of the early Renaissance in Italy. The work of the retreatants was to consider how, or whether, these four stakeholders might again collaborate to create an art that can powerfully serve our contemporary culture.
Participants in this study tour visited no fewer than ten of the great fresco cycles of the Italian Renaissance, including the fresco cycle as near as the Orvieto Duomo, with its themes of the End Times and Last Judgment. Four excursion days punctuated the relaxed pace in Orvieto, leaving time for study and reflection, fine dining and wine-tasting, invigorating walking and exhilarating conver- sation–much of which will surely occur in the various cafe?s of Orvieto.
The Studio for Art, Faith & History joined forces with the Center for Faith & Inquiry to offer a JERUSALEM & ATHENS SEMINAR in Orvieto, Italy.
December 28, 2014 to January 11, 2015
Next Seminar: December 28, 2015 to January 11, 2016
Housed in the renovated 13th century monastery that is home to the Gordon IN Orvieto semester program, the Seminar combines the Great Books, Socratic approach of the Center for Faith & Inquiry’s Jerusalem & Athens Forum honors program with the emphasis of the Gordon IN Orvieto semester program on experiencing Great Art and Great Books “in situ”—in their original settings. Registration for undergraduate students includes discounted tuition for the 4-credit course. Alumni and adult learners will pay only the costs of the program.
The Seminar opens up to a wider circle of students, alumni and adult learners the theme that gives the Jerusalem & Athens Forum (JAF) program its name: Tertullian's question, asked in the year 200, “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens, the Church with the Academy?”
Each January this special Great Books/Great Sites International Seminar will allow Tertullian’s question to frame an in situ study of one or more of the perennial topics addressed by classical and Christian thinkers and artists in the medieval/Renaissance/early modern period of European history—topics that persisted through the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries of the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation.
The inaugural seminar focused on the virtues of individual character, civic duty, and community life in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Excursions to Florence, Rome, and Siena focus on artworks and sites of particular relevance to the theme.
MARIA: GRAZIA E SPERANZA IN CRISTO MARY: GRACE AND HOPE IN CHRIST
An interdisciplinary and ecumenical conference on the theme, Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ (drawing on the title of the book prepared by the joint Roman Catholic and Anglican Commission), held in the town's principal conference hall in the Palazzo del Popolo. This two-day conference brought together a dozen high-ranking theologians and art historians from Italy, the U.S., and Switzerland representing Evangelical, Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic perspectives to share papers and conversation in both English and Italian languages, addressing the place of Mary in contemporary ecumenical dialogue as well as her role in the devotional life of various Christian traditions.
As art historian Mons. Timothy Verdon observes in his book, Mary in Western Art (Mondadori, 2004): "No one can doubt Mary's importance in the spiritual history of Europe: every European city has at least one grand church dedicated to this woman, and from the fifth century to the present, Christian thinkers have devoted considerable space to her in their reflections. In the visual arts, perhaps not even Christ has had so eminent a role as she, and in certain periods images of the Mother indeed outstrip those of her Son both in quantity and in creative originality. The historical identity of Europe's peoples—their self-image across time—in fact seems linked to the ways in which they have venerated, imagined and depicted Mary."
EUCHARIST & ESCHATOLOGY: ART AND THEOLOGY IN THE ORVIETO DUOMO
During the week of Corpus Domini in May 2005, the Studio for Art, Faith & History hosted an interdisciplinary and ecumenical conference on the theme: Eucharist and Eschatology: Art and Theology in the Orvieto Duomo. This four-day conference, focusing on the two important transept chapels of the cathedral with their fresco cycles on the sacrament and the Last Judgment, brought together two dozen high-ranking art historians, theologians and historians from Italy, the U.S., Canada, Australia to share papers and conversation in both English and Italian languages, and was held in the town's principal conference hall in the Palazzo del Popolo. Many of the papers delivered at the conference were published in a book entitled Spazi e Immagini dell'Eucaristia: il Caso di Orvieto.