The Classical Ideas Podcast
The Classical Ideas Podcast
Gregory Soden
Simply stated, religion matters. Religion matters not only for personal reasons, but also for social, economic, political, and military purposes. Unfortunately, studies suggest that religious knowledge and cultural literacy for any religious tradition is either in decline or is non-existent in the United States, despite being one of the most religiously diverse nation on earth. Today, religion is implicated in nearly every major national and international issue. The public arena is awash in religious explanations and arguments for nearly every issue. The goal of The Classical Ideas Podcast is to empower students with the core knowledge of major world religions to improve citizenship and agency in a diverse society. Welcome to the show!
EP 264: Cancer, Survival, and the Future w/ Dr. M. Cooper Minister
M. Cooper Minister is Associate Professor of Religion at Shenandoah University, where they teach courses on death, medicine, sex, gender, and theories of religion. Their books include Rape Culture on Campus and Cultural Approaches to Studying Religion: An Introduction to Theories and Methods (co-edited with Sarah Bloesch). Their current project is a memoir about being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 33 and learning to persist in between life and death on the dance floor. Visit Sacred Writes:
Jun 1
36 min
EP 263: Majorette Dance, HBCU's, and Idioms w/Dustin Gavin
Dustin Gavin (he/him) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Departments of Religious Studies and African American Studies at Yale University. He received his B.A. in Journalism from Howard University, an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School, and completed his second M.A. in Religion and Visual Arts at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music. Dustin's research examines the overlap and confluence of sacred and profane idioms to examine the histories, aesthetics, and embodied performances of black women, sissies, and femmes across U.S. Southern regions. Follow Sacred Writes: Listen to the complete Sacred Writes-Classical Ideas collection:
May 25
42 min
EP 262: Indhira Udofia on the impact of religious trauma on Black Millennials and Generation Z
Indhira Udofia (she/they) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Joint Program in Social Work at NC A&T University and UNC Greensboro. Their dissertation project looks at the impact of religious trauma on Black Millennials and Generation Z, exploring the impact of institutional violence on gendered and sexual minorities within Black religious spaces. Her extensive experience providing therapeutic and spiritual services  in clinical and community settings (since 2009) and faith communities (since 2014), shaped her deep passion for helping communities and individuals recover from trauma, especially in spaces of spiritual abuse and grief. Indhira believes that their work is a collaborative effort to empower others in their own healing journey. Using strengths-based methodologies and client-based appropriate rituals, restorative practices, and trauma-informed consultation, they work to address power dynamics, conflict resolution, self-care, and other issues that may arise within a healing framework, for the flourishing of the collective. Indhira’s love of the arts, especially music, and  her travels all over the world, allow her a perspective that is inclusive, welcoming, and informed. Follow Indhira Udofia: - - Follow Sacred Writes: Listen to the complete Sacred Writes-Classical Ideas collection:    
May 18
50 min
EP 261: Dr. Anthony Siracusa on Nonviolence before King
In the early 1960s, thousands of Black activists used nonviolent direct action to challenge segregation at lunch counters, movie theaters, skating rinks, public pools, and churches across the United States, battling for, and winning, social change. Organizers against segregation had used litigation and protests for decades but not until the advent of nonviolence did they succeed in transforming ingrained patterns of white supremacy on a massive scale. In this book, Anthony C. Siracusa unearths the deeper lineage of anti-war pacifist activists and thinkers from the early twentieth century who developed nonviolence into a revolutionary force for Black liberation. Telling the story of how this powerful political philosophy came to occupy a central place in the Black freedom movement by 1960, Siracusa challenges the idea that nonviolent freedom practices faded with the rise of the Black Power movement. He asserts nonviolence's staying power, insisting that the indwelling commitment to struggle for freedom collectively in a spirit of nonviolence became, for many, a lifelong commitment. In the end, what was revolutionary about the nonviolent method was its ability to assert the basic humanity of Black Americans, to undermine racism's dehumanization, and to insist on the right to be. Buy the book:
Apr 7
17 min
EP 259: The Saint Johns Bible, Song of Songs, and Calligraphy w/Jonathan Homrighausen
The illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible have delighted many with their imaginative takes on Scripture. But many struggle to appreciate the calligraphy more deeply than merely noting its beauty. Does calligraphy mean something? How is it beautiful? This book, written by a biblical scholar who has spent years working with this Bible, shows how calligraphic art powerfully interplays visual form, textual content, and creative process. Homrighausen proposes five lenses for this artform: gardens, weaving, pilgrimage, touching, and enfleshing words. Each of these lenses springs from the poetry of the Song of Songs, its illuminations in The Saint John’s Bible, and medieval ways of understanding the scribe’s craft. While these metaphors for calligraphic art draw from this particular illuminated Bible, this book is aimed at all lovers of calligraphy, art, and sacred text. Jonathan Homrighausen, a doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible at Duke University, teaches in Judaic Studies at the College of William & Mary. His research explores the intersection of Hebrew Bible, calligraphic art, and scribal craft. He is the author of Illuminating Justice: The Ethical Imagination of The Saint John's Bible (Liturgical Press, 2018) and articles in Religion and the Arts, Image, Teaching Theology and Religion, Transpositions, and Visual Commentary on Scripture.
Feb 27
43 min
BONUS EPISODE: A Guide to Eating in Buffalo w/Arthur Bovino
Buffalo isn’t just a city full of great wings. There is a great hot dog tradition, from Greek- originated “Texas red hots” to year-round charcoal-grilling at Ted’s that puts Manhattan’s dirty water dogs to shame. This is also a city of great sandwiches. It’s a place where capicola gets layered on grilled sausage, where sautéed dandelions traditionally make up the greens in a comestible called steak- in-the-grass, and chicken fingers pack into soft Costanzo’s sub rolls with Provolone, tomato, lettuce, blue cheese dressing, and Frank’s RedHot Sauce to become something truly naughty. Food and travel writer Arthur Bovino ate his research, taking the reader to the bars, the old-school Polish and Italian-American eateries, the Burmese restaurants, and the new-school restaurants tapping into the region’s rich agricultural bounty. With all this experience under his belt (and stretching it), Bovino has created the essential guide to food in Buffalo. Arthur Bovino is a restaurant, food media, and travel writer. The Daily Meal’s founding Eat/Dine editor, Bovino is a graduate of New York City’s International Culinary Institute. He has appeared on the Today Show and ABC News. Buy the book:
Feb 15
50 min
Ep 258: Metamodernism: The Future of Theory w/Dr. Jason Josephson-Storm
For decades, scholars have been calling into question the universality of disciplinary objects and categories. The coherence of defined autonomous categories—such as religion, science, and art—has collapsed under the weight of postmodern critiques, calling into question the possibility of progress and even the value of knowledge. Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm aims to radicalize and move beyond these deconstructive projects to offer a path forward for the humanities and social sciences using a new model for theory he calls metamodernism. Metamodernism works through the postmodern critiques and uncovers the mechanisms that produce and maintain concepts and social categories. In so doing, Storm provides a new, radical account of society’s ever-changing nature—what he calls a “Process Social Ontology”—and its materialization in temporary zones of stability or “social kinds.” Storm then formulates a fresh approach to philosophy of language by looking beyond the typical theorizing that focuses solely on human language production, showing us instead how our own sign-making is actually on a continuum with animal and plant communication. Storm also considers fundamental issues of the relationship between knowledge and value, promoting a turn toward humble, emancipatory knowledge that recognizes the existence of multiple modes of the real. Metamodernism is a revolutionary manifesto for research in the human sciences that offers a new way through postmodern skepticism to envision a more inclusive future of theory in which new forms of both progress and knowledge can be realized.
Jan 1
56 min
EP 257: The Varieties of Atheism w/Dr. David Newheiser
This episode features a conversation with Dr. David Newheiser, editor of "The Varieties of Atheism."   The Varieties of Atheism reveals the diverse nonreligious experiences obscured by the combative intellectualism of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. In fact, contributors contend that narrowly defining atheism as the belief that there is no god misunderstands religious and nonreligious persons altogether. The essays show that, just as religion exceeds doctrine, atheism also encompasses every dimension of human life: from imagination and feeling to community and ethics. Contributors offer new, expansive perspectives on atheism’s diverse history and possible futures. By recovering lines of affinity and tension between particular atheists and particular religious traditions, this book paves the way for fruitful conversation between religious and non-religious people in our secular age.
Dec 16, 2022
53 min
EP 256: The Magi w/Dr. Eric Vanden Eykel
George Tyrrell insisted that the quest for the historical Jesus was no more than scholars staring into a well to see their own reflections staring back. Jesus is the mirror image of those who study him. A similar phenomenon accompanies the quest for the historical Magi, those mysterious travelers who came from theEast, following a star to Bethlehem. In this work, ancient historian and scholar Eric Vanden Eykel helps readers better understand both the Magi and the ancient and modern interpreters who have tried to study them. He shows how, from a mere twelve verses in the Gospel of Matthew, a varied and vast literary and artistic tradition was born. The Magi examines the birth of the Magi story;its enrichments, embellishments, and expansions in apocryphal writing and early Christian preaching;its artistic expressions in catacombs, icons, and paintings and its modern legacy in novels, poetry, and music. Throughout, the book explores the fascination the Magi story elicits in both ancient and modern readers and what the legacy of the Magi story tells us about its storytellers--and ourselves.
Nov 26, 2022
49 min
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