Wednesday, 11 April 2012

What do RRE`s do, besides drinking coffee and doing e-learning?

Sometimes, we RRE`s are invited to lectures where the topic is related to our masters program. When in Lund, the third cycle was invited to an open lecture, where in fact our own professor Troels was speaking. With the permission of Troels we posted the lecture here (scroll down the page). At the same time I would like to remind you that CTR (center for teologi och religionsvetenskap) at Lund University has three open lectures every semester, the next one I believe is the 15.of May, and the speaker is Thomas Hoffmann, who happens to be an RRE-related professor too. The lectures are always in English, and there are refreshments and a chance for a discussion afterwards.

In addition to posting Troels lecture, we of course also have an interview with him, in our series of "5 questions to the professor". To repeat, the questions we asked the professors, in addition to their name, age and association with the program, is:
2. What is your area of expertise? and which courses do you teach in the RREprogram?
3. How do you find the this way of teaching, which is not regular university courses but also not distance learning?
4. What do you expect from your students?
5. If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be and why?

Lets see what Troels replied:

1. Troels Engberg-Pedersen, age 63 (which is in many ways a holy figure: 3 x 3 x 7!), Copenhagen University, academic coordinator ofthe RRE programme in Copenhagen,teacher at the Emergence course.

2. My area of expertise is rather broad: classics, early Christianity, philosophy old and new. Within those areas I have particularly focused on ancient ethics (my first dissertation was on Aristotle’s Ethics, Oxford UP 1983; then I wrote a book on Stoic Ethics, Aarhus UP 1990; then another one in Danish on The Ethical Tradition of Antiquity, Copenhagen 1997) – and then on the relationship between ancient philosophy and the apostle Paul, viewed as a main figure in early Christianity. Here I first focused on the relationship between Paul and Stoic ethics (Paul and the Stoics,Edinburgh/Louisville 2000) and more recently on the relationship between Paul and Stoic physics and cosmology (Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit, Oxfords UP 2010).My basic scientific interest is to understand the various ancient philosophies I have studied and a figure like Paul too as ‘wholes’ – so that one may then compare them with modern ideas.

3. I find the RRE way of teaching both quite taxing and also very stimulating. It’s wonderfulto work with a group of *very* different students from all over the world. Ifind it extremely important that we actually *meet* live, both at the compactseminars and also at the tutorials and thesis colloquium. I am generally amazedby the interest and dedication of the students.

4. I expect what I mostly get: solid, dedicated work + interest in the fundamental issues of religion asa whole. I also expect (and usually get) an interest in the *comparative*aspect of the study of the ancient religions.

5. This is, of course,an impossible question. I would *not* suddenly make people ‘good’since the fact that human beings are not just good is what gives thefundamental shape to our lives and struggle. Perhaps, however, I *would* instil one more drop of realization in human beings that *greed* is bad for everyone, not least the greedy person him-or herself. (I just finished reading a recent, Swedish ‘thriller’by Arne Dahl called ‘Viskleken’, which means ‘whispering game’.It’s overall theme is the devastating global results of unchecked greed.And Dahl writes very well.)

Troels Lecture

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