EC colloquium series set for divine opening

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

The Eureka College Faculty Colloquium Series will kick off at 3:15 p.m. Sept. 23 with “Divine Knowledge in the Select Discourses of John Smith, Queens’ College, Cambridge, 1660” by former Eureka College religion instructor Joseph Cunningham.

Cunningham’s presentation at Melick Library will center on John Smith, a lesser-known figure in 17th-century philosophy and theology who was associated with the Platonic Renaissance at Cambridge University in the mid-1600s.

“Smith’s writings had an impact on how divine knowledge, or religious experience, was understood during the Enlightenment period of the 18th century,” Cunningham said. “In his ‘Select Discourses’ Smith suggests that divine knowledge is distinct from categories and doctrines about the divine, but it’s more closely connected with spiritual sense, contemplation and virtue. My interest in Smith is part of a broader interest in the relationship between reason and religion in the West during the 17th and 18th centuries and how that relationship has been understood and received throughout the modern era.”

Cunningham was a visiting professor at Eureka College from 2010 to 2013.

He teaches philosophy and religion at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Mich., and is an assistant editor of the journal “Wesley and Methodist Studies” published annually by the Manchester Wesley Research Centre and the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History.

Other colloquiums by Eureka College faculty members this academic year will be:

• “How You Do Simple Things: Using the Alexander Technique to Focus on Process” by theater professor Holly Rocke, Dec. 2.

• “On Soren Kierkegaard’s Either/Or” by associate professor of mathematics Prabhu Venkataraman Jan. 20.

• “Anatomy of an Epidemic: The Ebola Virus” by Provost Dan Blankenship March 30.

The colloquiums take place at 3:15 p.m. in the Gammon Room in Melick Library. They are free and open to the public. For more information, contact colloquiums coordinator Erika Quinn at 467-6417.