Courses for Fall 2017

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Location: Geer Village
Times: ,
Dates: Sep 21 - Oct 26
Sessions: 6

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The Parables of Jesus


***** PLEASE NOTE: THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELED.

Our focus will be on the simple stories of Jesus which have profound meanings. Even people with minimal exposure to the Bible are familiar with these beloved stories, which include the Parables. We will be discussing The Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, The Lost Sheep and The Faithful Steward. Please bring a Bible and your questions. We will use a seminar approach.

Instructor: Richard Taber
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Monday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 11 - Oct 16
Sessions: 6

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Mistaken Identity


This class offers a discussion of mistaken identity in the Bible, Greek tragedy and Roman comedy. The texts will be Genesis (the deception of Isaac and Jacob's stay with Uncle Laban), Sophocles' Oedipus Rex (Lattimore and Grene translation) and Plautus' Menaechmi (Segal translation) . We may also talk about how complications ensue when people try and beat the wrap, everything from Priam and Hecuba sending Paris off to be a shepherd (who then judged the three goddesses, and the rest is history) to Watergate.

Instructor: Marel Rogers
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Monday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 18 - Oct 23
Sessions: 6

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Irving Berlin


Jerome Kern stated: "Irving Berlin has no place in American music -- he is American music.” Irving Berlin (1888-1989) had his first major international hit "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. He wrote for the Broadway stage (17 shows), movie musicals including Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Easter Parade, and White Christmas, as well as hundreds of standards including “Cheek to Cheek”, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody”, and “God Bless America”.
The class will track his biography chronologically, reflecting a changing America from the beginning of the 20th century through his death, with audio and video recordings performed by the many stars for whom he wrote including Ethel Merman, Fred Astaire, Ethel Waters, Judy Garland and Kate Smith.


Instructor: Thomas Gruenewald
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Tuesday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 26 - Oct 31
Sessions: 6

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The Civil War As A Moral and Theological Crisis


At some level, as Lincoln said in his second inaugural address, “all knew” that a moral issue, namely slavery, “was somehow the cause of the war.” In a time when religion was central and many Americans felt confident in their ability to discern God’s purposes, the Civil War presented a theological and moral crisis to people of faith as they struggled with issues of freedom and slavery, the use of the Bible in ethical decision making, the justification for war and its morality, the meaning of death, and God’s providential involvement in human history. This class will take a moral and theological “cut” at this critical period in history, which continues to fascinate and have ongoing significance for American life.


Week 1 – Ways of approaching the Civil War and the reasons for looking at it as a “religious crisis.” Setting the context—The religious character of the ante bellum period. The united search for a Christian America. The countervailing tensions and the divisions of the churches.

Week 2 – The problem of slavery as a moral and political issue. Biblical arguments for and against slavery. Religion and the rise of abolitionism. Emancipation and the transformation of the war to a moral crusade.

Week 3 – Understanding God’s plans and purposes. God’s providence in the face of the war’s successes and failures. Constitutional issues and God’s stake in the nation. Stonewall Jackson as a “case study.” The rise of a “civil” religion.

Week 4 – The Morality of War. Discussions of “just war.” The development of “modern warfare”—total, comprehensive war and the goal of unconditional surrender. Christian practice on the battlefield. Fast Days and revivals.

Week 5 – Dealing with the Magnitude of Suffering and Death. The effort to find meaning in sacrifice and death. Horace Bushnell and the redeemer nation, the worlds “last best hope” purified by suffering. Apocalyptic thinking regarding the war’s purpose. Consecration of cemeteries and the Gettysburg address

Week 6 - Redeemer President. A look at Abraham Lincoln’s own personal religious development. Lincoln’s religio-political theology and views on providence. The significance of the 2nd inaugural address. Lincoln’s death as a religious event. Thinking theologically in the public sphere today.


Instructor: Richard Reifsnyder
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Tuesday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 26 - Nov 7
Sessions: 7

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The Roberts Court, 2016-2017


With the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Roberts Court is one justice short of a commanding conservative bent. Nonetheless, Gorsuch’s addition will be or has already been felt in cases involving the death penalty, workers’ rights, and many other areas. This could well be a pivotal term in the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court, one as significant as that of 1937.

Instructor: Laurance Rand
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Wednesday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 20 - Nov 8
Sessions: 8

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Playreading


This term we will read a collection of fairly modern plays (1944-1975). It will give us a chance to read some well known plays which we may not have seen or read before such as “Waiting for Godot”. Participants are asked to obtain “Nine Plays of the Modern Theatre”, edited and with an introduction by Harold Clurman. Both new and used copies of this book are available on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Plays-Modern-Theater-Rhinoceros/dp/0802150322


Instructor: Rosemary Farnsworth
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Wednesday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 20 - Oct 25
Sessions: 6

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Money: Its Evolution


In God We Trust: It says so on the backside of our currency. That’s all we can hope for. But it’s a triumph of hope over experience.

Since the beginning of the money civilization 2,500 years ago, kings, emperors, popes, presidents and politicians have shafted their subjects. We’ll take a romp through history to see the evolution of “money” from primitive barter trade such as furs for flint or slaves for sex. Then we became sophisticated and learned to trade real things like food and shelter for pieces of green paper backed by an IOU from an organization called the Federal Reserve and if they can’t pay maybe God will help you.

Now we don’t even need the green paper. This is the age of digital money which can be stolen by a teenage hacker sitting on a couch in Belarus, or someplace like New Jersey.

Money: We’ll cover the whole nine yards. Bring a sample and a sense of humor.


Instructor: Jerry Jamin
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Wednesday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 20 - Oct 25
Sessions: 6

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What's Up, Doc?


This course will examine medical advances since 2000, advances that have been extraordinary in their ability to respond to diseases.

Instructor: Lynn Whelchel
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Thursday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 21 - Nov 9
Sessions: 9

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Great Decisions


Topics chosen by the Foreign Policy Association include: European Union; Trade Policy; South China Sea; Saudi Arabia; Geopolitics of Energy; Latin America; Afghanistan/Pakistan; and Nuclear Security. This course continues a partnership with students and faculty from Housatonic Valley Regional High School. All registrants should order the 2017 briefing book ($25) by phone (1-800.477.5836) or online at fpa.org (click on Great Decisions and select order).

Instructor: Instructors Collins-Atwood-Vermilyea
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Friday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 22 - Oct 27
Sessions: 6

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Marginalized Groups in the United States


This course will use documentary films to examine the condition of selected groups of Americans that have been “left in positions of marginal importance, influence and/or power.” Groups will include Native Americans, black Americans, women, and others.

Instructor: Laurance Rand
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