260 episodes

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!

The Classical Ideas Podcast Gregory Soden

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.8 • 88 Ratings

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 258: Metamodernism: The Future of Theory w/Dr. Jason Josephson-Storm

    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.

    • 56 min
    EP 257: The Varieties of Atheism w/Dr. David Newheiser

    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.

    • 53 min
    EP 256: The Magi w/Dr. Eric Vanden Eykel

    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.

    • 49 min
    EP 255: Preparing for War w/Dr. Bradley Onishi

    EP 255: Preparing for War w/Dr. Bradley Onishi

    https://www.bradonishi.com/
    The insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, was not a blip or an aberration. It was the logical outcome of years of a White evangelical subculture's preparation for war. Religion scholar and former insider Bradley Onishi maps the origins of White Christian nationalism and traces its offshoots in Preparing for War.
    Combining his own experiences in the youth groups and prayer meetings of the 1990s with an immersive look at the steady blending of White grievance politics with evangelicalism, Onishi crafts an engrossing account of the years-long campaign of White Christian nationalism that led to January 6. How did the rise of what Onishi calls the New Religious Right, between 1960 and 2015, give birth to violent White Christian nationalism during the Trump presidency and beyond? What propelled some of the most conservative religious communities in the country--communities of which Onishi was once a part--to ignite a cold civil war?
    Through chapters on White supremacy and segregationist theologies, conspiracy theories, the Christian-school movement, purity culture, and the right-wing media ecosystem, Onishi pulls back the curtain on a subculture that birthed a movement and has taken a dangerous turn. In taut and unsparing prose, Onishi traces the migration of many White Christians to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in what is known as the American Redoubt. Learning the troubling history of the New Religious Right and the longings and logic of White Christian nationalism is deeply alarming. It is also critical for preserving the shape of our democracy for years to come.

    • 51 min
    EP 254: Epictetus and Stoicism w/Robin Waterfield

    EP 254: Epictetus and Stoicism w/Robin Waterfield

    Robin Waterfield is an independent scholar and translator living in southern Greece. In addition to thirty volumes of translations of works of Greek literature, he is the author of numerous books, ranging from children’s fiction to Greek history, most recently The Making of a King, also published by the University of Chicago Press
    The complete surviving works of Epictetus, the most influential Stoic philosopher from antiquity.

    “Some things are up to us and some are not.”
     
    Epictetus was born into slavery around the year 50 CE, and, upon being granted his freedom, he set himself up as a philosophy teacher. After being expelled from Rome, he spent the rest of his life living and teaching in Greece. He is now considered the most important exponent of Stoicism, and his surviving work comprises a series of impassioned discourses, delivered live and recorded by his student Arrian, and the Handbook, Arrian’s own take on the heart of Epictetus’s teaching.
     
    In Discourses, Epictetus argues that happiness depends on knowing what is in our power to affect and what is not. Our internal states and our responses to events are up to us, but the events themselves are assigned to us by the benevolent deity, and we should treat them—along with our bodies, possessions, and families—as matters of indifference, simply making the best use of them we can.
    Together, the Discourses and Handbook constitute a practical guide to moral self-improvement, as Epictetus explains the work and exercises aspirants need to do to enrich and deepen their lives. Edited and translated by renowned scholar Robin Waterfield, this book collects the complete works of Epictetus, bringing to modern readers his insights on how to cope with death, exile, the people around us, the whims of the emperor, fear, illness, and much more.

    • 37 min
    EP 253: Heathen w/Dr. Kathryn Gin Lum

    EP 253: Heathen w/Dr. Kathryn Gin Lum

    If an eighteenth-century parson told you that the difference between "civilization and heathenism is sky-high and star-far," the words would hardly come as a shock. But that statement was written by an American missionary in 1971. In a sweeping historical narrative, Kathryn Gin Lum shows how the idea of the heathen has been maintained from the colonial era to the present in religious and secular discourses--discourses, specifically, of race.
    Americans long viewed the world as a realm of suffering heathens whose lands and lives needed their intervention to flourish. The term "heathen" fell out of common use by the early 1900s, leading some to imagine that racial categories had replaced religious differences. But the ideas underlying the figure of the heathen did not disappear. Americans still treat large swaths of the world as "other" due to their assumed need for conversion to American ways. Purported heathens have also contributed to the ongoing significance of the concept, promoting solidarity through their opposition to white American Christianity. Gin Lum looks to figures like Chinese American activist Wong Chin Foo and Ihanktonwan Dakota writer Zitkála-Sá, who proudly claimed the label of "heathen" for themselves.
    Race continues to operate as a heathen inheritance in the United States, animating Americans' sense of being a world apart from an undifferentiated mass of needy, suffering peoples. Heathen: Religion and Race in American History (Harvard UP, 2022) thus reveals a key source of American exceptionalism and a prism through which Americans have defined themselves as a progressive and humanitarian nation even as supposed heathens have drawn on the same to counter this national myth.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
88 Ratings

88 Ratings

Yujiro Seki ,

Educational Inspiring and irresistible...

Consistently educational, rich in content, the purpose to make the world more peaceful and compassionate through promoting religious literary around the world, Greg Soden’s inspiring series the Classical Ideas Podcast is an amazing piece of work that you don’t want to miss! 1000 thumbs up!

Oranckay ,

27 mins in, still don’t know what I’d learn from author’s book

I’m twenty seven minutes into “EP 189: The Lives of Objects w/Maia Kotrosits,” author of _ The Lives of Objects: Material Culture, Experience, and the Real in the History of Early Christianity_ and it's still unclear exactly what one would learn by reading the book. They talk about the author’s background for eleven minutes, then why she wrote the book, then about material culture in general. Twenty seven minutes in and still not the slightest hint what if anything the book has to say about how any of it relates to early Christianity. I give up.

FireShield95 ,

Too political

It's an interesting and informative podcast, covering a variety of religions. However, I wish the host would not bring up his political beliefs. If the guests want to bring up theirs, that's fine, but hosts of educational podcasts should leave their own beliefs out of it.

It's also noticeable that of all of the guests that have brought up their political beliefs are left-wing like the host. I wonder if the host will ever interview someone who does not share his political beliefs. He's clearly interested in understanding different religious beliefs, but doesn't seem interested in understanding why people might hold different political beliefs, and gives the typical left-wing strawman representations of different political beliefs.

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