Proof and Possibility: Next Up

This just in from Jesse Abbot, the upcoming Proof and Possibility session:

The Tunxis Humanities Department and Seekers & Sophists, the Tunxis Philosophy Club, Present:

Proof & Possibility 2008-2009

A Series of Talks in Philosophy and the History of Ideas

Monday, December 1st, 7p.m.

Rooms 6-127 and 6-128 (Adjacent to the Cybercafé)

Part 1:

The Incursion of Divine Presence: Fate and Its Implications in Homer’s Odyssey and Greco-Roman Religion

A Reading and Lecture

Charles Stein, PhD

Homer’s signature treatment of the subject of fate in his Odyssey—sometimes a process taking place by the agency of the Olympian gods and other times something to which the gods themselves are beholden—is a fruitful point of departure for a broad range of studies in the philosophy of religion. Reading key passages from his own new translation of the Odyssey, Stein will then describe how this dimension of the poem sets the stage for the eventual focus on liberation from fate in Hellenistic and Greco-Roman religious settings. Texts and practices as diverse as the Chaldean oracles, Hellenistic astrology, Gnosticism and early Christianity are important landmarks in this development.

What we could call the “theology of fate and ontology of narrative” strikes at the center of questions regarding what it means for any of us to be alive and participants in a greater story than we can imagine.

Opening Presentation: Homer, Hierophany, Hypertext

Jesse Abbot

The frequent appearance of gods in the Homeric poems has been reduced to simple entertainment, fancy. . .even psychotic hallucination. But what if the cadences and other effects of poetic structure served as a kind of hypertext that ushered in valid Olympian epiphanies? This meditation in the poetics of the philosophy of religion reexamines our assumptions about truth claims in religion in light of the dual function of poetry to distract and focus the mind.


Dr. Charles Stein is a poet and independent scholar of considerable accomplishment. The author of eleven books of poetry. he studied ancient Greek at Columbia University and received a doctorate in literature from The University of Connecticut. Published just weeks ago, his major new verse translation of Homer’s Odyssey is already gaining recognition in academic and literary circles alike. He has also received favorable critical attention for his exploration of the Eleusinian Mysteries, Persephone Unveiled (North Atlantic Books, 2006), which includes his translations of The Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the extant writings of Parmenides.

Jesse Abbot is Assistant Professor of English and Philosophy at Tunxis Community College. His writings on philosophical and religious topics have appeared in Parabola, Gnosis: A Journal of the Western Inner Traditions, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and elsewhere.

Thursday, February 19th – Part 2

Quantum Mechanics and Spooky Action at a Distance

Barry Loewer, PhD

Chair of Philosophy, Rutgers University