Classes

EarthDiverse is pleased to announce its 2019 Term 1 class offerings for Hamilton. In 2019, there are two distinct series of classes, one introductory, offered in the morning, while the second series explores contemporary issues in diversity, and is an evening class.

DISCOVERING RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY series:

Exploring the diverse belief traditions contributing to New Zealand society

Each Term meets Thursday mornings from 10:00am-12:30pm beginning on 14 February and runs for eight-weeks.

TERM 1: “History & Development of the Western Religious Traditions” (Feb-April)

This eight-week course begins with “An Evolutionary History of Religion and Religious Behaviour” which encompasses the dawn of early human spirituality through to the emergence of polytheism and the Neolithic Revolution. Week 2 focuses on the rise of monotheism in Ancient Mesopotamia (including Zoroastrianism). In subsequent weeks, we will explore the history and development of the Western religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

TERM 2: “History & Development of the Eastern Religious Traditions” (May-June)

In this Term, we look at the rise of the Indus Valley Civilisation and the Eastern religious traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism.

TERM 3: “Contemporary Practice: Selected Topics 1” (August-September)

Week 1: Founder Figures; Week 2: Sacred Texts; Week 3: Image and Iconography; Week 4: Sacred Time: Cosmology, Creation Myths, Calendars, Holy Days & Festivals; Week 5: Sacred Spaces; Week 6: Prayer and Worship; Week 7: Food and Ritual; and Week 8: Sacred Clothing.

TERM 4: “Contemporary Practice: Selected Topics 2” (October-December)

Week 1: Sacred Music; Week 2: Rites of Passage: Birth and Coming of Age Ceremonies; Week 3: Rites of Passage: Marriage; Week 4: Asceticism and Renunciation; Week 5: Sacred Journeys and Pilgrimage; Week 6: Going Beyond: Esoteric Traditions & Mystical Experiences; Week 7: Rites of Passage: Death and Bereavement; Week 8: Interfaith dialogue. 

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN RELIGION series:

This stream focuses on special topics and will address different issues/topics each Term. Future Term classes are currently in development and may focus on Sacred Texts, Esoteric Traditions and Mystical Experiences, New Religious Movements, Religion and Film, Faith & Feminism, and Religion & Art. Stay tuned for new class offerings!

Each Term meets Thursday evenings from 7:00pm-9:30pm beginning on 14 February and runs for eight-weeks.

TERM 1: “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism” (Feb-April)

This eight-week course involves a detailed study of the history, context and contemporary issues of religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism in all of the world’s main faith and belief traditions. We’ll explore the differences between these terms and view, in detail, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh fundamentalism and extremism. 

TERM 2: “Other ‘isms’” (May-June)

This Term we’ll look at a wider variety of religions and belief systems, including: the Indian traditions of Sikhism and Jainism, the Chinese religious traditions (Folk religion, Taoism, Confucianism, and Chinese Buddhism), followed by an exploration of the Japanese religious traditions (Shinto, Shingon, Tendai, Nichiren and Zen Buddhism), the Bahá’í Faith, and the moral and ethical secular ideologies of Atheism, Agnosticism, Rationalism and Humanism. 

Term 3: To be announced

Term 4: To be announced

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

SOME BRIEF NOTES ON OUR CLASS OFFERINGS

• All classes are taught from an objective point of view. These are classes about religion and religious behavior, taught from an anthropological point of view, and are designed for participants to get a greater understanding of the depth and scope of the diversity that exists within the world’s various faith and belief traditions. 

• Detailed Syllabi are available at the start of each Term. 

• Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses. 

• All classes encourage questions and group discussion. There are no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams. PDF copies of each class presentation are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

• Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break in the middle of each session.

• There are no refunds for missed classes.

• Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.

• Certificates of Completion for any particular Term or for an entire Series of classes are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series. 

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

Tauranga class (14 Dec 2018), from left to right: Rev. John Hebenton, Kevin Nichol, Helen Carey, Sue Reynolds, Alison Carey, Betty Atkinson, Viv Whimster, Bhadra Dasi Reid, Dianne Sundberg, Paula Simons, Carole Spice, Ngaire Southon, Dr Tod Nachowitz. Missing from photo: Cliff Simons, Mary Rose, Leigh Sundberg and Margaret Birtles.

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

CLASS TIMES & LOCATION:

All Hamilton classes meet on Thursdays, as follows:

•The Discovering Religious Diversity series meets Thursday mornings from 10:00-12:30pm.

•The Contemporary Issues in Religion series meets Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:30pm. 

Term 1 dates: begin Thur 14 Feb, and end Thur 4 Apr 2019 (8 weeks)

Term 2 dates: begin Thur 2 May, and end Thur 6 Jun 2019 (6 weeks)

Term 3 dates: begin Thur 1 Aug, and end Thur 19 Sep 2019 (8 weeks)

Term 4 dates: begin Thur 17 Oct, and end Thur 5 Dec 2019 (8 weeks)

Classes are held in the Conference Room at Artmakers, Norris Ward Park Arts Centre, 2 Seddon Road, Hamilton. The carpark entrance is off Seddon Road at the back of Norris Ward Park. The classroom is immediately to the left of the Waikato Society of Potters studio. There is plenty of free parking available in the carpark just outside the classroom.

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

COST PER CLASS PER TERM:

Waged: $100/person

Unwaged/Student/Senior: $80/person

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

TO REGISTER:

For the time being, please email your full name, email address and contact details, along with the class or series you are interested in registering for (i.e. Western Religious Traditions AND/OR Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism, to: <registration@earthdiverse.org.nz> to receive a registration form and payment details. Online registration and payment will be available very soon.

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

Hamilton class participant John Vreede tries on a Jewish tallit or prayer shawl

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

LECTURER:

All classes are taught by Todd Nachowitz, PhD. Todd has been a part-time lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Waikato where he taught introductory courses on Comparative Religion; Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism; Religion in Secular Society; and Islam. Todd has a Masters Degree in Development Anthropology from Syracuse University in upstate New York (1991) and a PhD from the University of Waikato (2015) in Political Science and Public Policy where he worked on issues of diversity governance. Prior to settling in New Zealand in 1995, Todd lived and worked in the United States, India, Pakistan and Nepal. He spent 11 years in South Asia as the Academic Director of university study-abroad programmes in Varanasi, India (for the University of Wisconsin-Madison); Lahore, Pakistan (for the University of California-Berkeley); and Kathmandu, Nepal (for School for International Training, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, USA) that focused on language, culture and religion. Todd speaks Hindu and Urdu, and is a specialist in comparative world religions and the history, religions, languages and cultures of South Asia. Todd’s most recent research and publications involve religious diversity, the Indian diaspora, and the history and development of multiculturalism in New Zealand. He is a founding member of the Religious Diversity Centre, based in Auckland, and is a member of the Executive Committees of both the Waikato Jewish Association and the Waikato Interfaith Council. 

Dr Todd Nachowitz, Humayan’s Tomb, New Delhi, India, February 2015.

Learn about the history, development and contemporary practice of the world’s major religions throughout 2019. Each Term has a different focus and covers different material. Terms 1 and 2 focus on the history and development of each of the world’s main faith and belief traditions, while Terms 3 and 4 focus on Selected Topics in the Contemporary Practice of each of the major world religions. In the first half of the year, we will explore the Western Traditions in Term 1 and the Eastern Traditions in Term 2. In the second half of the year, we will look at selected topics in the contemporary practice of religion, focusing on a different topic during each class, and viewing how each religion approaches that particular topic. Structuring discussions in this way allows us to focus on the similarities between the major world religions rather than on any perceived differences. Terms 3 & 4 focus on a comparative examination of the contemporary values and practices of the major world religions, and involve a critical exploration of lifecycle rituals and beliefs, from birth to death, food and clothing preferences, festivals and other activities associated with what religions do.

SOME COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS CLASS EVALUATIONS:

  • The lecturer taught with great care and sensitivity towards all religious and cultural beliefs. This course unpacks knowledge that is applicable to our social well-being. I enjoyed the paper and all the enthusiasm from the lecturer. Thank you!
  • This course was very interesting and stimulating. Dr Nachowitz has an effective teaching style, and his passion for the subject was evident in every lesson. I hope you continue to teach this so that others can have an opportunity to benefit from it like me. Thank you for a wonderful class. 
  • I suggest everyone should take the opportunity to do this course. It has given me a better understanding of the different religions and beliefs.
  • I loved everything about it. Every religion is very interesting.
  • Outstanding teacher with magnificent stories/experiences to share.
  • I especially loved all the things he brought in to show us. Explained in a way that was easy to understand.
  • The Discovering Religious Diversity series of classes was both fascinating and very instructive. Each week a highly informative and visually interesting powerpoint was used to present the various topics as they related to the major faith traditions. Todd’s anecdotes based on his years of academic research and teaching, as well as living in South Asia for over a decade, helped bring the information to life. The class consisted of people of all ages, including students, educators, ministers of religion and others simply interested in broadening their knowledge about faith traditions. —Ruth Cleaver (President, Auckland Inter-faith Council)
  • I really like Todd’s approach, to select topics for each evening and look at how each religion expresses that particular topic. As he has said this tends to draw out the similarities between the various religions rather than the differences. As a minister of Universal Worship, coming from a Sufi and interfaith perspective, I appreciate this approach very much. —Sirr Christoffersen (Auckland class participant)
  • A superb course for a deeper and exciting understanding into the rich spiritualities in different major religions of the world. Educational course contents and very helpful Sources and References for deeper understanding are given. An indispensable course for interfaith dialogue geared towards a more comprehensive religious approach for world peace. Doctor Todd is a friendly teacher and an effective tour guide into the course. It was once believed that true Biblical Prophets feel the world with the passion of God. That’s how Dr Todd guides us into the subject matter of the Course. —Rev Danny Ioka (Auckland)
  • Todd is a well prepared teacher. Thorough in his knowledge and has rich personal experience of major world religions to draw from. Very enjoyable so much that I will enrol for another term. —Philomena Clare (Auckland)
  • This course is a gem, more people need to know about it. —Hamilton 2017 course participant
  • Todd’s course was like a family gathering. That was one of the reasons it was such fun. Thank you. —Hugh Oliver (Hamilton 2018 Term 3 & Term 4 course participant)
  • This class has been the highlight of my week. Thank you for your gifts of making theology interesting and facilitating us to make connections between the traditions we have been introduced to. —John Aston (Auckland 2018 Terms 1-4 course participant)
  • Thank you for a great year of learning. I loved the sessions and will spread the word to others. —Mariette Poortman (Hamilton 2018 Terms 1-4 course participant)
  • Great year, great lessons, great edification! —Bhadra Dasi (Tauranga 2018 Terms 1-4 course participant)
  • This course expanded my knowledge base and the interaction invited me into more understanding and appreciation of otherness – only to discover (yet again) that ‘yes, there is much diversity’ and ‘yes, we share so much in common’ (Discovering Religious Diversity class participant, Jan 2019)
  • We took a journey every Thursday without leaving the room, with everyone contributing. Todd drew us all in. (Discovering Religious Diversity Hamilton class participant, Jan 2019)
  • Todd is an excellent tutor, who can teach by personal experience and easily explain subjects (Discovering Religious Diversity class participant, Jan 2019)
  • Todd’s one of very few people who you’d go to hear no matter what subject he talked about. I’d go to hear him talk about paint drying (Discovering Religious Diversity class participant, Jan 2019)