Encountering Chinese Traditions

Conversation with Mark Berkson, Ph.D.

Date & Time:

Thursday, March 8, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Thursday, March 8, 2018, 12:00 noon


free and open to the public


McNeely Hall, room 100
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN


refreshments and cookies provided; please bring your own lunch

Mark Berkson, Ph.D.

Mark Berkson, Ph.D.

This session is part seven of an eight part series running through the 2017-2018 academic year titled Encountering Religious and Cultural Traditions: A Series Fostering Religious Literacy and Interreligious Understanding. In this session, Mark Berkson will teach about the lived experience of Daoism and Confucianism as well as address some common misconceptions and stereotypes people have about these traditions.

Renowned scholar of religion Wilfred Cantwell Smith argued that in order to “understand Buddhists, we must not look at something called Buddhism but at the world so far as possible through Buddhist eyes.” Likewise, in order to understand Judaism, Hinduism, and so on, we must not look at Judaism, Hinduism and so on, but at the worldviews of Jews, Hindus, and so on. In his New York Times Bestseller, Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero writes “I am convinced that one needs to know something about the world’s religions in order to be truly educated,” and argues that “you need religious literacy in order to be an effective citizen.” This year-long series aims to foster religious literacy and interreligious understanding by examining the world through the eyes of religious scholars and practitioners from various traditions. They will share their own lived experiences of their traditions and also address common stereotypes and misconceptions. 

Mark Berkson, Ph.D. is professor and chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University. His work on Confucian and Daoist thought has appeared in numerous books and journals. His lecture series for the Great Courses, Cultivating Literacy for Religion, was released in 2012 and Death, Dying, and the Afterlife: Lessons from World Cultures was released in 2016.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.

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