Great Learning, a Festival, and Aquinas and Islam

The Great Learning (in Chinese Daxue), a very brief and poetic treatise, has been the cornerstone of Far Eastern social organisation and politics for thousands of years. The impact of its deep yet simple message over the centuries is immeasurable. Follow this link to read and listen to our original recordings of this jewel of wisdom.

From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything.

“The World of Islam Festival” was opened in London in 1976 by Queen Elizabeth II. Last year, the celebrations of its 40th anniversary included a talk by Ahmed Paul Keeler which we are happy to make available. It conveys directly the spirit of a cultural event whose many repercussions are still at work today.

• We complete our selection with “Thomas Aquinas and Islam”, a theological article by David B. Burrell C.S.C., explaining how St. Thomas’ classical synthesis of Christian philosophical theology was already an interfaith achievement, in a time when interculturality seemed rather to be the norm than the exception.

[Thomas] takes the opportunity of the objections to plumb more deeply what we already believe as Christians… his overall strategy with respect to other faiths is: we can learn from their questions better ways to elucidate our own set of beliefs.

A final reminder for next week lectures by Gray Henry: Monday on “Thomas Merton and Sufism”, and Tuesday on “The Spiritual Significance of the Defended Portal in World Art and Architecture According to A.K. Coomaraswamy”.

Your attention is also drawn to a September concert, the world premiere of one of Sir John Tavener’s works at Balliol College, Oxford.