Gods and Kings: On Earth as it is in Heaven

“You cannot serve God and Mammon.” - Matthew 6:24


“Render unto Caesar things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” - Matthew 22:21


“Our father’s God, to Thee,

Author of Liberty,

To Thee we sing;

Long may our land be bright,

With freedom’s holy light;

Protect us by Thy might,

Great God, our King.” - America, fourth stanza


Through much of civilized history, religious and worldly powers have coexisted, in varying patterns ranging from total cooperation and synthesis to outright hostility. Across this time, many efforts have been made to reconcile the two and bring them into harmony, with varying degrees of success and failure. From China’s “Mandate of Heaven” to the divine right of kings, from Zeus the father to Amaterasu, the goddess mother of Japan and its imperial family, many models have been proposed to connect the here-and-now with the before-and-after. In this seminar, we will examine the relationships between secular structures and divine orders, with particular emphasis on how one is used to explain or justify the other, and the messages both sides have used to explain each in terms of the other. The emphasis will be on how civil societies have viewed and used religion, and how religious establishments have used their influence to shape the views of the same societies.

Venue: The Engineering Center
Meets on: Thursdays 10 AM to noon
Starting: 2/8/2024
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 24
Teaching Style: Lecture with questions
Weekly Preparation: None
Group Leader Biography:

George Meszoly is a graduate of Harvard College in linguistics and Far Eastern languages and of Columbia University in linguistics and Uralic languages.