OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

UNUSUAL OSU SYMPOSIUM TO LOOK AT NATURE AND THE SACRED

10/20/2004

CORVALLIS - Environmental philosophers, Christian, Buddhist and Islamic scholars, a noted astronomer and a Pulitzer Prize-winning Native American author will join forces at Oregon State University Oct. 28-30 for a special symposium examining the relationship between nature and different conceptions of sacredness.

Called "Nature and the Sacred: A Fierce Green Fire," the symposium will be held at LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis. Cost is $90. Registration information and the entire schedule of the symposium is available at http://oregonstate.edu/cla/natureandsacred.

"The symposium is going to be a creative conversation about the relation of nature to the sacred and what that means in our lives," said Charles Goodrich, an instructor with the Spring Creek Project at OSU. "The diversity of our speakers is exceptional. Experiencing their wisdom and their insights will be inspiring."

Leading off the symposium will be a lecture Thursday at 7 p.m. by N. Scott Momaday, one of the country's leading Native American scholars and authors, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, "House Made of Dawn."

Presenters on Friday and Saturday include:

  • Marcus Borg, the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture at OSU and one of the nation's foremost biblical and historical Jesus scholars;

     

  • Joanna Macy, a leading peace activist and Buddhist scholar who wrote "Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age";

     

  • Kathleen Dean Moore, a distinguished professor of philosophy at OSU, an award-winning author and director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word;

     

  • Seyyid Hossein Nasr, a professor of Islam studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and one of the world's foremost scholars of Islam;

     

  • Chet Raymo, an astronomer and professor of physics at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, and a science columnist for the Boston Globe.

On Friday evening, Raymo will read from his works on astronomy in tandem with a performance by the Corvallis-OSU Symphony. The concert, says Goodrich, will be a "feast for the ears, the mind, the eyes, the heart."

"Imagine Haydn's 'Oratorio' along with readings in celebration of creation by astronomer Chet Raymo and images from the Hubble telescope of explosions at the beginning of time," Goodrich said. "Then, for the grand finale, the world premier of 'In the Beginning,' (OSU professor) Michael Coolen's piece for orchestra, choir and universe - it will be an exceptional evening of science, music and poetry."

The symposium will conclude on Saturday with a celebration of action on behalf of nature, Goodrich said. Saturday's program, "Catching Fire: Vision into Action," is free and open to the public. It will include readings by writers Susan Zwinger, John Daniel, Robin Kimmerer and others; a performance and workshop by African drumming group Common Pulse; a nature writing workshop; musical performances and poetry readings; mask making; and information tables and displays.