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November 2013 Events


01)  Wednesday, November 13 | A Brief History of Lying, 395 - 1723 | Dallas Denery          
02)  Thursday, November 21 | Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance | Muslim Travels and the Making of Tolerance | Nile Green

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Unless otherwise noted, all BCSR events are free and open to the public.

01) A Brief History of Lying, 395 - 1723
Dallas Denery
, Associate Professor of History, Bowdoin College

Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 5-7 pm
370 Dwinell
e Hall, UC Berkeley
Lying plays a surprisingly important part in popular accounts of Europe’s transformation from a medieval or pre-modern to an early modern society. According to these histories, Europe becomes modern when Europeans begin to lie, or, to be more precise, when they begin to argue that it is sometimes licit and virtuous to lie. This story offers a clear trajectory of historical development: a medieval world of faith in which every lie is believed to be sinful gives way to a more worldly, more self-interested early modern society in which lying becomes an acceptable strategy for self-defense and self-advancement. Unfortunately, much of this story is wrong. Not only did medieval writers disagree about the morality of lying, but early modern writers frequently justified mendacity in explicitly religious terms. From Augustine’s late fourth-century treatise, On Lying, to Bernard Mandeville’s controversial 1723 work, The Fable of the Bees; or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, this talk considers the changing role that lies were thought to play in human society.
Dallas G. Denery is an associate professor at Bowdoin College where he specializes in medieval and early modern European intellectual and religious history. His first book, Seeing and Being Seen in the Later Medieval World, examined the connections among thirteenth- and fourteenth-century religious practice, science and theology. While on leave last year at the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, he completed a second book, The Devil Wins:  A History of Lying from the Garden of Eden to the Enlightenment.

02) Berkeley Lecture on Religion Tolerance
Muslim Travels and the Making of Tolerance
Nile Green, Professor of History, UCLA
Thursday, November 21, 2013, 5-7 pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley
How does tolerance come about? And are there particular experiences that help generate it? Taking an historical rather than a theological or apologetic approach, Green’s lecture uses the Urdu and Persian journals written by Afghan, Iranian and Indo-Pakistani travelers to recreate particular Muslim meetings with non-Muslim peoples from distant parts of the planet. These journals reveal how toleration might develop from practical encounters, and suggest that it is in the domain of practice that toleration, Muslim or otherwise, should best be understood.    
A specialist on the Muslim communities of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and the Indian Ocean, Nile Green's research brings Islamic history into conversation with global history.  He is the author of six monographs, including the award-winning Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean (2011). 
The Berkeley Lecture on Religious Tolerance is sponsored by the Endowed Fund for the Study of Religious Tolerance.

The Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion is dedicated to fostering critical and creative scholarship on religion, and to cultivating energetic conversations about religion's place in the world, past, present, and future.

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