The Spark of Humanity

April DeConick, professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University, has a great post on how the humanities has sparked many (all?) of us and how we in the humanities can learn a few things from the sciences.

Get Sparked by the Humanities: I don’t buy into the postmodern argument that has killed the author, authorial intent, or meaning, because I realize (this insight is from the sciences) that humans are embodied, and the things that we produce leave our cognitive imprints, and these imprints are bound to cognitive maps from cultural worlds in which the productions were made.  There is no mind, no knowledge, that floats around out there.  Knowledge is made in us and we make it from within the webs of knowledge culturally shared by us in very specific locations.  I will post more on these ideas in later posts.

For now, what I would like to do is to think about Humanities as a spark.  Those of us who became Humanities professors did so because something was sparked in us when we read a poem, saw a vase, studied a text, listened to a piece of music.  Something happened to us when we read Plato, or Josephus, or the Gospel of Thomas, or Dante, or Blake, or Shakespeare.  What?  What sparked you?

To be sure, those of us who have made a conscious choice to go into the humanities were sparked at some point, but I think every one has been sparked by “the humanities” at some point. Realizing our shared humanity does something to us. It changes us forever.

Read all of April’s post and add her to your feed reader. Everything she writes is worth reading. And, think about the things that have sparked you along the way and share them here.

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