History and Culture Courses

Fall 2016


An Introduction to the U.S. Constitution

This course will discover how the federal government was formed by the adoption, by the Continental Congress, of the Articles of Confederation. Students will explore the shortcomings and defects of the Articles, and how those led to the development of the Constitutional Congress' call for a Constitutional Convention. The proceedings of the convention, and the debates that ensued after the new Constitution was offered for ratification, will also be discussed. The Bill of Rights' origin and passage will be visited briefly, and the various sections of the Constitution and their interpretations by court systems, will also be addressed.

Fee: $80 Senior Adult Fee: $48 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-518-C | 09/12/16-10/31/16 | J. Warner | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Jewish Scriptures: Their Origin, Greek Version, Apocrypha, and Early Christian Uses

Attend this intriguing new series from Dr. Karen Gray. Through four different sessions, students will examine the roots and formation of the Jewish canon, its versions, and the various uses Christians made of Jewish sacred writings. The course will also include selections from non-canonical writings treasured by the Hebrew people, and the adaptation and incorporation of Jewish writings into Christian doctrines is considered.

Fee: $87 Senior Adult Fee: $52 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-527-C | 09/28/16-12/07/16 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Origins of Jewish Scriptures

This course considers from where the writings that came to be regarded as sacred by the Hebrew people originated. It surveys the relationship of oral to written texts, the redactions made during the centuries before scribes sought to freeze them in immutable form, and how the canon of what would be regarded as the most sacred texts formed.

Fee: $22 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-528-C | 09/28/16-09/28/16 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


The Septuagint

The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the sacred Hebrew texts made in Egypt in 300-200 BC, and this presentation surveys the history and reason for its making, and what is known today of the quality of the translation and the sources in the possession of the translators. Dr. Gray looks at some of the details learned about Hebrew scripture in general, and the Septuagint in particular, from the Septuagint manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Fee: $22 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-529-D | 10/19/16-10/19/16 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Jewish Apocrypha and Other Non-Canonical Writings

This course reviews works that were treasured by the Hebrew people. Many of these writings were prophetical works from post-exile Judaism. Dr. Gray also provides an overview of the Book of Enoch, and the complex Enochian tradition, and its literature. As well as providing background information, this class includes selections from these fascinating works.

Fee: $22 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-531-E | 11/16/16-11/16/16 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Early Christian Uses of Jewish Scriptures

This course explores Christian sources for and versions of Jewish religious writings used, in particular, by New Testament authors and the Church Fathers. How Christians understood and adapted Jewish writings to their own doctrines and teachings is considered. Furthermore, texts of particularly great importance to Christian theology are selected for special attention, and discussed.

Fee: $22 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-532-F | 12/07/16-12/07/16 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


The Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692

These infamous trials have been described as our "national crackup" en route to the United States Constitution. It is one of the seminal episodes in colonial American history where the central roles are held by women and girls. In this program, we'll discuss the background of witchcraft in Europe and the New England colonies, particularly Puritan Massachusetts Bay, where the trials occurred. We'll cover the roles of religion, culture, war, and economics as possible background causes for the hysteria produced. Husbands accused their wives; children accused adults; neighbors accused neighbors. We'll cover the immediate causes; the trials themselves, and the results, which included the executions of fourteen women and five men. We'll also learn how and why these trials came to an abrupt ending, and the role that witchcraft plays in a society.

Fee: $68 Senior Adult Fee: $46 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-535-D | 10/11/16-10/25/16 | R. Swartz | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Slavery in Colonial America

In this class, we'll investigate why and how Native American nations enslaved their own and other ethnic groups. We'll learn how American colonies, particularly Massachusetts and South Carolina, accelerated the enslavement of Native Americans. We'll also discover why European colonies in the Caribbean used Native Americans as slaves. We'll cover why certain agricultural crops grown in America and the Caribbean, such as tobacco, rice, and sugar cane, was labor intensive; and employed task and gang labor. Finally, we'll see why these regions enslaved Africans, and investigate the relationships between Native Americans and African-Americans.

Fee: $68 Senior Adult Fee: $46 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-536-C | 09/13/16-09/27/16 | R. Swartz | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


The 1778 Rhode Island Campaign in the American Revolution

The military campaign involved key figures of the American Revolution, such as Nathaniel Greene and George Washington. It was unique in that its geography included the mainland, islands, and open sea--even a hurricane--spanning New York to Boston. It included the country's first fully integrated regiment of African-Americans and Native Americans. For the first time it involved the Franco-American Alliance of 1778. We'll review failed attempts to wrest control of Rhode Island from the British prior to 1778; we'll ascertain how our government, under the Articles of Confederation, contributed to failure. We'll cover the main events and why they also failed. We'll discover how the foreign alliance with France was quickly frayed by US General John Sullivan, commander of American forces for this campaign, and how said alliance was subsequently repaired.

Fee: $68 Senior Adult Fee: $46 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-537-E | 11/15/16-11/29/16 | R. Swartz | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Winter 2017


An Introduction to the U.S. Constitution

This course will discover how the federal government was formed by the adoption, by the Continental Congress, of the Articles of Confederation. Students will explore the shortcomings and defects of the Articles, and how those led to the development of the Constitutional Congress' call for a Constitutional Convention. The proceedings of the convention, and the debates that ensued after the new Constitution was offered for ratification, will also be discussed. The Bill of Rights' origin and passage will be visited briefly, and the various sections of the Constitution and their interpretations by court systems, will also be addressed.

Fee: $80 Senior Adult Fee: $48 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-518-G | 01/23/17-03/13/17 | J. Warner | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Benedict Arnold: From Hero to Traitor

In this program, we'll cover the personal and professional military components of Arnold's life, and how these intertwined. We'll concentrate on the military successes of Arnold during the American Revolution that made him a hero. We'll discuss the reasons why Arnold turned into a British traitor. We'll also focus upon the British loyalists that contributed to his reputation as a turncoat, including John Andre, and his aide in central Pennsylvania, Samuel Wallis. We'll discover the roles that Peggy Shippen, his wife, performed in his defection to the British cause. Finally, we'll learn about Arnold's activities after his attempt to give up West Point to the British in 1780.

Fee: $94 Senior Adult Fee: $64 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-542-M | 03/07/17-03/28/17 | R. Swartz | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


The Beaver Wars, 1609-1701

These wars changed the landscape for both Indian nations and European colonies in 17th century Northeastern America. These changes were geographical, cultural, and political. In this program we'll examine the overall causes of the wars as well as the causes of each major war that involved Native American nations, New France, New Netherlands, and the northern British colonies, including Maryland and Pennsylvania. Well discuss the major events and results of each war and their overall impact. We'll learn how the Iroquois - The League of Nations - became the balance of power between France and Great Britain in the 18th century.

Fee: $94 Senior Adult Fee: $64 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-543-G | 01/24/17-02/14/17 | R. Swartz | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


The History and Literature of Iceland

This four lecture series is intended to run on one Wednesday morning a month from Feb. 22 to May 24 and to provide an overview of the four major eras of Icelandic history and the literature produced in each.Iceland has an outsized history and literature for its small size and remote location. In these PowerPoint-illustrated presentations, Dr. Gray explores the settlement, early government, era of subjugation, and startling modern emergence as a leader in literacy and publishing. Presentations include powerful selections from Icelandic writings that range from its medieval sagas to the work of its Nobel Prize winning author, Halldór Laxness. The presentations include a two-hour lecture period with a ten minute break in the middle followed by a half hour for discussion that will be extended for those wishing to remain longer.

Fee: $87 Senior Adult Fee: $52 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-544-H | 02/22/17-05/24/17 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Settlement of Iceland

A part of migration in the Viking era, Iceland's settlement was both late and uniquely documented in its medieval literature. In this lecture Dr. Gray discusses the forces contributing to its settlement, the original settlers, and the early pattern of settlement - with selections from Icelandic writings both old and new that reveal this colorful history.

Fee: $22 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-545-H | 02/22/17-02/22/17 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register


Iceland's Saga Era and Their Writing

Encompassing both the time in which the saga stories are set and the somewhat later period when they were written, emphasis in this presentation is placed on Iceland's early independence, including the development of it parliament and commonwealth form of government. Included are readings from the Gragas-Iceland's early legal literature.

Fee: $22 Registration Fee: $8

DIS-546-M | 03/22/17-03/22/17 | K. Gray | Check WebAdvisor for course details and Register