Someone asked me why suddenly there was a page link on the top banner devoted to Job. They thought at first I was looking for a job! But no, last week I led a couple of seminars on the Book of Job from the Hebrew Bible. I was invited to talk to the students of the local Clemente Course. Never heard of Clemente?
The Clemente Course in the Humanities® is a unique educational institution founded in 1995 to teach the humanities at the college level to people living in economic distress.
The course works in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges and universities on five continents. Students learn through dialogue about moral philosophy, literature, history, art history, critical thinking, and writing.
More than ten thousand students worldwide have attended a Clemente course, and over fifty percent have successfully completed it.
The aim of the course is to bring the clarity and beauty of the humanities to people who have been deprived of these riches through economic, social, or political forces. While the course is not intended as preparation for college, many students have gone on to two- and four-year colleges.
There is no tuition; books are provided, and the college credits offered in most courses are readily transferable to other institutions.
In addition to free tuition and books, access to child care and transportation is provided without charge.
It was an interesting gig! I found the students were interested and interesting and they had little trouble joining in the conversation. I remember one middle-aged man who, after reading the prologue, burst out with “What kind of God is that!”
Take a look at my Reading the Bible for a chapter on Job (free!) and for two of William Blake’s marvelous plates – a sort of before and after picture of Job and his family. I always remember when I first studied the book and my prof pointed out that Blake had given God, Satan, and Job the same face.
When I was still teaching I always had “teacher dreams” before each semester began – me in a large lecture hall but . . . all by myself! Or, behind a lectern ready to pontificate to a full house when all the students get up and leave! Well, I had a nice long dream in honour of this teaching assignment. I was outside the dean’s office and heard him accuse me of something or other and when I confronted him he would not tell me what was going on. Most frustrating. Job like.