Today I woke up on a whopping 8 hours of sleep, which was still way short of the recommended 9 and a quarter we learned was necessary at Sunday’s studying crash course, but I felt more refreshed than ever heading into the first true class this summer. I say first true class because unlike the Hotellies, our first day was more of an introduction to the course, and although we did have some enlightening discussions, it was nowhere near as rigorous as their class, although that was how everyone had told us it would be, so that isn’t much of a surprise.
After a quick breakfast I was waiting in the lecture hall, curious on just how these lectures would work after we had read something the previous night. Last night’s reading was the New Testament, and I was curious to see how our professor would show all the political ideas in what I had originally considered pretty much solely a religious text. Right away Mr. Kramnick explained that because the Bible’s ideas dominated throughout Western culture, those ideas also dominated politics. Even though we had only read excerpts from the “New” Testament, Professor Kramnick also explained the politics of the so-called “Old” Testament (Professor Kramnick included these quotations because new make it seem like it’s better than the Hebrew Bible).
I have never really heard someone speak with such passion about any subject, and it rubs off on all of the students in class. He made so many intriguing points I lost count, but the overall theme of his section on the Old Testament was that God commanded his people and gave them countless rules to follow, 613 laws in all according to a fellow student, and that in return, God offered his people protection. There are also contradictions of contradictions of contradictions throughout both the “Old” Testament and “New” Testament, which our professor cited as the most likely reason it has stayed around and important for so long, since its less sincere followers can pick and choose whatever aspects of the Bible they want to follow (although the rules are pretty mandatory of course).
We then discussed Christian ideas of justice, for both the final half of the lecture and among our discussion groups and it showed me just how ignorant I had been of political ideas in the Bible, and that with good teaching it was easy to pick it up and start making connections between the concepts of Justice in the Bible and our justice today. I personally found Jesus Christ’s interpretation of justice to be wonderful, because according to Christ, everyone should love everyone, and that is how one receives true justice. As Christ says in Corinthians 13 (and I completely agree), “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” This truly shows how Jesus believed in overall togetherness in a community, something that I at least, don’t see much of in the present day.
After our discussion and lunch, we headed back to the lecture hall, who Professor Kramnick had introduced earlier in the day as Judge Judy. In what ended up turning out to be a good thing, it ended up not being that Judge Judy, but rather a judge in Ithaca’s city Court, Judge Judith Rossite, who gave a bit nicer of a lecture than I would have expected from the TV Judge Judy. The Judge mainly told us about a recent case involving burglary and rape, and when she explained all the little nuances she had to deal with in cases like this, I truly began to appreciate all the hard work involved in making our judicial system run as smoothly as it does.
It was yet another wonderful class, and I had just finished studying St. Augustine and St. Aquinas, when in the middle of me writing this very blog, the skies just completely opened up on us, and an intense thunderstorm just now stopped after about an hour, although it is still raining. While many of my cohorts will write about this awful weather, I actually decided to go on a run in the pouring rain, which was much better than running in the humidity yesterday, so I fully enjoyed this “horrible” weather.