The Lost Art of Scripture: Engaging with Sacred Texts

Religious Studies | Theology  

Course Description

In our secular culture, sacred texts are often dismissed as irrelevant, or worse, as incitements to violence, hatred, and discrimination. But for hundreds of years, they were viewed as means for persons and communities to connect to the divine, to transcend their physical existence, and to come to a higher level of consciousness. These texts were seen as fluid, rather than as a set of binding rules and truths closed to interpretation. What value can scripture hold for us today? This is the question posed by Karen Armstrong in her 2019 book, The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts. Armstrong deplores the fact that sacred texts today are often read narrowly to underwrite arbitrary views. Engaging seriously with these texts, she claims, is a way of curtailing arrogance, intolerance, and violence. 

In this course, we will consider some of the sacred books that have shaped various world belief systems, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism, to name but a few. We will examine how these texts have been read and how they are being read today. Is there only one way of reading a sacred text in a particular tradition? What makes a text “sacred”? What is the kind of truth that these texts seek to impart? From time to time, we will interview scholars and specialists representing different traditions.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

  • Karen Armstrong, The Lost Art of Scripture, Knopf Canada (ISBN: 9780525431923)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 16 students and that TMI does not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Wednesdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Munirah Amra, Brian McDonough, Irene Menear, Jim Queen                                              

Degree Credit: 3.0 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)

For 12-week courses, fees are refundable in full before the second session. If the participant withdraws after the second course, they will be charged a $50 fee. There is no refund after the third course has passed. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

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