Engaging with Holy Texts

Religious Studies & Theology

Course Description

This is a hybrid course. Five participants can attend in person with two of the leaders, and everyone else will be on Zoom on a first-come, first-served basis.

In our secular culture, holy 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, requiring interpretation, rather than as a set of binding rules and truths that had to be believed. 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 holy 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 holy books that have shaped various world religions and examine how they 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 “holy” or “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):

    • The Lost Art of Scripture by Karen Armstrong (0345812352)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

First Session: Wednesday 16 March 2022

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

Discussion Team: Munirah Amra, Brian McDonough, Irene Menear, +1

Degree Credit: 3 credits

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (standard tuition) 

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. 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.

If you are a RETURNING student and wish to attend IN PERSON

If you are NEW to TMI and wish to attend IN PERSON

If you are a RETURNING student and wish to attend ON ZOOM

If you are NEW to TMI and wish to attend ON ZOOM

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
or email us at info@thomasmore.qc.ca