Called the “cradle of liberty,” historic Faneuil Hall was the gathering place in the mid-1700s for the Sons of Liberty as they met to protest the arbitrary taxation policies of Great Britain. From these and subsequent meetings, protests were planned, including the Boston Tea Party, leading the way towards the ultimate liberation from British rule. Now, in our own time of crisis, with destructive forces taxing us once again, the bicentennial celebration of Emerson’s birth calls for a new birth of freedom. It was Emerson’s re-visioning of the founding principles of America, as voiced eloquently in his essays, lectures and poems, that sounded a clear, resonant and unifying note, tuning the disparate instruments and voices in his own time. This note has been heard by all the great American writers and poets down to the present. “Reawakening the American Soul” is led by three prominent writers and scholars with this vision. Their collective works represent a major contribution to defining and reassessing what one of them has called the “American Soul.” They are Professors Richard Geldard, Jacob Needleman and Robert Thurman. Richard Geldard received his education at Bowdoin College, Middlebury College and his doctorate from Stanford University. He currently teaches at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in California and was Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University in New York. He is author of numerous books, including The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson; God in Concord; Remembering Heraclitus; and the Travelers’ Key to Ancient Greece. Long a student of the philosophy of Emerson, Dr. Geldard has made the challenging and inspirational work of the Seer of Concord accessible once again to a new generation of readers. His vision of Emerson allows us to take part in the spiritual quest for self-recovery in a time when immensesocial and intellectual forces are arrayed against us. Geldard has shown us that indeed the examined life as described by Socrates and Plato is not only possible for us but also absolutely necessary. Jacob Needleman is professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and the author of many books, including A Little Book on Love, Time and The Soul, The Heart of Philosophy, Lost Christianity and The American Soul. In addition to his teaching and writing, he serves as a consultant in the fields of psychology, education, medical ethics, philanthropy and business and has been featured on Bill Moyers’ acclaimed PBS series A World of Ideas. Robert Thurman was named as one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential People of 1997. He holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University in New York. After education at Philips Exeter and Harvard, he studied Tibetan Buddhism for almost thirty years as a personal student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has written both scholarly and popular books, and has lectured widely all over the world. His special interest is the exploration of the Indo-Tibetan philosophical and psychological traditions, with a view to their relevance to parallel currents of contemporary thought and science. One of his most recent books is entitled Inner Revolution: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Real Happiness. In a passage particularly relevant to the Faneuil Hall Forum, Thurman wrote: “To finish building the free society dreamed of by Washington, Franklin and Jefferson, we must draw upon the resources of the enlightened imagination, which can be systematically developed by the spiritual sciences of India and Tibet. We have not yet tamed our own demons of racism, nationalism, sexism and materialism. We have not yet made peace with a land we took by force and have only partly paid for. We are a teeming conglomeration of people from different tribes who have yet to embrace fully the humanness in one another. And none of us can be free until all of us are free.”
BIO: Richard Geldard
Richard Geldard holds his doctorate in dramatic literature and classics from Standford University and was previously an adjunct professor of philosophy at Yeshiva University. Some of his most recent titles are Remembering Heraclitus, Traveler’s Key to Ancient Greece, and God in Concord.
BIO: Jacob Needleman
Jacob Needleman is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and the author of many books, including The Essential Marcus Aurelius, Why Can’t We Be Good?, The American Soul, The Wisdom of Love, Time and the Soul, The Heart of Philosophy, Lost Christianity, and Money and the Meaning of Life. In addition to his teaching and writing, he serves as a consultant in the fields of psychology, education, medical ethics, philanthropy, and business, and has been featured on Bill Moyers’s acclaimed PBS series A World of Ideas.
BIO: Robert Thurman
Scholar, author, former Tibetan Buddhist monk, co-founder with Richard Gere of Tibet House in New York City, a close personal friend of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and father of five children including the actress, Uma Thurman, Robert Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. Time magazine named him one of the “25 Most Influential Americans.” He has lectured all over the world; his charisma and enthusiasm draw packed audiences.