The Lifelong Learning and Adult Faith Formation Committee for Oak Park Parishes

is pleased to announce the following series:

Peter O’Leary

In a letter to his patron Can Grande della Scala, the great poet Dante identified four ways of interpreting scripture: the literal, the moral, the allegorical, and the mystical (or anagogical). Dante intended for his patron to use these same approaches to understand the masterpiece, Dante’s Commedia, that Can Grande had sponsored. But these approaches have persisted as illuminating ways for readers and scholars alike to read scripture.

“Interpreting the Four Gospels” will consist of four lectures, one apiece on each of the four gospels in their chronological order, matched with one apiece of Dante’s four interpretive approaches. Each lecture will present one of the gospels in its context, considering when it was written and for whom, along with examples of the interpretive approach in action.

These lectures are meant to be informative and fun, and to open up your sense of how you can read the gospels. No expertise or special training is expected, only your curiosity.

Our lectures will begin at 7:30 pm and run till 9 pm. You may want to bring your own Bible to mark passages or just to follow along at times. Here is the schedule for the lectures:

  • Monday, September 26, 2022 – The Gospel of Mark and literal reading – Location: Pine Room of Ascension School (Not handicap accessible)
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2022 – The Gospel of Matthew and moral reading – Location: Pine Room of Ascension School (Not handicap accessible)
  • Monday, October 24, 2022 – The Gospel of Luke and allegorical reading – Location: McDonough Hall on the St. Giles Campus at 1101 Columbian Avenue, 2nd Floor
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022 – The Gospel of John and mystical reading – Location: McDonough Hall on the St. Giles Campus at 1101 Columbian Avenue, 2nd Floor

Please mark your calendar for these dates. Unfortunately, we will not be able to Zoom or Livestream these events. So, we may get an idea of numbers in attendance, please email to let us know of your interest.

Dr. Peter O’Leary is an alumnus of the University of Chicago. (AB’90 (English), AM’94, PhD’99 Divinity School). A Catechist and member of Ascension-St. Edmund Parish in Oak Park, O’Leary teaches at U. Chicago and the School of the Art Institute. Peter has published five books of poetry and five chapbooks. His latest book, The Hidden Eyes of Things, is a book length poem through the Cultural Society and completes a trilogy. This is Peter’s third offering to adult learners in our local parish setting.