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Poet Scott Cairns Headlines St. Photios the Great Faith & Learning Symposium

On Saturday, February 8, Orthodox Christian poet and academic Dr. Scott Cairns will headline the ninth annual St. Photios the Great Faith & Learning Symposium sponsored by the Office of Vocation & Ministry at Hellenic College Holy Cross. Dr. Cairns will also offer discussions and readings from his work to HCHC students throughout the week.

The day-long St. Photios event addresses topics at the intersection of Orthodox Christianity and the life of the mind. Dr. Cairns will speak and lead discussions around the theme Let Me Google That: Knowledge in the Information Age.

According to Dr. Cairns, “One can pretty much ‘Google’ anything that comes to mind; but this facility with facts does not exactly quench one's hunger for wisdom; on the contrary, the appalling surfeit of factual matter can actually reveal how meager a goal factual knowledge turns out to have been all along.  In the midst of that vertiginous abyss, one discovers a taste for what cannot be conclusively named.”

Dr. Cairns will discuss the effects of the “illusion of knowledge” on the human capacity to acquire wisdom. The journey beyond the mere acquisition of data raises uncomfortable questions while offering few answers, but Cairns believes it is vital for anyone seriously interested in both faith and the life of the mind.

Professor of English at University of Missouri, Dr. Cairns is the founding director of Writing Workshops in Greece: Thessaloniki/Thasos. His poems and essays have appeared in PoetryImageParis ReviewThe Atlantic MonthlyThe New RepublicPrairie Schooner, etc., and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. His most recent books are Idiot Psalms (2014) and Endless Life (translations and adaptations of Christian mystics, 2007 & 2014). He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and The Denise Levertov Award in 2014.

Schedule for Dr. Cairns’ Visit 

Friday, February 7, 2014

7:00 PM         Poetry Reading & Book Signing (Library Reading Room)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

St. Photios the Great Faith & Learning Symposium

(Library Reading Room)

9:30 AM         Registration

10:00 AM       Keynote Address & Brief Q&A

11:15 AM       Break

11:30 AM       Break-out Discussions

12:15 PM       Lunch

1:00 PM         Big Group Discussion & Wrap-up