All Becoming One | A Contemplative Introduction to Raimon Panikkar’s ChristophanyAn Intermediate Level Course from the Center for Christogenesis
A New Intermediate Online Course Offering from the Center for Christogenesis
All Becoming One
A Contemplative Introduction to Raimon Panikkar’s Christophany
Mondays, September 12 – October 3, 2022
4:00pm – 5:40pm ET USA (UTC/GTM-4)
With Dr. Ridgeway Addison
Limited to 40 Participants
Religion is not an experiment, it is an experience of life through which one is part of the cosmic adventure. – Raimon Panikkar
The Center for Christogenesis is offering this course as an opportunity to explore Raimon Panikkar’s unique spiritual concept of Christophany which he defined as “A manifestation of Christ to human consciousness” that includes both “an experience of Christ and a critical reflection on that experience.” Contemporary Indian Jesuit theologian Francis D’Sa contends that whereas the theological discipline of Christology has traditionally focused on “the doctrines that are developed on the basis of the words that speak to the experience of Jesus,” Panikkar’s Christophany project proposes a spiritual theology which “opens the third eye, which brings one in touch with the experience” that historical Christological doctrines point to. D’Sa claims Christophany: The Fullness of Man as the pinnacle text among all of Panikkar’s publications, believing the book’s blend of “phenomenological inquiry, philosophical reflection, and theological insight” make it a hopeful and forceful theological response to the multivalent ecological and cultural “challenges of our technocratic age.”
A Roman Catholic priest and spiritual theologian, Raimon(du) Panikkar (1918-2010) made significant contributions to contemporary comparative religion, theology, and inter-religious dialogue. Born to an Indian father who was Hindu by faith and a Spanish Catholic mother, Panikkar’s early commitment to Catholicism, his three doctorates (philosophy, chemistry, theology) and mastery of Hindu and Buddhist scripture and cosmology uniquely equipped him with the experiential and intellectual foundations necessary to become a leading voice promoting dialogue both among the axial religions, and between religion and science.
Panikkar authored more than 40 books and 900 articles, and contributed to major translations of the Vedas, a set of Hindu scriptures. His most seminal works include The Trinity and the Religious Experience of Man (1973), The Intrareligious Dialogue (1983), The Cosmotheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness (1993), Christophany: The Fullness of Man (2004) and The Experience of God: Icons of the Mystery (2006).
As globalization, deepened interest in spirituality and spiritual practices, and the increasing dialogue between religions, sciences, and cultures has increased since our world has entered our third millennium, more and more scholars and spiritual seekers are re/discovering Panikkar’s pioneering theological project and cross-cultural legacy.
If you have any questions, or have any trouble accessing the course after registering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The course will meet on four consecutive Mondays from September 12 to October 3. Weekly sessions will last for 1 hour and 40 minutes (100 minutes), with time allotted for weekly knowledge-building presentations from the instructor, large and small group discussion, and time for participants to ask questions. Each session will end in a brief period of theological reflection intended to encourage participants to continue to think about and live into insights, questions, and spiritual practices touched on by the course.
While no theological background is required to register, participants are asked to read Panikkar’s book, Christophany: The Fullness of Man, as well as shorter, related texts listed below each class description. A PDF of these shorter readings will be supplied to registrants. Links to purchase Panikkar’s book are also listed below and will also be provided in your receipt email after registration. In addition, video mini-lectures related to each session will be made available to course participants on a week by week basis. During the course participants will be introduced to, and begin to work on a personal Christophany project. This project, intended as an informal exercise in spirituality theology, allows participants to experiment with integrating various self-selected elements of Panikkar’s teaching to their own thinking, praying, and acting in the contemporary world.
Module 1: “Building Blocks” – Foundations of Christophany in Raimon Panikkar’s Life, Work, and Times
Class Session, 9/12
This module is all about introductions and overviews.
During this first session we will share brief introductions, get to know one another through some Panikkar-inspired icebreakers, and review Panikkar’s life and work timeline in the context of major socio-spiritual events of the 20th century. We will also consider Panikkar’s own interest in always reading scriptures and theologies from the axial religions, and science and religion in conjunction with one another, paying particular attention to how his practices relate to the mission and vision of the Center for Christogenesis.
Our readings and related micro-lecture will allow us to become better acquainted with Raimon Panikkar as an intercultural, multidisciplinary theologian, with particular interest in how his personal experience and spirituality informed his concept of “Christophany.”
From there we will formally begin exploring Panikkar’s Christophany text by exploring how he distinguishes “Christophany” from traditional academic and conciliar “Christology” through a review of traditional Christological doctrine, theological arguments, and scriptural frameworks. Finally, we will unpack Panikkar’s Christophany project as his work of “concentrating attention on the light in which (Jesus) Christ manifests himself to us,” a light which “shakes our habits” and offers a “different vision of the world.”
- Readings and Media
- “Foreword,” “Preface,” and “Part 1: Introduction, The Christophanic Experience” from Panikkar’s Christophany.
- Excerpts from John’s Gospel and selected Zen Buddhist koans.
- Reflection resource: Icon of Jesus Christ as Pantocrator.
Module 2: “The Mind of Christ”–Panikkar’s Interest in Jesus’ Mysticism
Class Session, 9/19
This module is concerned with tracing Panikkar’s use of traditional academic theological frameworks to understanding Jesus’ own self-understanding in relationship to God and the World so as to move through–and beyond–these analytical frameworks toward a more phenomenological approach to Jesus’ own self-understanding and religious experience (i.e. Christ’s “mysticism). Panikkar’s contemplative reflection on well-known passages from Christian scripture in this section of his book (“Abba, Father!”, “The Father and I are One.”, “It Is Good That I Leave…”) shines important socio-spiritual light on the merits of approaching Jesus’ relationship to God and his disciples through a unitive+spiritual rather than a dualist+individualistic lens.
Our teaching and learning about Panikkar’s take on Christ’s mysticism won’t stay “in the book,” in this module or any other in this course. Instead, after breaking down his theological arguments and contemplative reflections concerning Christ’s mystical and relational self-understanding as much as possible, we will spend time applying the insights and questions they’re raised for us to our own understandings of who we and other persons are, who God and (the) world/creation is, and how our own socio-spiritual lenses have informed how we have related to each other, for better and worse.
- Readings and Media
- “Part 2: The Mysticism of Jesus the Christ–The Experience of Jesus” from Panikkar’s Christophany.
- Excerpts from Christian and Hindu scripture.
- Selected writings of Christian and Hindu mystics.
- Reflection resource: Icon of the Christian Trinity.
Module 3: “All Becoming One”– Christophany as a Whole-Making Contemporary Spirituality
Class Session, 9/26
In this third module, we will read over Panikkar’s shoulder as he reflects on Christian creedal statements made about Jesus using traditional theological categories, and reimagines them in the form of nine new Christic “sutras”(spiritual precepts) intended to to re/turn the contemporary seeker’s and believer’s approach to the person and experience of Jesus Christ as a universal icon for “the Whole of Reality.” Far from a dismissal of the centrality of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of world history and our ecological world itself, this rewriting of Jesus identity and witness as Christophany resets Jesus’ love ethic and unitive vision of Creation. Through it, Panikkar resets it at the center of our contemporary spiritual and political struggles to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” in communion with– rather than apart from, or worse yet, opposed to–other individuals and cultural groups who know and follow Love and Truth through other (read “non-ecclesial”) spiritual and ethical pathways.
In this week’s class session, we will work our way through several of Panikkar’s constructive Christic “sutras” in light of the ways they previously have been interpreted by well known Christian theologians as well as by significant spiritual and ethical mentors from our own lives. We will close our class time together in naming, and beginning to reflect on, valid criticism of Panikkar’s Christophany project including those that may emerge from our own challenges of integrating it into our own lives and actions.
- Readings and Media
- “Part 3: Christophany–The Christic Experience,” “Epilogue,” and “A Final Word” from Panikkar’s Christophany.
- Selected poems from Thomas Merton, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Howard Thurman.
- Selections from Ilia Delio’s Ten Evenings With God.
- Reflection resource: Icons of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
Module 4: “Beginning Again” – Revisiting Bethlehem in Our Own Life and Times
In this final module of the course we will consider Panikkar’s parting incarnational plea in Christophany’s Epilogue that the unitive experience he points to, describes, and commends to us throughout his theological writing– “the christophany from within”–is summoned forth, not as a theological construct but as a living experience, by the third millennium–which we are living into and being lived through by–all at once. Rather than reading other words by Panikkar in this concluding module, we each will review the most meaningful and challenging sections of his Christophany text as we have encountered them in previous course modules.
The theological and spiritual insights and questions from this re-reading work will serve as the primary fodder for our final weekly class session. The final session will be framed around an integrative interactive lecture from the instructor touching on seminal thoughts from Panikkar in light of primary themes from weekly class discussion and current events. This fourth and final session allows course participants a three-fold opportunity: 1) To reflect on primary insights, questions, and new commitments they’ve engaged during the course; 2) To consider particular (and realistic and enjoyable) ways to continue to learn from and pray with Raimon Panikkar as a theological teacher and spiritual guide; and 3) To voice their own working “Christophany” confessions and spiritual practices as a means of internalizing course learning as we conclude our studies.
Readings and Media
- Participant self-directed review of pivotal sections of Panikkar’s Christophany text.
- Selected poems from Thomas Merton, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Howard Thurman.
- Selections from Ilia Delio’s The Unbearable Wholeness of Being–God, Evolution, and The Power of Love.
- Reflection resource: Mirrors and Metanoia.
Please note: With the exception of Panikkar’s Christophany, all texts will be provided by instructor.
About the Instructor
Ridgeway Addison is a theological educator, learning designer, and spirituality and ethics scholar. He holds a B.A. in Bible and Religion from Erskine College, an MDiv from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from The Catholic University of America.
Dr. Addison is a research specialist on the American minister, educator, and public theologian Howard Thurman (1899-1981) with particular interest in Thurman’s contributions to Christian mysticism, nonviolent theology, and contemplative pedagogy.
Ridgeway works as a learning experience designer at 2U, a global educational technology company which partners with top-tier colleges and universities to create online degree programs, certificate programs, and related digital learning experiences.
Prior to joining 2U in 2019, Ridgeway served in a variety of faculty and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University in Washington, DC USA between 1999-2015, including being the first theologian to serve Georgetown’s School of Nursing and Health Studies as a full-time faculty (2011-2015). He continues to teach clinical bioethics at Georgetown as an adjunct Assistant Professor. Ridgeway is an ordained Baptist minister associated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. A classically trained musician (piano, voice, guitar) and composer, he regularly incorporates music and other arts into his teaching, speaking, and scholarship.Ridgeway is married to the Reverend Sarah Scherschligt, senior pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA. They and their two daughters, Magdalene (7) and Lydia (5), live in Northern Virginia.
Please note: due to the limited number of spots available, we are not able to offer any refunds after registration.
If you are unable to attend a meeting, you will be sent recordings of the class meetings.