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Sophrosune: "Knowledge of knowledge & ignorance"—how properly to leave the dark of Plato's cave

As you know the local storyteller Marion Leeper is at the moment in the hall telling our children the story of Rama and Sita found in the Ramayana, a story strongly associated with the festival of Diwali, the Hindu “Festival of Lights” which was celebrated this past week. (An abbreviated version of this story was also the reading for today's service.)

Telling this story in our church is an activity which might be said to fall under the general heading of comparative religion or philosophy. However, at least as it has often been practised by us, there is a significant problem with much comparative religion/philosophy. It centres on the quiet, often unspoken continuance of a hope held by many early comparative religious scholars some of whom were Unitarians — for example, Joseph Estlin Carpenter (1844–1927) the principal of Manchester College, Oxford and an expert in Sanskrit who was a key figure in the founding of the Cambridge church and after whom our hall was once named. Anyway…

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