"Literature offers me joy and the ability to exercise empathy. It’s a lot easier to practice empathy when it’s a character in a book and then when you run into a situation in the real world, it feels almost like you’ve practiced for that encounter."—Alejandra Oliva, MTS ’19... Read more about Humans of HDS: A Faith You Live Out Everyday
The proposition that “the Bible needs to be read as great literature,” then, is in large part a product of modern secularity, with its skepticism of religious claims and authorities and its high evaluation of the supposedly independent judgment of the objective and self-governing individual, writes Professor Jon Levenson.
Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile — both chaplains who were trained at the Harvard Divinity School — and the show's producer Ariana Nedelman seek to use religious reading practices to address what they see as a hole left by institutional religion.
"Ever since I was little I did nothing but read, and I always think, what’s the point of acquiring knowledge if you’re not going to share it and exchange it or try to dissect it with the help of others."—MTS candidate Edwin Alanís-García
An online class on reading the Harry Potter books as sacred texts has proven a popular offering for the Humanist Hub at Harvard and a resulting podcast has since climbed as high as No. 2 on the iTunes top podcasts. It's led by Harvard Divinity School graduates Vanessa Zoltan, MDiv ’15, Casper ter Kuile, MDiv ’16, and MDiv candidate Ariana Nedelman.