Through a Glass Darkly Symposium

The study of humankind's fascination with the apocalyptic is a vast field, and has increased in interest over the last two decades with the approach and passing of the start of a new millennium. It is a subject that spans cultures, religions, time and space, and one that resists easy categorical definition.

In Through a Glass Darkly, scholars and artists gather each year to deliver presentations and engage in dialogue at the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities on the campus of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The 2018 presenters include John J. Collins (Yale Divinity School), Ian Paul (University of Nottingham), Daniel G. Hummel (University of Wisconsin), Derek Keller (Cosumnes River College), artists De Lane Bredvik and Wendy Mike, Suzanne MacAulay (UCCS) and Colin McAllister (UCCS). All will join the course HUM 3990: Visions of Darkness: Apocalypse and Dystopia in Literature, Art & Film for a concluding roundtable discussion.

Through a Glass Darkly was founded in 2015 and is directed by Colin McAllister from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. In 2018, Lorenzo DiTommaso of Concordia University Montreal joins as Co-Director. Through a Glass Darkly is generously underwritten by the UCCS Humanities Program, the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, the UCCS Department of Visual and Performing Arts, the UCCS Department of History and the UCCS Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life.


**all events held at the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, except the final meeting with HUM 3990**

Monday, 19 March 2018

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Derek Keller (Cosumnes River College)
The End Times Are a’ Changin’ for guitar and multimedia
* * world premiere performance and discussion * *

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Book release reception for: Tyconius of Carthage: Exposition of the Apocalypse, translated by Francis X. Gumerlock (Catholic University of America Press, 2017)
and The Embroidered Bible: Studies in Biblical Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Honour of Michael E. Stone, edited by Lorenzo DiTommaso, Matthias Henze and William Adler (Brill, 2017)

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

9:30 am - 10:00 am
Coffee and Pastries, Meet and Greet

10:00 am - 10:15 am
Welcome and Introduction (Lorenzo DiTommaso)

10:15 am - 11:00 am
Suzanne MacAulay (UCCS), De Lane Bredvik, Wendy Mike and Jackson Crawford (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) Ragnarök: Anthropocene - An Art Installation

11:00 am - 11:45 am
Daniel G. Hummel (Univ. of Wisconsin) American Evangelicals and the Apocalypse

11:45 am - 12:30 pm
John J. Collins (Yale Divinity School) Apocalypticism as a Worldview in Ancient Judaism and Christianity

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
lunch at the Heller Center

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Colin McAllister (UCCS) and Lorenzo DiTommaso (Concordia University Montreal) Dies irae, dies illa: Music in the Apocalyptic Mode

2:45 pm - 3:30 pm
Ian Paul (University of Nottingham) Character discontinuity and interpretive method in reading John's apocalypse

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Coffee break

4:45 pm - 7:00 pm
HUM 3990 Class Session, roundtable discussion with all presenters *in University Hall 109*


Derek Keller and Colin McAllister
The End Times Are a’ Changin’ for guitar and electronics

This work marks the first musical commission of Through a Glass Darkly. This is the first in a series of modular multimedia works by Keller that utilize real time interactivity between computers, mobile devices and instant messaging ‘apps’ to create music along the deterministic – improvisational – aleatoric continuum. The piece synthesizes images and thoughts of theologian Joachim Fiore (1135-1202) and a song by Nobel laureate, Bob Dylan into an audio-visual environment meant for contemplating the meaning of ‘the end times’.

Derek Keller is an award-winning composer and guitarist. His music explores hybridity between contemporary classical, jazz and rock. He has received commissions from John Zorn, Empyrean Ensemble, Fondation Royaumont, Redfish-BlueFish, and NOISE.  His music has been performed in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and at festivals such as June in Buffalo, SoundOn, and FeNAM, and is available on Tzadik and Centaur Records.

Colin McAllister is the Music Program Director at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He has recorded for the Innova, Centaur, Naxos, Albany, Old King Cole, Vienna Modern Masters, Carrier and Tzadik labels. Current book projects include editing the Cambridge Companion to Apocalyptic Literature as well as the first English translation of the eighth century Cambridge Gloss on Apocalypse (Brepols).


Suzanne MacAulay, De Lane Bredvik, Wendy Mike and Jackson Crawford
Ragnarök: Anthropocene - An Art Installation

UCCS's Suzanne MacAulay will moderate a discussion around Ragnarök: Anthropocene, an art installation that was recently featured at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. This site-specific installation was inspired by Ragnarök, a series of future events in Norse mythology in which the death of major figures, various natural disasters, and the complete submersion of the world in fire and water ultimately results in a fertile rebirth, reconciliation of the gods, and re-population of the human race.

Colorado artist De Lane Bredvik creates installations to raise awareness of social and environmental issues, with current projects investigating cognition. Academic rigor earned from a Master’s degree in architecture at Harvard and undergraduate degrees in art and art history inform his work, while nature and chance guide his creative process.

About her work, Wendy Mike states: "Art has the capacity to bypass the intellect and go straight to the heart. From there, new ways of thinking and feeling can emerge. Transformation becomes possible. My past involvement in various art forms, (dance, singing and acting as well as visual art) fuels the desire to engage as many of the senses as possible. As such, collaboration is natural, and materials are selected for their sensual and communicative qualities rather than for familiarity. I want the entire space to engulf the viewer and transport them to a new place."

Jackson Crawford is Instructor of Nordic Studies and Coordinator of the Nordic Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. in Linguistics at the University of Georgia, and taught for five years in the University of California system (Berkeley and UCLA) before returning home to Colorado in 2017. He is also a best-selling translator of Old Norse myths and sagas, including The Poetic Edda and The Saga of the Volsungs.

Suzanne MacAulay is an art historian and folklorist. She is Professor and Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). Previously, she developed a culturally oriented art history program for New Zealand’s Whanganui Polytechnic Institute and became Head of the Fine Arts School. Research interests include South Pacific and Spanish Colonial textiles, ethnoaesthetics, performance theory and personal narratives, memory, diaspora, globalization and social class, as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning.


Daniel G. Hummel
American Evangelicals and the Apocalypse

Expectations of an imminent apocalypse have gripped American evangelicals in every generation since the “antichrist” of King George stood in the way of American independence. While apocalyptic expectations have ebbed and flowed – often reaching fever pitch in periods of major social disruption – evangelicals have engaged in a constant dialectic with their beliefs about the end of history. This dialectic has produced hundreds of intricate theological tracts with close readings of biblical passages and current events – a substantial and crucial aspect to evangelical faith and identity. It has also produced a massive cultural footprint, contributing to American music, literature, popular culture, and film. By tracing evangelicalism’s evolving relationship with the apocalypse, we can appreciate how it has become, and remains, an integral facet to American religious life.

Daniel G. Hummel is the Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016 and is currently revising his book manuscript, A Covenant of the Mind: American Evangelicals, Israel, and the Construction of a Special Relationship (University of Pennsylvania Press).


John J. Collins
Apocalypticism as a Worldview in Judaism and Christianity

The apocalyptic worldview as it crystallized in early Judaism and Christianity was distinctive in several respects. It was marked by a grasp of history as a totality and by a sense of dependence on superhuman powers, often depicted through the language of ancient myths. These aspects of apocalypticism are often perceived as problematic, because they subordinate the role of human agency in shaping affairs. It was also marked by a sense of transcendence, of hope for a world beyond this one. Latter-day appropriations of apocalypticism tend to be unduly prosaic, and fascinated by impending crisis, without the hope for transcendence that characterizes the ancient texts.

John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University. His recent books include The Apocalyptic Imagination (3rd ed; Eerdmans, 2016) and Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy (Eerdmans, 2015). He is editor of the Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature (2014) and serves as general editor of the Anchor Yale Bible and Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library.


Colin McAllister and Lorenzo DiTommaso
Dies irae, dies illa: Music in the Apocalyptic Mode

We will give a brief overview of a projected volume that will explore “music in the apocalyptic mode” from the late Middle Ages to the present day. We have delineated three broad categories: 1. Music in the Biblical/Traditional Apocalyptic Mode, wherein expectations, imagery, rhetoric, and tropes of the apocalyptic worldview have been articulated in musical works. The chief medium here is lyrical – i.e., hymns, libretti, song lyrics, etc. – although the musicological and performative aspects of the works are also important. 2. Music in the Secular Apocalyptic Mode, much of which defines and re-defines the ideas apocalyptic to fit changing circumstances and audiences. Hallmark examples include the dramatic operas of Richard Wagner and certain compositions of Arnold Schoenberg and Olivier Messiaen. In 3. The Apocalyptic Mode and Musical Form, the music itself defines “apocalyptic” by means of tonal, rhythmic and formal structures, as well as the underlying aesthetic, extra-musical inspiration, or reaction to cultural or environmental settings.

Lorenzo DiTommaso is Professor in the Department of Religion and Cultures at Concordia University Montréal. He specializes in apocalyptic thought and literature from the biblical world to contemporary popular culture. He is the author of nine books (three more in progress) and over 100 journal articles and contributions to edited volumes.


Ian Paul
Character discontinuity and interpretive method in reading John's apocalypse

It has often been noted that John’s Apocalypse is marked by narrative discontinuity, and this has been used in attempts to excavate the compositional history of the text, most notably in the work of R H Charles and more recently in the work of David Aune. Less often noted is the consequent discontinuity of dramatis personae, and the impact that has on the reader in contemporary contexts, though this has been highlighted in relation to female characters by feminist readings. This paper will explore the nature of the character discontinuity, how it arises in relation to Revelation’s genre and structure and its use of metaphorical signification, and whether there is anything comparable in Second Temple literature. It will then explore the potential rhetorical impact that this discontinuity has on modern readers, and how this connects with other rhetorical and narrative features of the text. In particular it will explore how this discontinuity has shaped (explicitly or implicitly) diverse reading strategies in contemporary contexts, often leading to contradictory construals of the meaning of the text.

Ian Paul is Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham, Associate Minister at St. Nicholas’ Church, Nottingham and Managing Editor at Grove Books Ltd., Cambridge.


Heller Center for Arts & Humanities
1250 N. Campus Heights Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Colin McAllister


About the Course

HUM 3990: Visions of Darkness: Apocalypse and Dystopia in Literature, Art & Film is a course in the UCCS Humanities program. Taught by Colin McAllister & Michaela Steen, the course addresses a wide range of topics under the general notions of apocalypse and dystopia as manifested in various ways and through a variety of media, including written texts in various genres (prophecy, poems, short-stories, novels), visual art (painting, wood-cuts, tapestry, digital imagery), music and film. The chronological and cultural scope is vast: from the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Israel and Egypt, through Islamic/Jewish and Christian perspectives in the Medieval and Renaissance to the modern day. Throughout the course, students are asked to relate notions of apocalypse and dystopia that have arisen throughout history to current events and perspectives.