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Shalom Goldman to speak at Sheldon Museum dinner

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College Professor of Religion Shalom Goldman is the keynote speaker for the Henry Sheldon Museum’s Annual Dinner Meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the college’s Kirk Alumni Center at 217 Golf Course Road in Middlebury.
In his talk “The Devil Drivers” Goldman and will share stories about 19th-century Victorian Scholars/Adventurers Richard and Isabel Burton. Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) and his wife Lady Isabel Burton (1831-1896) were peripatetic adventurers who traveled widely, researched extensively, and wrote about their experiences. 
Sir Burton explored Africa and Asia, chronicling a wide variety of human behaviors (especially sexual practices). Lady Burton was also a writer and a publisher. Each of the Burtons produced their own versions of the “Arabian Nights.”  Together, they were involved in many public controversies. Their work remains controversial today. Goldman’s presentation will highlight the controversies and compare their respective versions of “Arabian Nights.”
Goldman specializes in the relationships between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. He grew up in New York City as an orthodox Jew for whom religion was a central focal point of everyday life. He sees religion as a communal force and a public issue, and he has spent a career following those principles. A former colleague remarks “Sitting in a room with him is so intellectually energizing … He knows how to pull in literature and religion and art and opera, and he really sees how the connections of the mind and the universe work. I find him spell-binding.”
It stands to reason that “Devil Drivers” will continue in that vein —taking the audience on an exotic journey of personal and public issues of the Victorian era.
Cash bar opens at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m., followed by Goldman’s presentation. Full details and reservations can be found on the Sheldon Museum website henrysheldonmuseum.org/ or by calling 802-388-2117. The cost of the dinner is $50 per person.

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