History of religions, concentrating on religious traditions that have developed west of the Indus. Primary attention to the Semitic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and to their ancient world background with emphasis on basic conceptual and symbolic structures.
This class is a ten-week introduction to North American incarnations of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While each of these now-global religious traditions arose within the Middle East, we explore these diverse traditions from their origins, through significant historical developments, examining a variety of their theological convictions, ethical worldviews, worship practices, socio-cultural experiences, and personal narratives, as they are manifest in our North American context.
Inviting students to cultivate their learning as scholars in the academic study of religion, this course upholds an ethic of hospitality – that practice of respectful scholarly openness crucial to cultivating academically-responsible interpretations of the religious Other. This course intends to develop students’ understanding, critical thinking and respectful appreciation of the religious Other.
Student learning goals
To invite you, as scholars in the academic study of religion, to cultivate an ethic of hospitality that empowers appreciative learning about communities of the religious Other (those different from you). This ethic of hospitality is understood as a practice of respectful scholarly openness necessary to cultivate learning that is academically fruitful and responsible.
To expand students’ intellectual vocabulary through exposure to religious terms, concepts, experiences, and perspectives on the human condition, understandings of the virtuous life, and introduction to terms and concepts that offer insights into these religious traditions and how they have inspired centuries of ardent devotion. • To expose students to informed perspectives that help you better understand, appreciate, and develop responsible interpretations of particular Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in the U.S.
To expose students to informed perspectives that help you better understand, appreciate, and develop responsible interpretations of particular Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in the U.S.
To help students develop a critical/cross-perspectival awareness of about how specific global cultural contexts shaped various incarnations of each religious tradition in the U.S. context. In this course, critical thinking is defined (modifying a definition offered initially by James Wellman) as the process of consciously identifying and engaging the contributions of diverse perspectives on a subject matter. By acknowledging the interpenetrating boundaries of context, thought, lived experience and different worldviews, the practice of critical thinking is intended to help students develop academically-responsible interpretations that support a greater depth and breadth of appreciation religious communities.
To equip students to identify various theo-ethical beliefs, socio-cultural world views, rituals, practices, and major variations inherent within North American incarnations of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
General method of instruction
Each week students can expect to engage in the following pedagogical experiences:
Monday: Lectures and Films Wednesday: Discussion of Readings Friday: Group Research
Class assignments and grading
Participation = 25% Writing Assignments = 30% Final Group Research Project and Presentation = 45%