Philip Michael Lindholm
Analysis of selected theme or symbols in relation to several different religious traditions. Topics vary. Prerequisite: admission to the comparative religion MAIS program or permission of instructor. Offered: W.
This iteration of RELIG502 will center upon comparative dimensions of religious experience, considering both “meta” approaches to the topic and those of distinct communities. We will have the opportunity – given the seminar format, the extended period of each session, and the topic itself – to integrate what we know and learn of religious histories, doctrines, experiences and practices into a quite nuanced discussion:
-How does one give voice to the ineffable? -What is the relationship between religious experience and religious knowledge? -Are some experiences – e.g. trance, fit, possession – more “religious” or “reliable” than others?
To consider such themes, we will evaluate seminal texts from across the religious landscape that attempt to clarify the nature of divine encounter. We will seek to understand those texts and their authors in light of the historical milieus in which they developed and continue to have influence, thereby contextualizing their contribution to the field of religious experience as we attempt to make our own.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This seminar features extensive written and discursive components. The curriculum is designed to help students refine their writing skills and the trajectory of their thinking as they progress towards the final MA paper(s), as well as to acquaint them further with the structures of academic exchange in the field of religious studies.
Class assignments and grading
80% of the final grade is determined by six seminar papers and a final paper, and the remaining 20% depends upon students’ critical engagement with the texts and one another.