Development of religious thought in the West from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. History of focal ideas: God, man, knowledge, and authority during this period and the relation of changes in these ideas to the ways in which basic issues in religious thought have been conceived. Recommended: RELIG 201
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the main currents in modern Western religious thought. The course begins with a discussion of the medieval background of modern thought, with special reference to Aquinas, Dante, and William of Ockham. This provides a basis for understanding the thought of the Reformers, especially Martin Luther an John Calvin. The Reformation's emphasis on individual conscience and the study of scripture gave rise in the Protestant tradition both to a close association of religion with ethics (as in the case of Immanuel Kant) and to a "quest of the historical Jesus" exemplified by David Friedrich Strauss and Albert Schweitzer that ended in the radical theology of Rudolf Bultmann. The course will close with a consideration of another approach to the reconciliation of reason and theology Catholic by the Roman Catholic scientist and mystical theologian, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The principal teaching vehicle will be lectures, with student questions encouraged. There will also be some films.
Some background in the history of religions or in intellectual history is recommended, especially RELIG 201, Introduction to World Religions: Western Traditions.
Class assignments and grading
Texts (for purchase) Dante, Purgatorio , trans. Ciardi Luther, Selections, ed. Dillenberger (Anchor) Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology (Scribner's) Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu (Harper Collins)Supplementary texts in electronic: Excerpts from Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy Excerpts from Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus
Examinations (required for all students).There will be a one hour Mid-term Examination about half way through the course (Feb. 10).There will be a two hour Final Examination at the scheduled time during exam week. Examinations must be taken at the scheduled time, except in cases of officially documented illness. Basis on which Grades are Assigned: For students taking the course by examination only: Mid-term exam: 34% Final exam: 66% For students taking the course for optional "W" credit: Mid-term exam: 20%