A comparative study of some of the basic patterns of religion. The course will focus upon such themes as religious experience, myths of creation, stories of religious founders and heroes, the origin and resolution of human suffering, and the structure and meaning of religious community and ritual. Source material for these themes will be taken from the literary and artistic resources of the following religious traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV or INT.
Critical examination of some of the most influential modern proponents and opponents of religious faith, with special emphasis on the question: what is involved in belief in God? Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
This class introduces the history and practices of African-derived religious traditions as they have developed in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Black American communities in the United States. These religious systems will be discussed with reference to their mainstream representation (as ‘voodoo’) and analyzed according to the more complex realities of their practitioners’ everyday lives. Three themes to be explored in each tradition include 1) gender identity; 2) racial identity and resistance; and 3) aesthetics. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV or INT; WCult: CI.
This introductory, multidisciplinary course examines women's religious ideas, beliefs, concerns, actions, rituals, and socio-cultural experiences in African societies and cultures from a comparative, historical, and gender perspective. We will look at women's experiences of social change in African religions, the encounter with Islam, slavery, Christianity, and colonialism. We will analyze the articulations of economic and political power or lack of power in religious ideas as we ask questions such as: What are the different antecedents and circumstances in which women exercise or are denied agency, leadership, power, and happiness in their communities? Texts will include nonfiction, fiction, and film narratives. Open to all. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.
A study of the principal religious and philosophical arguments for and against religious belief. The first part of the course will consider the question of the justifiability of religious belief through an appeal to religious experience and mysticism, to rational theistic arguments, and to faith, showing the difficulties in each case. The second part of the course will cover alternatives to classical theism and the contemporary challenge of conceptual relativism and religious pluralism. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Dist: TMV.
This course will focus on the interactions of the three major religious communities of the medieval Mediterranean—Christians, Jewish, and Muslim—beginning with the First Crusade in 1096 and ending with the arrival of the Black Death in 1347. By examining topics such as pilgrimage, crusade, and jihad, the status of minority communities, and intellectual life, we will explore how Christians, Jews, and Muslims clashed, cooperated, influenced, and misunderstood each other. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV.
In this course we will explore the historical developments and transformations of Daoism from its ancient roots to present-day practices. We will begin by looking at early traditions of immortality seekers and self-cultivation and at the religious and philosophical ideas in the ancient Chinese texts of the Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Guanzi. We will also examine recent archaeological findings, imperial religious practices, and the complex interaction of Daoism with Buddhism. We will in addition look at contemporary Daoist practices in China and Taiwan. Along the way we will devote special attention to meditation and divination techniques; alchemy and sexual techniques for transcendence; the place of women and the feminine in Daoism. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.
This course examines the theological, social, psychological, and cultural motors driving change within the institutional church during the 16 and early 17th centuries, the Protestant challenge to Catholicism, and the Catholic response. Manifestations of the need for change are found in great literature of the era, and also exemplified in art and film. Scope spans Europe and the Colonies. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
A survey of the origins and development of the culture of athletic competition in America, with roots in the "Muscular Christianity" movement of nineteenth-century England. We'll examine the peculiar (religious?) passion that Americans invest in sports as well as the role that sports has played as an engine for social change. We look, finally, at some of the ethical issues surrounding organized sports. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
The program of study in Edinburgh consists of three courses: two to three courses chosen by each student from among those offered by the New College faculty. These courses are given the Dartmouth designations Religion 70, 71, and 72. Religion 74 is taught by the accompanying Dartmouth faculty member and available to (and sometimes required of) all participants. All three courses are graded. Religion 70, 71, 72, and 74 count as intermediate courses when fulfilling the requirements for the major.
In 13F, The English Bible, we will study first the coming of the Bible to England, concentrating particularly on the Bibles associated with the great Saint Cuthbert of southern Scotland/northern England: the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Saint Cuthbert Gospel. Second, we will study the history of the rendering of the Bible into English, culminating with the 1611 translation commissioned by King James VI of Scotland/James I of England. A field trip to Lindisfarne and Durham Cathedral is included. Dist: TMV.
This course investigates the notion of the Dao in early China. Dao, usually translated as Way, was a core concept in early Chinese religious thought. Appearing in almost all early texts, this term was adopted as a name of a philosophy, a religion, indeed, a whole way of life, Daoism. Yet, the precise meaning of this term is elusive. Through careful examination of several texts from early China which discuss the Dao, as well as modern studies which approach these texts with different methodologies we will attempt to understand what the Dao meant to different thinkers in early China. Dist: TMV.
Last Updated: 10/1/13