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.
An introduction to the religion of ancient Israel through an examination of a number of the books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), including Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Samuel, the Psalms, Job, and the prophets. Attention will also be given to the religion of Israel's Phoenician and Mesopotamian neighbors. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
This course offers an introduction to Judaism by examining three of its central spiritual manifestations: (1) development, observance, and study of the Halaka (religious law); (2) philosophical contemplation; and (3) mystical experience and theosophical speculation. Ancient and modern challenges to the tradition will be studied in some detail, and an attempt will be made to determine what might constitute a unity of such a diverse tradition. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
A survey of religion in North America from colonization through the Civil War. We'll examine the religious pluralism that characterized the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, discuss how the First and Second Great Awakenings reshaped both religion and culture, and examine the reforming impulses that drove an angry South to secession. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.
As contemporary Jewish and Christian communities of faith face the question of the role of women within their traditions, many turn to the Bible for answers. Yet the biblical materials are multivalent, and their position on the role of women unclear. This course intends to take a close look at the biblical tradition, both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament, to ask what the Bible does – and does not say – about women. Yet the course is called "Women and the Bible," not "Women in the Bible," and implicit in this title is a second goal of the course: not only to look at the Bible to see what it actually says about women but also to look at differing ways that modern feminist biblical scholars have engaged in the enterprise of interpreting the biblical text. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.
The contents of this course will vary from term to term. Dartmouth Foreign Study Program (D.F.S.P.) courses are taught by the Dartmouth Faculty Director of the annual Religion Department Foreign Study Program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. See Off Campus Programs for applications and more information.
In 14F, Harry Potter, Myth, Magic, and Religion will consider vital themes in the history of religions addressed in the seven Harry Potter novels, with an emphasis on the cross-cultural bases for the practices, symbols, and characters featured in the series (written by J.K. Rowling in Edinburgh). The class sessions are organized by the areas of specialization represented by the Hogwarts teaching staff, including magic; mythical creatures; divination; defense against the dark arts; transfiguration and conjuration; love charms; potions and herbology. Reading assignments are drawn from a combination of classical and contemporary texts based on both ethnographic and archival sources. At the conclusion of the course, we will consider race, gender, and the politics of representation in fantasy fiction, as well as critical reception of the series among its fans and religious foes. The course will include a visit to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Surgeons Hall Museums, and the National Museum of Scotland to view the Arthur's Seat Coffins, among other pertinent artifacts, and an optional trip to London to visit sites mentioned in the series. Dist: TMV; WCult: varies.
The course explores holistic understanding of healing, medicine, and interactions of mind, body and spirit. This course will focus in some depth on the film by Mike Nichols, "Wit." Special attention will be paid to essays by authors such as Oliver Sacks, Bernie Seigel, Caroline Myss, Bill Moyers, and the Christian Science Church; alternative treatments with a spiritual component such as Planetree or the use of chakras will be evaluated; neuroscience will be explored through literature such as Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy; and medical practitioners will be guest speakers. Dist: TMV.
Last Updated: 12/9/13