World Religions (WR-530-4)
course introduces students to some alternative ways of being
religious, historically and in the contemporary world, in the
context of historical and theological development of several
of the major world religions. Readings will be in
religious biography and autobiography, with background
materials provided in class sessions.
Day, Time and Dates:
4:30 - 6:50 p.m.
Location: Room 205
Class web site
- To excite
students about the study of religion and to let them see that
what we term religious experience can be both engaging and
- To instill an
understanding that there is a wide range of phenomena that can
be called religious, and that people have known the
divine/supernatural/ “wholly other” in a great variety of
ways in different ages, cultures and religious traditions.
- To introduce
students to the lives of some real people, living in the 20th-21st
centuries, who have experienced the transcendent/immanent
reality [of God] and/or who both describe and attest to the
power of the spiritual dimension of life.
- To examine
the relationship of men and women to the texts and traditions of
the belief systems of which they understand themselves to be a
at and participation in weekly class sessions. Discussion will
be primarily on the readings and will focus on students’
responses to specific questions posed about the respective
biographies and autobiographies assigned. Students will be
responsible for sharing with the class the major points of their
essays prepared ahead of each class discussion and submitted at
the conclusion of the relevant discussion. These essays, which
should be 3-4 pages in length, are intended to allow the student
to demonstrate familiarity with the assigned texts as well as to
reflect on and respond to the material. One essay is required on
each of the 5 major texts of the course.
(available in the Seminary bookstore)
Elias. Blood Brothers. [Christian]
Elizabeth. Guests of the Sheik. An Ethnography of an Iraqi
Letty Cottin. Deborah, Golda and Me. Being Female and Jewish
in America. [Jewish]
- Purani, A. B.
The Life of Sri Aurobindo. [Hindu]
- Willis, Jan. Dreaming
Me. An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey. [Buddhist]
readings to help explain the history and development of the five
major religious traditions covered in the course will be
available on library reserve and on-line. These materials are
for your interest and information, and are not required.
Introduction to the course
Introduction to the study of religion
2-26 Hinduism: discussion of Sri Aurobindo
Buddhism: discussion of Dreaming Me
Judaism: discussion of Deborah, Golda and Me
Christianity: discussion of Blood Brothers
Islam: discussion of Guests of the Sheik