Introduction to the Study of Religion
Fall Semester 2016


Course Outline:

 

Topics

Videos listed in green

Readings and Assignments

Readings are due for the day
on which they are listed

 

 

 

Defining Religion and Studying Religion

Week One

Aug 29: Introduction to the Course

 

 

Aug 31: What is Religion?

 

      Livingston, ch. 1

      Recommended: Pals, Introduction

Sept 02:  Ways of Studying Religion

 

 

      Livingston, ch. 2

 

 

Ideas of the Sacred and the Holy

Week Two

Sept 05: No Class (Labor Day)

 

Sept 07: Sacred Power and the Mysterium

      Livingston, ch. 3

Sept 09: Video: American Mystic

 

 

           

 

Animism and Magic
E.B. Tylor and James Frazer

Week Three

Sept 12: Ecstasy and the Mysterium
Discussion of American Mystic, comparison with scriptural selections from Hinduism and Judaism

 

      Bhagavad-Gita, ch. 11 [BB]

      Job 40-42 [BB]

Sept 14: Sacred Space and Sacred Time
 

      Review section in Livingston ch. 3.

Sept 16:  E.B. Tylor and J. Frazer on Animism, Magic, and the Origin of Religion

 

Totemic Traditions

 

      Pals, ch. 1, pp. 15-44

 

           

Symbols, Myths, and Doctrine

Week Four

Sept 19: Myth

 

Video: The Message of the Myth

(Interview with mythologist Joseph Campbell)

 

QUIZ 1

      Armstrong, Karen.  Mythos and Logos, from the Preface to The Case for God

Sept 21: Mythos and Logos

 

Sept 23: Sacred Symbols and Religious Narratives
 

 

      Livingston, ch. 4

 

Week Five

Sept 26: Theories of Myth

 

 

 

Ritual: Sacred Action

 

Sept 30: The Ritual Engagement

 

Puja in the Hindu Traditions

 

      Livingston, ch. 5

 

 

Week Six

Oct 03: Our own people / Our own gods
Ritual possession and : Gods and Humans

 

 

Oct 05: Ritual Cycles in Life and Society

 

 

 

 

Society and the Sacred

 

Oct 07:  Society and the Sacred
 

The Shaker Tradition

Video: The Shakers

 

      Livingston, ch. 7

 

Week Seven

Oct 12:  QUIZ

 

QUIZ 2
Oct 14: Society and the Sacred

 

 

Week Eight

Oct 17: Emile Durkheim – Society as Sacred

 

      Pals, ch. 3

 



Oct 19: Midterm Exam

 

 

 

 

Ideas of the Divine and Ultimate Reality

 

Oct 21: Divine and Ultimate Reality

 

      Linvingston, ch. 8

 

Week Nine

Oct 24: Polytheism, Sky Gods, and the Mother Goddess

 

 

 

Oct 26: Video:
330 Million Gods

 

Oct 28: Pantheism, Dualism, Monism, and Monotheism

 



 

 

Mircea Eliade and the Reality of the Sacred

Week Ten

Oct 31: Meetings

 

 

Nov 02: Eliade: The Sacred and the Profane

 

      Pals, ch. 7, pp. 227-246

Nov 04: Eliade: History and Sacred Time

 

      Pals, ch. 7, pp. 246-261

 



William James and the Varieties of Religious Experience

Week Eleven

Nov 07: On Religious Experience

 

      Pals, ch. 6

Nov 09: Video :
Sufi Soul -- The Mystic Music of Islam

 

QUIZ 3

 

Nov 11: James on Mysticism

 

      James, Mysticism [BB]

 

The Human Problem and the Problem of Theodicy

Week Twelve

Nov 14: The Human Problem

 

      Livingston, ch. 10

Nov 16: Theodicy: Encountering Evil

 

      Livingston, ch. 11

Nov. 18: (continued)

 

 

 

Week Thirteen

 

Nov. 21-26: No Class (Thanksgiving Break)

 

 

 

Soteriology: Salvation and Liberation

Week Fourteen

Nov 28:  Video: Land of the Disappearing Buddha

 

      Livingston, ch. 13

Nov 30: Ways and Goals of Salvation and Liberation

 

 

Dec 02:  (continued)

 



 

 

The Sacred and the Secular in Modernity

Week Fifteen

Dec 05: Ultimate Aims

 

Dec 07: Secularization, Pluralism, and Revitalization

 

QUIZ 4

      Livingston, ch. 14

Dec 09:  Contemporary Religious Fundamentalism

 



 

 

Final Exam:

Section 01 (8-9:10):         Tuesday, December 13.  9:00 – 11:15 am

Section 02 (9:20-10:30):  Thursday, December 15.  9:00 – 11:15 am

 

Exams will take place in our usual classroom