This introductory course surveys the rise and development of the three major world religions which ground their tradition in the Abrahamic narrative: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Major topics include sacred texts, sacred space, prayer, pilgrimage, mysticism, and community with a particular emphasis on “interfaith” relations –historical perspectives on the children of Abraham in conflict and dialogue. Primary texts include religious autobiography, poetry, mystical writing, personal narratives and selected sacred texts. This course focuses on an understanding of religion and religious identities as dynamic--rather than fixed categories—in negotiation with issues of gender, culture, nationality, and social justice. The course concludes with a look at the rise of fundamentalism in modern Judaism, Christianity and Islam and its impact on contemporary global issues.
Note: Several field trips to locations of religious significance in the Bay area are currently planned for this course.
This course is offered Fall 2014.
Instructor: Judith Bishop
How does a sampling of world spiritual traditions illustrate the relation between human and non-human entities: i.e., non-human animals, the environment, and the cosmos. What are the implications of these relationships for our contemporary concepts of sustainability? How do these same religious traditions address what we understand today as personal sustainability? Although we understand contemporary society to be uniquely stressful, many of the ancient spiritual traditions regularly foregrounded the need to take time to be “apart”—to separate oneself from the stresses of daily life. From the Jewish Shabbat, to the concepts of pilgrimage, and Buddhist meditation: How have these ancient traditions addressed the need to recharge and refuel? This course explores the different ways ancient traditions have emphasized the need to develop practices that contribute to what we today might term personal sustainability.
This course is offered January 2014.
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