|Note | Week: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16|
I will be available in my office in Patterson 127 MWF from 2:00 until 3:00, TTh from 2:00 until 4:00 and at other times by arrangement.
The schedule of assignments, quizzes, etc. remains negotiable until Friday of week 9. Changes must be made before this date.
Week 1 - Introduction: the Academic Study of Religon
Wed. 1/19 Introduction to the course: the class
description, the webpage, and textbooks.
A brief introduction to the academic study of religion.
Fri. 1/21 The Problem of Definition: terms and categories of the study as themselves providing models of religion. An introduction to the idea of "Dimensional" Models of religion.
How does this apply to contemporary America? See Diana Eck's A New Religious America and The Pluralism Project
Mon. 1/24 Smith's "point of departure," pp. 8 - 15 and
Novak's collection of texts.
(Note that required readings from the two textbooks are shown in yellow. Other readings, usually provided on the class R: drive, are shown in blue).
Wed. 1/26 The "phenomenology" of religion.
Chris Arthur, "Phenomenology and the Art of Story-telling,".
Fri. 1/28 Religious narratives as models of Human Experience. See Clifford Geertz on Religions as "models of" and "models for" human life.
Week 3 - Religious Traditions: The Oral Traditions
See BigMyth.com for many of the world's traditional non-literate myths.
Mon. 1/31 Creation Myths. Water symbolism and creation.
See Novak's collection for examples of the creation myths of non-literate peoples.
Fri. 2/4 QUIZ #1 (Definition, The Study of Religions, Non-literate traditions)
Week 4 - Hinduism. See Maps of India
In fact, make sure you know the location of all of the countries
See these maps (1) & (2).
Varnasramadharma - the blessed rage for order.
Novak chapter One.
Mon. 2/7 The
Four Vedas, and Varnashramadharma.
Wed. 2/9 The Four Yogas, the Four valid aims, and the Four stages of life.
Smith 40 - 46. A discussion of Rajayoga.
Fri. 2/11 Video, 330 Million Gods. Take especial note of references to the various formal stages of Hindu life in the
family of Shivesh Takur. What other elements of the Varnashramadharma does the video touch upon?
Smith 47 - 57.
Week 5 - Hinduism, Continued.
Mon. 2/14 The Varnashramadharma and human life.
Wed. 2/16 Hindu myths: An Introduction to the BhagavadGita.
The BhagavadGita in the Mahabharata.
There is usually a visit to the Sri Venkateswara Temple some time during this section of the course. See also the Saivenkateswara Homepage.
Fri. 2/18 Discussion of Hinduism.
Week 6 - Buddhism
The Buddhadharma - challenging tradition.
Novak chapter Two (especially pages 49-65)
Mon. 2/21 The Life of the Buddha.
Wed. 2/23 Video, excerpts from Bertolucci's The Little Buddha.
Fri. 2/25 Discussion: Buddhist narratives as models of human experience: The Discovery of Meditative Insight, The parables of the Poisoned Arrow and Carrying a Girl (see Novak, pages 53, 64, 107).
Week 7 - Buddhism continued.
Mon. 2/28 The Dharma and the Sangha. Buddhist Meditation - the Saddhu and the Bhikshu.
Wed. 3/2 Video: Footprints of the Buddha.
Fri. 3/4 Discussion: Is Theravada Buddhism a "religion?"
Note that your research paper MUST
be determined by this time.
Please turn in a one paragraph statement of your topic and your thesis
Week 8 - Chinese Religion
See these maps (1) & (2).
San Chiao - Unity and Diversity.
Novak chapters Three and Four
Smith 99 - 143.
Mon. 3/7 The San
Chiao; China's three traditions.
See also this note on transliteration.
Wed. 3/9 Religion in China. Map: China during the Han period.
Fri. 3/11 QUIZ #2 (Hinduism, Buddhism and Chinese Religion).
Mon. 3/14 - Judaism
Novak chapter Five
Smith 179 - 203.
The People of the Book
Bear these questions in mind as you study.
The Texts, and the History.
The Ideas and the Religion: monotheism and Covenant Theology.
Wed. 3/16 The development of Jewish Theology until the Diaspora of 135 CE.
Fri. 3/18 A Visiting Jewish Speaker: Jonathan Solomon, a leading member of the Jewish Community in New Castle will address the class and answer questions.
Week 11 - Discussion and Review.
Wed. 3/30 - No Class (Dr. Rennie will be in Tokyo at the Congress of the International Association for the History of Religion.)
Fri. 4/1 - Classes Resume: Discussion and Review--An Introduction to a very important research tool: The Religion Index to periodical literature (see "Research in Religion Topics.ppt" on your R: drive).
Week 12 - The History of Religion in the Mediterranean World.
Mon. 4/4 The Greco-Roman Context. Greek and Roman Mysteries, Mithraism and Gnosticism.
Wed. 4/6 Zoroastrianism: the religion of the Persian Empire.
Fri. 4/8 Heresy and Orthodoxy: The Development of the Christian Church.
You are required to turn in a working bibliography for your paper at the end of next week. This must contain at least five properly documented sources, written up in the style required by the notes on the essay.
Week 13 - Christianity.The Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Smith 205 - 216.
Mon. 4/11 Christianity in History: the successful spread of the early Church.
Students should see "Early Christian Growth.doc" on the class R: drive.
Wed. 4/13 Some
Biblical texts. Narratives, Myths, and Models in the Christian scriptures:
Faith and Sacrifice. Novak chapter Six.
Let us consider some examples, such as: "God Tests Abraham's Faith," Novak, p. 182 from Genesis 22:1-19; the battle between David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17:1-54; The marriage at Cana from John 2: 1-11; and The cursing of the fig tree from Mark 11:12-14.
The Coming of the Messiah from Matthew 1 - 3;
The Coming of the Messiah from Mark 1;
The Coming of the Messiah from Luke 1 - 3;
The Coming of the Messiah from John 1;
The Resurrection from Matthew 28;
The Resurrection from Mark 16;
The Resurrection from Luke 24;
The Resurrection from John 20;
Luke's account of the conversion of Paul from Acts 9 and 22;
Paul's account of his conversion from Galatians 1;
Paul's Hymn to Love from I Corinthians 13;
"Babylon the great, mother of harlots" from Revelations 17.
Novak chapter Six.
Fri. 4/15 The
Sacraments of Christianity.
Your working bibliography is due today. This must contain at least five properly documented sources, written up in the style required by the notes on the essay.
Week 14 - Christianity Continued.
Mon. 4/18 The Liturgy of Christianity.
Wed. 4/20 Discussion of Christianity.
Fri. 4/22 QUIZ #3 (Judaism, Graeco-Roman Religion, and Christianity).
Week 15 - Islam
Novak chapter Seven
Smith 145 - 159.
Mon. 4/25 Introduction to Islam: The Prophet and the Book.
Today is your last chance to have a rough draft of your paper checked.
Wed. 4/27 More on the History of Islam: The Caliphate and the origins of the Sunni/Shia division.
Fri. 4/29 The Five Pillars of Islam and Principles of Islamic Theology.
Week 16 Smith 160 - 177.
Mon. 5/2 Video: The Legacy of a Prophet.
Visiting speaker, Dr. Ahmad Abul-Ela, a leading member of the local Islamic community (TBA).
Tue. 5/3 The last class. Your paper is due in today.
Explanation of the Final Examination.
Student Assessments of the course.
I will hand out the take-home final in this class.
Completed finals papers may be handed in during the finals periods (TBA), because that is the only time that I can guarantee that we will both be free. So they can be handed to me in FH 101--or any time before that as long as they are given to me personally, because I will not accept any excuses whatsoever for finals papers that have been somehow lost. I will accept them as e-mail attachments, too, but you must await a positive response from me that I have received your paper before you assume that I have got it.
Reading Day Wednesday, May 4th.
The take-home final is due to be handed in at a time to be arranged. They can be submitted earlier but must be given to me personally.
Finals period Thursday 5/5 to Saturday 5/7 & Monday 5/9.
Term ends Tuesday 5/10.