Spring 2022 | Mediterranean Exploration

PHIL 479 Topics in Comparative Religions [CRN 17869]

Overview of Course

"[Humans] expect from the various religions answers to the unsolved riddles of the human condition, which today, even as in former times, deeply stir the hearts of [humans]: What is [a human]? What is the meaning, the aim of our life? What is moral good, what is sin? Whence suffering and what purpose does it serve? Which is the road to true happiness? What are death, judgment and retribution after death? What, finally, is that ultimate inexpressible mystery which encompasses our existence: whence do we come, and where are we going?" – Nostra Aetate

This course invites students to delve more deeply into five of the world religions - Buddhism, HInduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity - and to look at similarities and differences between them. In the five modules, a student team will present the tradition to the class to help anchor the discussions to follow. We will be looking at each tradition from the perspective of an “outsider” and that of an “insider”. These scholars of religion model how to engage in an interreligious dialogue. Sacred writings and/or commentaries will be studied and discussed. The final section of the module will include a case study spanning at least two religious traditions. Students will also watch and discuss two films for each tradition as we again practice applying our developing understanding of the particular religion/s. Students will also be creating a field journal which will be summarized and presented on the final day of class. Articles, case studies, discussion questions, study guides, and rubrics will be available on the class LMS site. Students are not required to print out most documents, however they must have access to them for reference during class.