This course is an introduction to the comparative study of religion, focusing on the three major Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Special attention will be devoted to the historical development of each tradition within and around the Mediterranean, but we will also spend time discussing basic doctrines and dominant practices. Comparative by design, this course encourages students to understand and appreciate the common lineages of these traditions, as well as their radical divergences.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Day: 3 - Barcelona - Thursday, 8 August
Much like the Rome field lab, this excursion will introduce students to the grandeur of Catholic Europe alongside its dark history of religious intolerance, particularly toward the Jews. We will begin the day in Barcelona’s Old City, with a tour of Barcelona’s grand Cathedral. From there, we will travel to the mountains north of the city, where we will tour the majestic monastery of Montserrat. Here students will learn more about the history of monastic life within the Christian tradition, and the ways in which it differs from the religious life found in the Cathedrals of major European cities. Finally, we will make our way back to the city to visit a museum dedicated to the history of Jews in Barcelona, explore the remains of one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, and take a walking tour of the nearby Jewish Quarter (El Call). Academic Objectives: After this Field Lab, students will have:
- Reinforced their understanding of the history of Christendom in Europe, and the prominence of Spain therein.
- Gained more information about the basic features of different types of churches and synagogues.
- Been introduced to the history of Catholic oppression of Jews during the Renaissance.
- Learned about the history of monastic life within the Christian tradition, and the ways in which it differs from the religious life found in the Cathedrals of major European cities.