This course will address a single, fundamental question in the study of religion: what is the nature of religious experience? In doing so, we will examine the great varieties of religious experiences, the different modes of religiosity as they appear in personal and, to a secondary degree, corporate or social religious practice. Contemplation, meditation, and prayer, exstatic and enstatic, and other types of experiences will be considered. Mysticism will form a central concern of this course.
Field WorkCountry: Turkey
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 29 September
Visit some of the oldest and most astonishing religious sites in one of the oldest cities in Western Civilization. We will tour the Aya Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”), which was built as a cathedral beginning in 537 AD. We will also see the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, a.k.a. the Blue Mosque, built from 1609-1616 AD and the dervish hall of the Sufi saints, the *Galata Mevlevihanesi*. The highlight of the trip is our visit to a live performance of the whirling dervishes of the famed Sufi saints at the Hodja Pasha Center. Students will be provided with one or more questions to address in their field lab reports, which should be 3-5 pages (750-1250 words) in length.