FRS 101(F) Introduction to Religion

This course examines the structure and dynamics of certain aspects of religious thought, action, and sensibility-employing psychological, sociological, anthropological, and philosophical modes of inquiry. We will begin with a survey of stances toward religion that have come to dominate the century's view of the place and the truth of religion. These include the phenomenological, Mircea Eliade's Sacred and the Profane; the psychoanalytic, Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents; the sociological, Emile Durkheim's Elementary Forms of Religious Life; the anthropological in the works of Clifford Geertz, Victor Turner, Claude Levi-Strauss and Carolyn Bynum; and finally the theological in the works of Paul Tillich and Mary Daly. With the tools we develop in the first half of the course we then turn to the study of some religious traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism and Christianity. In this portion we will read such world classics as the Bhagavad Gita, Hebrew Scriptures, Gospel of Matthew, and Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling. Emphasis on class discussion and the writing of interpretive papers. Requirements: weekly 1-page papers in response to assigned questions, including visits to art museums and religious services. Writing these papers should help discussions, both in the classroom and in the dorm. Midterm paper and self-scheduled final. FRS students in the past have greatly appreciated having an entry-full of companions to talk with as they thought about how to respond to the course materials. This luxury is provided only within the framework of FRS. Enrollment limited to FRS students.