ILS 234 Spring 2020

Download RS-ILS 234 Syllabus Spring 2020 Rosenhagen

Genres of Western Religious Writing has been developed with this comparative approach as its methodological
guide. It offers an introduction to some of the main genres of Western religious writing (i.e., scripture,
prayer, pilgrimage, myth, and ritual) as well as legacies and challenges of Western religious traditions (i.e.
pluralism, authority, social ethics, and violence). This class is based on the premise that closer study of
certain genres across cultures and traditions can offer a fresh look onto “the West’s” religious economy and
imagination.
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During the course of the semester we will read religious (or spiritual) memoirs by Barbara Brown Taylor,
and Haroon Moghul, and Eboo Patel. Memoirs are a central genre of Western religious writing since
Augustin of Hippo’s (358-430) famous Confessions, in which he tells his readers about his own (reprehensible)
youth and his conversion to Christianity. The memoirs will serve as a playing field to test ideas about socioreligious
formations, religious virtuosi, religious pluralism, - activism, and - criticism. We will also examine
the concept of ritual and will thoroughly explore the idea of “braided histories of the Abrahamic
Traditions.” We will have an opportunity to talk about braided histories with Prof. emer. Charles L. Cohen,
who recently published his book The Abrahamic Religions (2020).