ILS 234: Genres of Western Religious Writing – 3 credits

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Writing intensive course based on the conventions in which Western writers have expressed religious ideas. Readings from Jewish, Christian, and other spiritualities. This course introduces some key aspects of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought and historical experience by exploring a range of texts from antiquity to the modern era. We begin by considering major themes in the sacred scriptures of each religion – themes conveyed via such literary genres as narrative, law, prophecy, gospel, epistle, apocalyptic, and poetry – with a focus on ways in which later texts interact with earlier ones. The middle unit of the course examines different approaches, in the medieval and early modern periods, to knowing and experiencing the divine. We will consider how monotheistic thinkers drew on Greek ideas about reason and knowledge, and we will read bits of philosophical theology, mystical writing, and polemical treatises on the nature of religious and intellectual authority. In the final course unit we will read two spiritual autobiographies and a novel to explore relationships among religious tradition, identity and the search for meaning in the modern world.

Requisites: Satisfied Communications A requirement

Breadth - Humanities

Level - Intermediate

Counts as L&S Credit

This course fulfills the Communications B requirement.