4000 Level Courses

HUMA 4107 6.0 THE ANCIENT GREEK AND ROMAN NOVEL

This course studies selected ancient Greek and Roman novels in English translation, the social and literary currents which shape their narratives, and their role in the cultural politics of their era.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Greek and Roman Religions

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Ryan Wei

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION:  Mon 4–7 pm, BC 325

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities, Religious Studies, and Classical Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4178 6.0 THE DEATH OF GOD: ATHEISM AND MODERNITY IN THE WEST

Nietzsche’s famous, prophetic claim that “God is dead” is often taken as describing the declining significance of God within modernity. Adopting neither a pro- nor anti- theistic stance, this course critically examines the relationship between atheism and modernity in Western thought and culture by drawing upon religious, philosophical, scientific, literary, historical, sociological, artistic, and cinematic sources. The course shall take both a historical and a theoretical approach in its investigation. We will aim to understand when, how and why atheism emerges and develops in the way that it does, and the influence it has across culture, while also undertaking to grasp theoretically what it is, as well as the presuppositions and implications of its position. To achieve these aims, we will investigate the ideas of God and faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Greek and Roman philosophy; the relationship of science and religion in the West; the meanings of secularism, secularization, and secularity; philosophical and theological arguments for and against faith in God; the relationships between theism, atheism, nihilism, and meaning; representations of faith and its loss in literature, art, and film; and the possibilities of thought and practice offered by so-called “post-religious,” “post-secular,” and “post-atheistic” orientations.

COURSE CATEGORY: Methods and Approaches; Self, Society and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4190 6.0 FAITH, REASON AND MODERN SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS IN EUROPEAN THOUGHT

This course examines texts in Ancient Greek philosophy, the Bible, and modern European thought in order to assess the fruitfulness of viewing modern self-consciousness in terms of the relationship of faith and reason.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Greek and Roman Religions, Christianity, Judaism

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Avron Kulak

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Thurs 11:30 am –2:30 pm, HNE 230

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities and Religious Studies  Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4430 6.0 LIVING CONFUCIANISM: CONFUCIAN PHILOSOPHY AND PRACTICE IN TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY EAST ASIA

No one has had a greater impact on Chinese culture than Confucius. His ideas about self-cultivation, the proper ordering of society, the role of the individual in the social order, the relationship between humanity and the cosmos et cetera not only shaped the underlying fabric of Chinese civilisation, they deeply influenced several neighbouring cultures as well. Though Confucianism has taken many forms over the millennia, it remains central to any meaningful understanding of East Asia and is, therefore, critical for constructive international engagement in the 21st century. In the first half of the course, we will follow the development of Confucian thought and practice in imperial China and the corresponding relevant periods in Vietnam, Korea and Japan. In the second half of the course, we will analyse the ways that different groups, including East Asian modernizers and non-Asian scholars, have tried to tie Confucianism to emerging national and global issues.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: East Asian Religions

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Gordon Anderson

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Wed 2:30–5:30 pm, HNE 230

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities, Religious Studies, and East Asian Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4535 6.0 RELIGIOUS REFORMATION AND ITS CULTURAL EXPRESSION

This is a research seminar focused on the cultural expressions of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations of the 16th century. Students will study a selection of relevant doctrinal points, relating them to their expression in the broader cultural context.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4630 6.0 TEXT & INTERPRETATION

Examines selected areas of the Western religious heritage from an historical perspective. Depending on the instructor, the course examines either (a) the interaction between religion and culture, literature or philosophy or (b) the interaction between various religious traditions.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts; Methods and Approaches; Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity, Judaism, Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4652 3.0 THE WESTERN RELIGIOUS HERITAGE

Examines selected areas of the Western religious heritage from an historical perspective. Depending on the instructor, the course examines either (a) the interaction between religion and culture, literature or philosophy or (b) the interaction between various religious traditions.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity, Judaism, Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4653 6.0 SPECIALIZED STUDIES IN RELIGION

Allows students to pursue a supervised program of research in the advanced study of religion. Topics can include focused projects in specific ancient religious texts; contemporary religious issues; or religion and literature, philosophy or psychology.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts; Methods and Approaches

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Varies by year

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4655 6.0 THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS

Allows students the opportunity to pursue research projects in selected areas of Biblical studies including: Old Testament, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls or Gnosticism.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4656 6.0 WOMEN IN ISLAM: STATUS IN THE QURAN, THE PROPHETIC TRADITIONS AND THE ISLAMIC LAW

Examines the status, roles, and rights of Muslim women in the Quran, the Prophetic traditions, and the diverse Islamic laws. It explores the development of different schools of laws in diverse societies and examines the changes regarding Muslim women's identity.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion and Gender

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4730 6.0 TOPIC IN ARTS & IDEAS

A study of the sources, contexts, expressions, and inter-relationships of the ideas and the non-literary arts of a place or period. Social, literary, philosophical and religious works and their interactions with the arts (painting, sculpture, music, and architecture) are examined in a specific context.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Varies by year

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Diana Cooper-Clark

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Wed 11:30 am–2:30 pm, HNE 104

COURSE WEBSITE:

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities and Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4750 3.0 GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN JEWISH LIFE

This course offers an exploration of distinctive Jewish approaches to questions of gender, sexuality, and the body, as formulated in their historical, religious, ethical and social dimensions. While we begin our journey with Biblical and other traditional sources, we focus most of our attention on contemporary encounters between gender/sexuality and Jewish life and the gendered nature of religious practice and religious authority. The course explores normative constructions of women's and men's societal and sexual roles in law and custom, and compares these to social realities.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion and Gender

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4755 3.0 GENDER & CONTEMPORARY RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS

This course explores the relationship between gender and religion through the examination of contemporary religious movements such as men's and women's spirituality movements, new religious movements, LGBTQ movements, and fundamentalist movements.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion and Gender; Methods and Approaches; Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Varies by year

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4770 3.0 (FALL) BUDDHISM IN MODERN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Explores Buddhist responses to the changing conditions of modernity in Southeast Asia. Seeking to understand Buddhism as a living religion, it investigates how Buddhists have drawn on religious narratives, symbols and rituals to respond to social and political challenges from the nineteenth century to the present, including issues of religious reform, colonialism, nationalism and ethnicity.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Buddhism

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Alicia Turner

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues 2:30–5:30 pm, SC 223

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4771 3.0 (WINTER) BUDDHISM AS SEEN FROM THE WEST

Explores how the colonial encounter shaped the academic study of Buddhism and the image of Buddhism in the West. Reading popular and scholarly accounts of Buddhism written from the early nineteenth century to the present day, the course analyses how the legacy of and response to colonialism have coloured our understanding of Buddhism as a lived religion.

COURSE CATEGORY: Methods and Approaches

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Buddhism

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Alicia Turner

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues 2:30–5:30 pm, SC 223

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4775 3.0 SOUTH ASIAN RELIGIONS AND POPULAR CULTURE

How have South Asian religions been represented, practiced, communicated, and transformed through popular culture? How are religious themes, images, and ideas explored in contemporary film, television, print media and music? Focusing on Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Sikhism, the course explores concepts of the religious and the popular in ancient and medieval South Asian art forms and works of contemporary culture.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts; Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Hinduism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4803 6.0 CHURCH, MOSQUE AND SYNAGOGUE

This course examines religious, intellectual, and cultural relations between the three faith communities of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It examines the origins of these religious communities, as expressed through their holy texts, and the ways these faith communities grew and spread through history. Methodologically the course pays special attention to the study of primary sources as an attempt to arrive at a ‘trustworthy’ assessment of complex historical phenomena. Medieval Spain will serve as the key case study in our course in order to examine these  inter-religious relations. The Muslim conquest of the Iberian peninsula in 711 inaugurated a complex tri-religious society that was to endure nearly eight hundred years. This development has given rise to Spain’s designation as a “land of three religions” and Spain’s reputation as premodern western Europe’s foremost “pluralist” society. As such, medieval Spain serves as particularly fascinating setting in which to explore the diverse facets of Jewish-Muslim-Christian co-existence or “dwelling together” (also known as convivencia).

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity, Islam, Judaism

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Randal Schnoor

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Tues 4–7 pm, HNE 230

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4804 6.0 HISTORICAL AND MYTHOLOGICAL VIEWS OF JEWISH HISTORY

Focusing on several critical periods of Jewish history, this course explores the methodologies and presuppositions of some historians, theologians and creative writers in an attempt to arouse sensitivity to the difficulties of establishing historical truth.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4807 6.0 MAIMONIDES

This course is an historical and critical inquiry into the religious thought of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (1135–1204).

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4808 6.0 SEX AND VIOLENCE IN THE HEBREW BIBLE

This course attempts a nuanced reading of texts dealing with sexuality and/or violence in the Hebrew Bible. The discussion focuses both on a contextual and on a contemporaneous reading of these texts.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion and Gender; Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4809 6.0 THE HEBREW BIBLE AND THE LITERATURE OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST

This course examines various biblical literary genres and themes within the context of literature from the ancient Near East.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4810 6.0 RELIGION IN POST-COLONIAL LITERATURE

This course examines the role and status of the religious in the production and reception of contemporary post-colonial literatures in English. Interdisciplinary in approach, the course begins with an assessment of Christianity’s historical function as the handmaiden of British colonial and imperial expansion. We then analyze ways in which post-colonial novelists of European and indigenous cultures in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Caribbean and the Africas embody, transform and interrogate this history. Might the ritual, ethical and theological inheritance of Christianity be adapted to changing post-colonial conditions, or should it be resisted altogether as the lingering ideology of colonial times? Finally, such considerations involve us in the analysis of post-colonial fiction which explores the history of relations among adherents of religious traditions other than Christianity and the scions of the British colonial and imperial project. Although required readings focus on the novel, students are free to work on poetry and drama in their research essays.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4811 3.0 GOLDEN AGE? THE JEWS IN MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN SPAIN

This course explores issues in the sociocultural history and religious-intellectual creativity of medieval Spanish Jewry, while setting these issues in their larger Hispano-Islamic and Hispano-Christian contexts.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4812 3.0 CHRISTIANITY AND FILM

This course examines the role and representation of the Christian in popular film. It identifies and analyzes ways in which contemporary cinema reflects, shapes and embodies Christian myths, histories, rituals and doctrines and non-Christian attitudes towards them.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4813 3.0 (FALL) THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: MORALITY, SEXUALITY AND STRATEGIES OF INTERPRETATION

This course examines the history of the reception and interpretation of The Arabian Nights, from its first appearance in Galland’s 1701 translation to its modern editions by Husain Haddawy in 2008. Interdisciplinary in approach, this course exposes students to concepts derived from the contemporary discussions of the problems of originality, authorship, translatability, and the reception of the Arabian Nights.

In the first part of the course (sessions 1-4), students acquire the theoretical and methodological tools necessary for a critical examination of different visual and textual versions of the stories from The Arabian Nights. In the second part of the course (sessions 5-15), students examine individual tales in conjunction with scholarly works that focus on story-telling techniques and narrative strategies of The Arabian Nights. In their analysis of selected stories, students focus on the concepts of morality, sexuality, spatiality, and gender. In the third part of the course (sessions 16-24), students examine different visual and textual renditions of the most popular tales from The Arabian Nights (Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Sindbad, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves). Students pay special attention to the European reception of these tales and the attempts by European ethnographers, linguists, historians and visual artists to represent their content as non-fictional, historical accounts of Arab society, Oriental sexuality, Islamic religiosity, and so on.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Selma Zecevic

MODE OF DELIVERY: BLENDED (30% in class; 70% online)

Students are required to attend all seven (7) in-class sessions which will be held on the following dates: September 9 and 23; October 7 and 21; November 4 and 18; December 2. 

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION:  Mon 4–7 pm (blended course), VH 1152

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4814 6.0 THE QUR'AN AND ITS INTERPRETERS

This course focuses on the Qur'an and its different interpretations. Historical, linguistic, literary, sectarian, Sufi, feminist, modernist and traditionalist approaches are considered in the discussion of selected readings from the Qur'an in English translation.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion and Gender; Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4815 6.0A STUDIES IN ISLAMIC MYSTICISM

The course examines the development of Islamic mystical tradition (Sufism) in reference to two issues: one, the development of Sufism as a form of social organization institutionalized in the tarîqa orders, and two, the employment of different themes and symbols in Sufi thought that seek to personalize religious experience through esoteric interpretations of the sacred texts.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4816 6.0 WOMEN IN ISLAMIC LITERATURE

This interdisciplinary course focuses on the representations of women in modern-day literary, scholarly, and visual “texts,” produced by both men and women in Muslim-majority countries and their diasporas in the West. It covers a wide range of geographical regions and treats a variety of literary texts (novels, short stories, poetry), as well as other art forms (painting, photography, film). Thematically, its main goals are two: a/ To explore issues of gender, as reflected in the selected sources, and to discuss the factors which affect the perception of gender roles and the representations of women in a given cultural setting; b/ To acquaint students with authors of international renown, whose works reflect important cultural, ideological, and aesthetic trends in modern Muslim societies and communities. Students are invited to consider the extent to which religion shapes the creative choices of the authors. Is the dominant mode of women’s representation typified by Islamic values and ideals? Or is there an array of associations and images of women that stem out of different cultural, political, and aesthetic sensibilities? How is the female body, behavior, sexuality, and identity at large constructed in reference to literary, cultural, and societal norms? What is the relationship between text and context? How do historical circumstances, “the spirit of the times”, and the priorities of the moment affect the representation of women, and the issues which authors choose to highlight? In addressing these topics, the course explores--and in part problematizes--the term “Islamic literatures/cultures” when used as a common denominator for a host of creative activities that transcend purely religion-oriented behavior and experience. It also tests the conventional polarities between tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, East and West.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

COURSE DIRECTOR:

Marta Simidchieva

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION:  Wed 4–7 pm, SC 223

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4819 3.0 (FALL) VISIONS OF THE END: EARLY JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN APOCALYPTICISM

This course investigates the origins and development of apocalypticism within ancient Judaism and early Christianity, covering apocalyptic literature (e.g. Daniel, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Revelation), ancient millennial movements, and the apocalyptic world-view.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion, Literature, and the Arts

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

COURSE DIRECTOR (CLICK ON IMAGE FOR FACULTY PROFILE):

Philip Harland

CLASS TIME AND LOCATION: Fri 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, HNE 230

COURSE WEBSITE: http://www.philipharland.com

RESERVED SPACES: All spaces reserved for Yr 03 & 04 Humanities & Religious Studies Majors and Minors.

HUMA 4820 3.0 JEWISH THOUGHT AND CULTURE

Jewish thought and culture are explored over a millennium (800-1800), focusing on transformations of the classical (biblical-rabbinic) legacy and interplay with the Islamic and Christian religio-cultural spheres in which they developed.
Course credit exclusions: None.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4821 3.0A CULTURE, SOCIETY & VALUES IN ISRAEL

This course decodes aspects of culture, society and values in Israel through contemporary Israeli literature—mainly short stories and poems—seasoned lightly with visual art, artifact, film and cuisine. Texts will be read and discussed in English.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4822 3.0 GENDER AND WOMANHOOD IN ISRAEL

This course offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the cultural and historical development of Israeli womanhood during the early years of statehood. It pays special attention to the evolution of values and cultures of domestic space and home.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religion and Gender

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Judaism

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4825 6.0 DIVERSITY IN EARLY CHRISTIANITY

This course explores diversity in early Christian thought and practice by investigating groups traditionally viewed as “heretical.” This will include analysis of the New Testament Apocrypha, Nag Hammadi writings, and the opponents attacked in canonical and heresiological literature.

COURSE CATEGORY: Religious Thoughts and Practices; Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4826 3.0 URBAN LIFE & THE ISLAMIC CITY

This course addresses city formation, urban space, and the socio-religious structure in Islamic cities from early Islam to the pre-modern period. The course approaches the Islamic city both as an urban phenomenon and as a modern analytical concept. Its content include some central themes in Islamic studies such as the place of religion in the social life of Muslims; the royal/princely domain; the markets or bazaars; institutions of education and public welfare; and the domestic space. The course is based on weekly readings and discussions that will be part of the general assessment. The relevant articles will be posted on the moodle site. The course assignments include an exam, an essay, and a presentation.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Islam

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020

HUMA 4827 3.0 GRAECO-ROMAN, BIBLICAL, AND EARLY CHRISTIAN CONCEPTS OF THE SOUL

This course explores concepts of soul from early Greek Civilization to the early Christian era. It examines a cluster of related concepts -- soul, spirit, shade, consciousness, will, and mind - that express the self or “inner person.” Entailed are soul as a thing separate from body; sensation and perception; relation of soul to body; conflict within the soul; and the soul's eternity. The notion of the survival of the self in some form preceded any attempt to define the soul and its functions. The idea of self derives from the fact of sensation and consciousness in all human beings. The term psyche, “soul,” appears in Greek thought to express the inner person, the principle of life and movement, as well as the mind and its functions. Many early thinkers believed the soul to be a separate thing from the body and even capable of pre-existing the body and surviving its death. The notion of "innate ideas" was invoked to demonstrate that memory pre-existed an individual's present life. Conflicting theories of the after-life of the soul spanned a number of possibilities: total annihilation along with the body, transmigration of the soul to other bodies, or assignment to a place of eternal punishment or reward. Much speculation was devoted to how the soul was connected to the body, and opinions were divided as to whether the soul was corporeal or a kind of spiritual substance, i.e. without body. Western Christian thinkers challenged a number of early theories regarding the soul, substituting the notion of learning through recollection with divine illumination, and insisting on the goodness of the unity of body and soul—as opposed to the common notion that the body is the prison house of the soul, from which the good soul should desire to escape. Christians envisioned a body united (or reunited) with the soul in the afterlife. While some thinkers believed that the soul survived as only a part of cosmic consciousness, the vast majority affirmed the survival of an individual conscious self, whether as detached soul or as integrated body and soul.

COURSE CATEGORY: Self, Society, and Other

RELIGIOUS TRADITION(S) COVERED: Christianity, Greek and Roman Religions

THIS COURSE IS NOT OFFERED IN 2019/2020