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Introduction to World Religions: Religious Thought Across Cultures Fall 2012 Cory Taylor Ofce: 401 Gilmore Hall!

! ! ! ! Ofce Hours: T/Th, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. or by appt. ! E-mail: cory-taylor@uiowa.edu Phone: (319) 353-1991

Overview: Throughout our history, humans have had a deep attraction to the sacred. Religion is a universal human characteristic. In this course, we will be studying various forms religion has taken across humanity, and we will explore the universal themes that lie behind them. We will begin by examining the place religion has had in human evolution and the three main building blocks of its development: ritual, narrative, and doctrine. Then, we will study several different religions from around the world, focusing on the forms of the three building blocks in each and the practices of each in everyday life, and examining sacred texts, accounts from adherents, and secondary literature about them. We will then end the semester with a brief overview and comparison between all the religions, showing the differences and similarities of religious thought across the world. Course Goals:
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To sharpen our critical thinking skills and challenge our comprehension through active participation, which includes preparing for class, listening to others, and contributing to discussions. To understand the importance of religion in the world today, through studying the role religiosity has played in human evolution and the forms that religiosity has taken in different cultures around the world. To gain a basic understanding of the religious traditions of the world and to develop empathic objectivity -- viewing things from the perspectives of others, in order to describe those perspectives neutrally and fairly -- through studying sacred texts from religions around the world, commentary from adherents of those religions, and secondary literature by scholars of those religions.

Mutual Expectations:
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This is your opportunity to engage with the course material in a meaningful way, but in order to do so, you must be prepared for class by reading the weeks assignment before class, thinking of questions you have after doing the reading, and attending class. You are required to bring each weeks readings with you to class.

It is the instructors responsibility to be prepared for class, grade work in a timely manner, and be available outside of class (see office hours above). Students may expect responses to emails within 24 hours on weekdays and 36 hours on weekends. This is our shared learning environment where we are expected to treat each other with respect. This includes listening patiently to ideas expressed by others and being prepared to challenge preconceived notions about the subjects we will address.

Textbook: Ninian Smart and Richard D. Hecht, eds., Sacred Texts of the World: A Universal Anthology (New York: Crossroad, 1982). Course Assessment: Grades for this course will be assigned on the basis of three components, which add up to a total of 300 points: o Wiki Contributions (100 points) o Midterm Exam (100 points) o Final Exam (100 points) The midterm and final exams will each consist of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions, drawn from lecture material, class readings, and the course wiki. The final exam will not be cumulative. A study guide will be released online one week prior to each of the exams. The grading scale for this course is as follows: A: 100-90 B: 89-80 C: 79-70 D: 69-60 F: 59 or below. Wiki Contributions: In order to take our learning into the public sphere, this class will contribute to and maintain a wiki devoted to our subject material, which can be found at introtoworldreligions.wikia.com. Each subject we study (e.g., Jain ethics, ritual in traditional religions, Islamic narrative) will have an article devoted to it, which you will contribute to, so everyone in the class may benefit from everyone elses knowledge.

First, each student must register an account with Wikia (www.wikia.com), the website that will host our wiki. You may register with Wikia under your own name or with a pseudonym; however, if you use a pseudonym, please let your instructor know, so that he can keep track of your engagement. Over the course of the semester, each student should contribute to at least ten articles on the class wiki. Contributions to the wiki can include lecture notes from the class; citations of peer-reviewed books and articles, whether in print or online; links to Wikipedia; links to blogs written by scholars; and citations of reputable news sources. Each contribution will be worth ten points, for a total of 100 points. Contributions will be graded on a pass-fail basis; that is, if you contribute to an article, you get the full ten points. To help you avoid the temptation of procrastination, only one contribution per week will count toward the final contribution grade; however, I strongly encourage you to contribute more than once a week, as the quality of the content will increase the more it is revised. It is expected that all contributions to the class wiki should be in good English prose following the canons of English style, and all citations should be in Chicago format. As with traditional papers, if you are unsure whether an internet source is worth citing, please ask your instructor for guidance. The Internet is a wonderful tool, but most of it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Course Schedule Note: Reading assignments are listed on the day they are due to be discussed in class. All readings that do not come from Smart and Hecht will be available through ICON. August 20 ! Course overview No assignment 22 ! The Building Blocks: Ritual, Narrative, and Doctrine ! Bellah, Religion and Reality 24 ! Sacred Texts Smart and Hecht, xi-xv; Van Voorst, Scripture Among the Worlds Religions 27 ! Religions of the Ancient World: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 1-3

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Religions of the Ancient World: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 4-21

31 ! Religions of the Ancient World: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 22-43 September 3! 5 Labor Day; No Class Small-Scale Traditional Religions: Introduction, Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 337-351; Beyers, What is Religion? An African Understanding Small-Scale Traditional Religions: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 351-367 Hinduism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 179-181; Sharma, Is Hinduism a Pagan Religion? Hinduism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 181-211; An Insiders Guide to Diwali Hinduism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 212-230 Jainism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 277-278; Bumb, Celebrating Lord Mahavir's Teachings of Compassion and Peace in Jainism Jainism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 278-285 Jainism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 285-289 Sikhism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 329-330; Singh, A Sikh Perspective on the King Hearings Sikhism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 330-334

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28 ! Sikhism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 334-336; Reddit: Im not sure what to conclude from this

October 1 Buddhism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 231-233; Rinpoche, Is Buddhism a Religion? Buddhism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 233-254 Buddhism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 255-275 Midterm Exam Confucianism: Introduction, Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 305-311; Taylor, The Role(s) of Confucianism in Society Confucianism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 311-316 Taoism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 291-292; Binazir, Taoism in Three Easy Pieces; Horden, The Tao of Enlightenment Taoism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 292-296 Taoism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 296-297 Shintoism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 319-320; Marshall, Seeking Enlightenment From Spirits and Forests in Japan Shintoism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 320-324 Shintoism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 324-327; Gilgoff, How Japans Religions Confront Tragedy Judaism: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 45-48; Joselit, What is Jewish Culture? Judaism: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 49-70

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November 2 Judaism: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 71-89 Christianity: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 91-92; Chryssides and Wilkins, Christianitys Many Faces Christianity: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 93-111 Christianity: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 112-124; Chryssides and Wilkins, Christianity as a Folk Religion Islam: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 125-129; Wright, The Triumph of Islam Islam: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 130-157 Islam: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 158-177

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19 ! Thanksgiving Recess; No Class 21 ! Thanksgiving Recess; No Class 23 ! Thanksgiving Recess; No Class 26 New Religious Movements: Introduction Smart and Hecht, 369; Arweck, New Religious Movements New Religious Movements: Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 370-374 New Religious Movements: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 375-379

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December 3 Secular Worldviews: Introduction, Building Blocks Smart and Hecht, 381-386; Brooke, A Secular Religion

Secular Worldviews: Everyday Life Smart and Hecht, 387-392 Conclusion: Religion Across Cultures No assignment Final Exam

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