Time & Place:

Spring 2006
TTh 10:30-11:45
Mendocino 1024


Instructor:

Joël Dubois (view home page)
Mendocino 2016, x5332, jdubois@csus.edu
Office Hours: T 9-10, W 10:25-11:25, Th 1-2 and by appointment

Course Overview & Schedule

DESCRIPTION--THE COURSE ACROSS SECTIONS: Comparative inquiry into the nature of global religions. [View world map.] Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be studied. Material and social aspects of these religions will be considered along with primary beliefs and practices. The common yearning to experience the numinous will be emphasized. (GE Areas: C3, Intensive Writing-->passing score on WPE REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION )

IN THIS SECTION: We will examine the question of what it means to live religiously in the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Chinese, Hindu, & Buddhist traditions. I will particular draw attention to ideas about the unseen realities that are such an integral part of religious life; but also to the dynamic interrelationship between such ideas and the important ritual practices and communities in which religious adherents participate on a regular basis (read more about this focus). After a general overview of
each tradition's practices & beliefs, we will study and discuss descriptions & illustrations (both film and prose) of how Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc. (mostly from contemporary times) actually live their lives on a day to day basis., thus leading us to reflect more generally on what we mean by such terms as "faith," "god," "spiritual," and "religious." Team-based learning will be the primary mode of engaging with primary sources (see www.teambasedlearning.org), facilitated by testing and inter-class communication through WebCT, the university's on-line instructional system. [Use the "Department Brochure" to view listings for other sections.]

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
: After taking this course you should be able to:
1. successfully differentiate the key elements of Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Chinese, Hindu, & Buddhist religious traditions.
2.
accurately represent, as well as compare and contrast, specific examples drawn from the religious traditions mentioned above, demonstrating awareness not only of particular details but also the wider contexts in which those examples occur.
3. describe in your own words the meaning of
"religion" and "religious," as well as the meanings of commonly used words related to these ("God," "spirit," "faith," "belief," "ritual" etc.).
[View guidelines for RATs, comparative papers & final examination to see the way that each of objectives #1-3 is reflected in written assignments.]
4. effectively communicate with others while refining the skills listed in #1-3.
5. appreciate both the emotional impact and intellectual fascination of religious life.
6. continue to investigate, as modeled in this course, the religion and culture of the people you encounter throughout your life.
[View sample peer evaluation for team assignments to see the way that objectives #4-6 are supported by this class.]


SOURCES
:
You are responsible for obtaining the printed sources listed below, and for bringing assigned readings with you to each class meeting. (In the schedule provided below, I use the abbreviations given in BOLD CAPITALS in parentheses to the items on this list.)

      John Hinnells, ed., The New Handbook of Living Religions (NHLR) [ISBN # 0-14-051407-4]
      
Roger Eastman, ed., The Ways of Religion (WOR) [ISBN # 0-19-511835-9]
      "Exploring World Religions" Course Pack (CP) [printed by and available from www.universityreaders.com:
                                                                at the above URL, click the red "Buy Now" button; or call 1-800-200-3908]

A copy of the six narrative films viewed in class will also be available for viewing at the Library Media Center (M-Th 8 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat 9 am-5 pm, Sun 1 pm-9 pm, inside the library's main first-floor entrance all the way at the back of the building) under the LC Call No. "Wt 0380;" in addition, written excerpts are available for each film. Most of these films are also available at area video stores (but always call ahead to make sure!), as are a number of optional films recommended during the course of the term.

Additional resources (especially those who wish to supplement the limited materials encompassed by the course's very brief survey):

      Bowker, ed., Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions [ISBN # 0-19-280094-9]
      Encyclopedia Britannica (On-line entries re: religion)


ATTENDANCE
:This course relies heavily on interactive learning, and such learning cannot take place without your being physically and mentally present in the classroom.  As per the department's policy for courses that meet twice a week, after an allowable maximum of two absences, five (5) points will be subtracted (= 1/2 grade) from your overall score for the class for each class missed. Also, repeated tardiness and/or consistent failure to bring assigned reading materials are both highly distracting, and either may be counted as an absence; leaving class early will mostly likely count as a full absence.

CLASSROOM PROTOCOLS: Students who arrive late will be required to wait outside the door for a pause in the class presentation (usually 10-15 minutes). While in the classroom, students are asked to remain seated during all presentations involving the entire class, and to be mindful of sights, sounds, and smells that are distracting to the instructor and other students, such as eating, leaving cell phones turned on, and side conversing with a neighbor while someone else is speaking to the class.

Exceptions to the above-stated policies may be granted in rare instances for compelling reasons, which generally must be verified in writing by a medical practitioner or some other independent professional; but note that an absence will be considered unexcused until and unless you present documentation to explain it--ideally by the next class that you are able to attend, or as soon therafter as possible.

EMAIL: in order to receive updates regarding class sessions throughout the term, you are required to check the email included in your Web CT account on a regular basis for the duration of the course; note that WebCT allows you to forward mail to your regular email address if you wish.

ASSIGNMENTS
: In order to successfully finish this course you must complete
1. six (6) on-line, in-class RATs ( "reading assessment tests") (5 x 50 points, 250 points total)
   [composite of individual and team scores, with lowest score dropped]
2. six (6) one-page summaries of optional readings (5 x 10 points, 50 points total)
3. a portfolio of in-class team assignments (200 points total):
   [includes a 100 point peer evaluation]
4. three (3) comparative papers (5-7 pages, 3 x 100 points)
5. one (1) final examination (100 points)
[GRADING SCALE: 940-1000 points=A, 900-939=A-, 870-899=B+, 840--879=B, 800-839=B-, etc.]

GRADING POLICIES: Barring genuine emergencies, no make-ups are available for RATs. As per the guidelines for writing intensive courses, the four paper assignments must add up to a minimum of 5000 words. Generally no rewrites of papers are allowed; however prelimary drafts (submitted for review at least three days prior to the deadline) are strongly encouraged. If you have a documented disability and verification from the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities (Lassen Hall 1008, x6955), and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me within the first two weeks of the term. Finally, note that I will generally elect severe penalties for academic dishonesty on any paper: a zero score for the assignment, and failing the course for a second offense. You are responsible for reading my comments regarding the importance of academic honesty, and my no-tolerance policy for incidents of dishonesty, in FAQ, #14-17; as well as for requesting clarification if there is anything you do not understand.

WEBCT: As with class emails, test taking and grade posting will also be handled throughWebCT, the university's on-line instructional system. In order to be registered for this course in WebCT, you will need a valid saclink username and password; if you do not currently have one, call (278-7337) or visit the Saclink Desk (on the second floor of the new Academic Information Resource Center, just behind the library--follow signs to your right when exiting the elevator, all the way to Room 2005); or simply go to www.saclink.csus.edu and follow the instructions for "Set up Saclink" in the left-hand column.

SCHEDULE:
all required readings listed below should be completed before coming to class. All numbers in the schedule are page numbers unless otherwise noted.

Introduction

Dates
Tasks
Readings
Tue, January 24
personal introductions,
review of syllabus,
& intro to team-based learning
find syllabus on-line at
https://www.csus.edu/indiv/d/duboisj/EWRs/EWRs_home.html
Thu, January 26

study session for trial RAT

view excerpt from "Forrest Gump"

form teams

NHLR, 1-8 ("Introduction"); WOR,1-2 ("Prologue");
Rita Gross, "The Discipline of Religious Studies" (CP, 39-44)
;
"Dimensions of Religious Life " from the on-line syllabus

SKIM REQUIRED primary source & find excerpts
"Frontiers of Encounter" (WOR, 3-11)
film overview

Tue, January 31
trial RAT (in MND 2007)
& overview of comparative papers
read guidelines for comparative papers

Christian Traditions

Thu, February 2

introduction to on-line
materials on WebCT

study session for RAT #1

begin viewing "The Apostle"

NHLR, chapter 2 (105-28, 55-92)
[recommended: NHLR, 128-51, 152-57]

VIEW: "Reading Orientation" on WebCT

SKIM REQUIRED primary sources & find excerpts:
"Selections from The Confessions" (WOR, 364-73)
"The Festival of Saints Constantine & Helen " (CP, 45-50)

Tue, February 7

finish "The Apostle"
& informal team discussion

film overview & written excerpts
[consider recommended film: "The Mission"]

Thu, February 9

RAT #1
(in MND 2007)

DUE (beginning of class):
Summary
ummary #1

 

PICK ONE for REQUIRED summary:
selections from the New Testament (WOR, 337-53)
The Gospel of Thomas (WOR, 353-64)
"On the Road to Damascus"
(WOR, 386-95)
"Seeds of Contemplation" (WOR, 380-86)
"The Anguish of Being Christian" (WOR, 373-80)

"Frontier Preacher" (WOR, 490-99)
"The Faith of the Latter-day Saints" (WOR, 499-505)
"Christian Science" (WOR, 505-511)
"The Souls of Black Folk" (WOR, 511-20
)
Tue, February 14

Team Assignment #1

REVIEW IN DEPTH:
"Selections from The Confessions" (WOR, 364-73)
"The Festival of Saints Constantine & Helen " (CP, 45-50)


Jewish Traditions

Thu, February 16

excerpt from WebCT lecture

study session for RAT #2

begin viewing "The Chosen"

NHLR, chapter 1 (11-52)
VIEW: "Reading Orientation" on WebCT

SKIM REQUIRED primary sources & find excerpts:
"The Essential Talmud" (WOR, 313-18)
"Jewish Mystical Tales" (WOR, 318-26)

Tue, February 21
finish "The Chosen "
& informal team discussion

film overview & written excerpt
[consider recommended film: "A Price Above Rubies"]

Thu, February 23

RAT #2
(in MND 2007)

DUE (beginning of class):
Summary
#2

PICK ONE for REQUIRED summary:
selections from the Tanakh (WOR, 301-13)
"What is Judaism?" (WOR, 287-93)
"Nothing is Ordinary" (WOR, 293-300)
"Holocaust" (WOR, 326-35)
Tue, February 28

Team Assignment #2

REVIEW IN DEPTH:
"The Essential Talmud" (WOR, 313-18)
"Jewish Mystical Tales" (WOR, 318-26)


Islamic Traditions

Thu, March 2

excerpt from WebCT lecture

study session for RAT #3

begin viewing "The Color of Paradise"

NHLR, chapter 3 (162-222)
VIEW: "Reading Orientation" on WebCT

SKIM REQUIRED primary sources & find excerpts:
"Muhammad, Prophet of God" (WOR, 400-5)
"Moments of the Religious Life" (WOR, 428-35)

Tue, March 7

finish "Color of Paradise"
& informal team discussion

DUE (beginning of class):
Comparative Paper #1

film overview & written excerpts
[consider recommended films: "Leila" & "Frontline: Muslims"]

review checklist for Unit 1 paper

Thu, March 9

RAT #3
(in MND 2007)

DUE (beginning of class):
Summary #3

PICK ONE for REQUIRED summary:
selections from the Koran (WOR, 397-99, 406-15)
"Deliverance from Error" (WOR, 422-28)
"The Qur'anic Teaching" (WOR, 416-421)
"Male & Female in Islamic Perspective" (WOR, 435-44)
"Casting Out the Spirits" (CP, 51-58)
Tue, March 21

Team Assignment #3

REVIEW IN DEPTH:
"Muhammad, Prophet of God" (WOR, 400-5)
"Moments of the Religious Life" (WOR, 428-35)


The Hindu Religious Complex

Thu, March 23

excerpt from WebCT lecture

study session for RAT #4

begin viewing "The Fourth Stage"

NHLR, chapter 5 (261-306)
& chapter 6 (312-20, 328-36)

VIEW: "Reading Orientation" on WebCT

SKIM
REQUIRED primary sources & find excerpts:
"Ma Yoga Shakti" (CP, 59-64)
"I Am But a Seeker After Truth" (WOR, 65-74)

Tue, March 28

finish "The Fourth Stage"
& informal team discussion

film overview & written excerpt
[consider recommended film: "Fire" & "Swamiji: an Interior Journey"]

Thu, March 30

RAT #4
(in MND 2007)

DUE (beginning of class):
Summary
#4

PICK ONE for REQUIRED summary:
hymns from the Rig Veda (WOR, 22-27)
selections from the Upanishads (WOR, 27-39)
selections from the Bhagavad Gita " (WOR, 40-53)
"Chudala" (WOR, 59-65)
"Yoga: the Discipline of Freedom" (WOR, 53-58)
"The Hindu View of Life"
(WOR, 16-22)

Tue, April 4

Team Assignment #4

REVIEW IN DEPTH:
"Ma Yoga Shakti" (CP, 59-64)
"I Am But a Seeker After Truth" (WOR, 65-74)

Buddhist Traditions

Thu, April 6

excerpt from WebCT lecture

study session for RAT #5

begin viewing "Phorpa" ("The Cup")

NHLR, chapter 8 (369-411)
VIEW: "Reading Orientation" on
WebCT


SKIM
REQUIRED primary sources & find excerpts:

"Buddhism as a Way of Life" (WOR, 116-21)
"Zen Dust: the Koan" (WOR, 139-44, + 156)

Tue, April 11
finish"Phorpa" ("The Cup")
informal team discussion

DUE (beginning of class):
Comparative Paper #2

film overview & written excerpts
[consider recommended films : "Kundun" & "Legend of Suriyothai"]

review checklist for Unit 2 & 3 papers

Thu, April 13

RAT #5
(in MND 2007)

DUE (beginning of class):
Summary
#5

PICK ONE for REQUIRED summary
selections from Buddhist scriptures (WOR, 91-98)
selections from Dhammapada (WOR, 99-105)
selections from Buddhaghosa (WOR, 105-110)

"Buddhahood" (WOR, 82-90)

"Mahayana & the Ideal of the Bodhisattva" (WOR, 110-16)
"Holder of the White Lotus" (WOR, 122-29)
"The Essence of Zen" (WOR, 133-39)
"
Hakuin: Poor Hole-Dwelling Devil" (WOR, 148-53)
"Be Like a Frog" (WOR, 154-60)
Tue, April 18

Team Assignment #5

REVIEW IN DEPTH:
"Buddhism as a Way of Life" (WOR, 116-21)
"Zen Dust: the Koan" (WOR, 139-44, + 156)

The Chinese Religious Complex

Thu, April 20

excerpt from WebCT lecture

study session for RAT #6

begin viewing "The Joy Luck Club"

NHLR, chapters 8 & 9 (411-28, 445-75)
The Taoist Body: "Divinity" (CP, 65-71)
VIEW: "Reading Orientation" on WebCT

SKIM
REQUIRED primary sources & find excerpts:

"A Confucian Metaphor: the Holy Vessel" (207-12)
The Taoist Body: "Masters of the Gods " (CP, 72-85)
Tue, April 25
finish "The Joy Luck Club"
& informal team discussion
film overview & written excerpts
[consider recommended films: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"]
Thu, April 27

RAT #6
(in MND 2007)

DUE (beginning of class):
Summary
#6

PICK ONE for REQUIRED summary
selections from
Confucius (WOR,176-86)
selection from Mencius (WOR, 186-93)
selections from Daodejing (WOR, 226-33)
selections from Zhuangzi (WOR, 233-40)
"Confucian Self-Realization" (WOR 201-206)
"Confucianism in Perspective"
(WOR, 193-201)
"Tao Now" (WOR, 246-54)

"The Chinese Mind: Its Taoist Substratum" (WOR, 240-46)
"Cantonese Shamanism" (CP, 97-101 & 101-106)
The Taoist Body: "Ritual" (on reserve)
Tue, May 2
Team Assignment #6a
REVIEW IN DEPTH:
"A Confucian Metaphor: the Holy Vessel" (207-12)
Thu, May 4
Team Assignment #6b

REVIEW IN DEPTH:
The Taoist Body: "Masters of the Gods " (CP, 72-85)

Tue, May 9
(double attendance value)
Chinese Traditions wrap-up
read & study instructions for final exam
Thu, May 11
(double attendance value)
DUE (beginning of class):
Comparative Paper #3

review checklist for Unit 2 & 3 papers

 

Final Exam: Thu, May 18, 10:15 am [based on a one-page statement prepared in advance]

DISCLAIMER:  As you will learn from this term’s study of religious traditions (if you didn’t know it already!) the nature of life is change.  In creating this syllabus I have tried to be as careful as possible to get all the details right.  However in certain situations, whenever I notice that an error has been made--or that a change would significantly further the objectives of the course--I reserve the right to make alterations in the syllabus. I will always give you at least three day’s notice, both in class and by sending out an email about the change.

Dimensions of Religious Life

Reading Assessment Tests & Final Exam


Frequently Asked Questions

Comparative Papers & Sample

OTHER COURSES OF INTEREST (FALL 2004):

•"World Mythology" (HRS 151)

• "Sociology of Religion " (SOC 171)