Honors | Religions of the East
R153 | 3944 | D. Haberman

Why does the god Ganesh have the head of an elephant?  Why did Buddah
leave the luxury of the palace?  What did Confucius really say?
What's so good about a worthless tree?  Come find the answers to these
and many other questions.  This course is designed as an introduction
to the major religious traditions of Asia, with special attention to
Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.  After examining the
historical context of each tradition we will explore through primary
texts the wide range of world views and the variety of ways of being
religious that comprise Asian religions.  A central question for the
course will be: "Is the religious life a celebration of something
natural or does it necessarily involve unnatural discipline?"
Concomitant issues to be explored include differing views of the
world, concepts of human nature, and proposals for appropriate
religious action.  In addition to the textbook, The Sacred Paths of
the East, readings will be from a course reader that contains a wide
variety of scriptures drawn from the many traditions we will be
examining.  There are no prerequisites.  The honors section of this
lecture-discussion course is a special discussion section that will be
led by the professor of the course.  This discussion section will be
designed particularly to move students beyond the historical context
of the various religious texts presented in lecture and into an
exploration of their existential implications.