Religious Studies | Myths of Good and Evil
R202 | 28629 | Jennifer Hart


The battle between good and evil is an enduring cultural image.  We
find it everywhere, from movies to politics.  This course seeks to
investigate this imagery by looking at how the relationship of good
and evil is represented in myth.  Specifically, we will consider the
way in which ancient Iranian and Middle Eastern traditions, the
likely sources of our present conceptions of good and evil, portray
these qualities.  We will read myths from Mandaeism, Manichaeism,
Zoroastrianism, and Gnosticism to see how these religions thought
about good and evil.  And we will also look at how their respective
ideas about good and evil influence the development of these
traditions.  While the focus will be on the ancient, we will
constantly question what our observations about the past may tell us
about the present.  What can we learn about good and evil from
myths?  How do these ideas shape the world around them?  Can we find
any similarities in present day society?