Religious Studies | Introduction to the Study of Religion
R264 | 20835 | Levene


This course is an introduction to the study of religion through a
consideration of major ideas and issues in the field. We will
examine classic sources and theories—literary, philosophical,
anthropological, and political—with the purpose of investigating
aspects (and versions) of the following questions: What is religion
(what is sought, what is found, what is the question)? What is the
source of religion (where does it come from, what is compelling
about it, what is the point)? What does religion make (what are its
themes and trajectories, what kinds of lives are “religious”)? How
does one think about religion (what is a “theory”
of religion, what/whom is it for)? With these four questions, and
their associated tangents, we will strive to gain a snapshot of the
study of religion in its attempt both to identify and to complicate—
to name and to disturb—the multifarious human phenomena that can be
placed under its purview. Readings likely to include Sophocles,
Bhagavad-Gita, Bible, Spinoza, Kant, Marx, Freud, Winterson,
Ondaatje, Kundera, Geertz, Covington, Trawick, J.Z. Smith.