Religious Studies | Studies in Religion
R300 | 10059 | Campany

Topic: Intro to Chinese Ethical Thought

We often imagine the core of a religion to be a short list of
doctrines or beliefs.  But, in fact, stories are one very important
way in which people make sense of their world, their lives,
themselves and others.  If all we knew of an unfamiliar religion or
culture were its stories, we would know a great deal.  Human
communities have always construed their place in the universe and
their relationships with higher powers through stories.  The
narratives a religious tradition has created and passed down offer
unparalleled glimpses of the complex ways of thinking, assumptions,
values, and goals that lie at its center.  And encountering an
unfamiliar religionís stories is a relatively accessible path of
entry into the world as imagined and lived by that religion, in part
because narrative is such a fundamental and cross-culturally shared
form of discourse. This new course explores various aspects of
Chinese religions by examining a wide variety of types of stories.
Simultaneously, the course also treats more general questions such
as the role of narrative in religious life; the nature and workings
of narrative; how religious narratives are made, transmitted,
received, and understood; and the relationship between narrative
thought and other modes of thought.