Religious Studies | The Taoist Traditions
R369 | 24973 | Fischer

The above course carries Culture Studies (A) along with Arts and
Humanities distribution.

"Daoism" as a religious label is a blanket term used to refer to a
number of religions that arose in China after the first century CE.
Among Chinese religions, those that refer to the ultimate cosmic
entity as the "Dao" are accorded the title "Daoist".  These Daoist
religions sometimes appropriated concepts, practices, and texts from
the Chinese cultural heritage as well as from other religions, both
domestic and foreign.  This course is a historical survey of those
Daoist religions that have received the most scholarly attention in
the last century.  Themes include gods and goddesses, divine
revelation, political protest, textual commentary, eschatology,
meditation, alchemy, and liturgy.

Given that no good introductory text exists, we'll be reading an
eclectic mix of articles in an attempt to apprehend some of the
disparate religions that are categorized as Daoist. During our
meetings I'll lecture on the more important elements of the Daoist
religion for which we've read, and then we'll discuss those facets
that particularly interest the students.  This could include
doctrine, practice, aesthetics, historical changes, regional
variation, whatever.  When possible and relevant, slides of Daoist
temples and art will be shown and integrated with the readings.  Two
take-home exams and one paper will the primary basis for your grade.