World Religions

Religion has always been a rich dimension of the human experience, with the power to shape everything from individual lives to the course of history itself. How do different faiths answer the profound questions of human existence? What values, traditions, beliefs, and practices are important in different religions? How do religions differ, and what common threads can we find among them?

Whether or not we count ourselves as part of a religious tradition, religious literacy is vital for thoughtfully and knowledgeably encountering the world around us.

In this course, students will become familiar with the history, teachings, and practices of several major faith traditions in the world today, including Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism.

This course is taught from a historical and academic point of view and will involve both lecture and discussion.

Live Classes: Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Students unable to attend a live class will be able to access a recording of the class.

Student Expectations: Weekly assignments might include readings, viewing short videos, participating in online discussion forums, and/or short written responses. There will be one oral presentation on a topic of the student’s choice at the end of the semester. Students are expected to come to class having read and viewed the assigned material and prepared to participate thoughtfully and respectfully in the discussions.

Student Support: The instructor is available by email.

Feedback/Assessment: Feedback will be provided on all written assignments and on the oral presentation. This course may be taken pass/fail or for a letter grade.

Materials/Supplies: The readings and videos for this course will be available online and will include materials from Harvard University’s Pluralism Project.

Prerequisites: None

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