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The Sacred Journey:
Religions of the World
Core Discovery Course 166
Schedule of Class Topics, Readings, Project Due Dates, and Exams
Tentative, Subject to Change
Honors Program Events
January 15-22 Class Topic: Equipping Ourselves for the Journey
Reiterations: Starting point for your journey: re-telling your own journey. The Questions: A. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where are you going? B. What do we seek to understand? How should we approach that which we seek to know? What should we do with that which we come to know?
Course Organization. Departure Ports from the Indigenous, Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist Traditions. Reflections on where we've traveled and where we will be traveling (teach). Re-visiting our "eye juggling" (ol) and academic approach to the interpretation of religious texts.
Eye Juggling: A Methodology for Interpreting Stories
"Preface" and ch. 1 from Huston Smith. 1991. Illustrated World's Religions pp. 6-15
Genesis 1-4 (The Hebrew Bible)
Group Presentations: Groups on Genesis "eye juggling" (having selected any text segments from Genesis 1-4, each group will have 10 minutes to provide their interpret of those text segments, i.e., identify key symbols and underlying themes and propose the meaning of the texts selected) - January 22
Secrets of Jerusalem's Holiest Sites (47 min., the "City of Peace" is at the intersection of the three Abrahamic religions; National Geographic 2006)
Visit with your instructor, ( during office hours MW 9:00 to noon, or by appointment)
Note: As with the other religious traditions we have addressed this year, we will seek an understanding of the primary teachings of the three monotheistic religions addresses this semester. But in addition, we will be introducing materials, new to many students, that are on the historical and contemporary periphery of these traditions, especially that of Christianity, in order to better appreciate the range of this tradition, as well as its core teachings. As we apply the Eye Juggling method of interpretation, we will also be considering the historical construction of sacred texts, as well as the development of a religious tradition within its historical context. Judaism, Christianity and Islam can not be understood divorced from their historical settings.
Along with the user ID and password provided in class, you will need a reliable high-speed Internet connection (suggested at 10 Mbps, as clips are streamed at 450 Kbps) and a RealPlayer to access class videos. Remember, videos can be enlarged by dragging your mouse on the bottom right corner. For a free version, .
January 27 - February 17 Class Topic: Judaism, Search for Meaning, Abraham, and Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah
Jewish Search for Meaning and Medrash (theological interpretative method).
Abraham and Elohim/Yahweh - Patriarch of Monotheism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Meaning of Creation.
Basic Orthopraxis: Morality, Law and Justice, and Suffering and Hope, and the story of Job.
Matisyahu and Hasidism
Theology: Landscape, Goal and Means (ol)
Readings: (be prepared to discuss in class the readings marked with an * for the dates they are assigned)
"Judaism," from Smith's Illustrated World's Religions, pp. 179-203
Some Introductory Terms
Passages from the Hebrew Bible:
Hebrew Prophets, Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Hebrew Prophets - Groups 1 and 2 on February 5
Myron Schreck on February 10
Medrash: a method of interpretation
Images of Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Foundation Rock
Music of Matisyahu (fusion of Hasidic, Hip-hop Rapper and Reggae traditions)
To Every Thing There Is a Season (audio) To Every Thing There Is a Season (video) (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; preformed by the Byrds 1965, based upon Pete Seeger 1950s version, with added line, I swear it's not too late)
February 12 - last day to drop courses on-line, avoiding the drop fee and grade of W
February 19 - First Exam - See Study Guide
February 24 - April 7 Class Topics: Christianity, Jesus in Mark, Thomas and Paul
The Historical Context of Jesus.
Primary Teachings of Jesus
The Juxtaposition of Gnostic Christianity: the Gospels of Thomas, Judas and Mary Magdalene.
Making of the Canon: Irenaeus and the First Council of Nicaea.
Orthodoxy and the Influences of Paul and Augustine: a. "Faith" and Abraham re-interpreted, b. "Love" and the Great Commission, c. "Hope," Dualistic Divinity, Suffering Re-visited, and the Apocalyptic Worldview in Paul and John's Revelation, d. the Kingdom of God and Trinity, and e. the Incarnation, the Soul, Original Sin, Atonement/Salvation through Faith, and Grace.
Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.
Theology: Landscape, Goal and Means
"Christianity," from Smith's Illustrated World's Religions, pp. 205-229
Passages from the Christian Bible (King James Version, with Jesus Seminar interpretation; refer to Source Gospels for the criteria for the color coding designation.)
The Nicene Creed
The Gospel of Thomas - Groups 3 and 4 on March 12
From Jesus to Christ, in four parts: Part 1 (53 min., a wonderful overview and introduction to Jesus and Christianity, who was Jesus, Herod, Social Class, Judaism, the Essenes and an Apocalyptic View, Dead Sea Scrolls, John the Baptist, Jesus the Preacher, Pontius Pilote, the Passion), Part 2 (51 min., Apostle Paul, First Followers, Spread of Christianity, Jews and Gentiles, Peter and Paul, Building the Church, First Jewish Revolt), Part 3 (51 min., Rock of Masada and Second Jewish Revolt, Gospels according to Mark, Matthew, Luke/Acts, and John, along with Gospel of Q and the "Messianic Secret"), and Part 4 (54 min., Paganism and Ancient Rome, Nag Hammadi and the Gospel of Thomas, Gnosticism, Pliny the Younger, Crime to be a Christian, Bishop Irenaeus establishes the four Canonical Gospels, Emperor Decius, Cross and Triumph). (From Jesus to Christ is a great introduction to Jesus, his teachings, the construction of the Gospels, and the establishment of the Church, placing them all within their historical context; PBS Video 1998.) The PBS Frontline supportive documentation on From Jesus to Christ, with tremendous resources and background.
Apocalypse: the Story of the Book of Revelation, in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. (45 min. and 70 min. This 1999 WGBH/PBS Frontline production explores the historical context within which this critical text was written, the symbolic meanings of the concepts and characters referred to in this literature, as well as the affects the interpretations of text has had on subsequent European and American history. View some of the great art, as well as people that has been inspired by the Book of Revelation.) By March 18
The Face of Jesus in Art, in two parts: Part 1 (31 min., Introduction, the Gospel According to Giotto, and Beginnings), Part 2 (26 min., Search for the Authentic Image and the Suffering Christ), Part 3 (33 min., the Beautiful Christ and the Worldwide Spread of the Image), and Part 4 (25 min., the Modern Era and Lord of Light) (The Face of Jesus in Art traces the dramatically different ways in which Jesus has been represented in art by people throughout history and around the world. It explores why God can be represented, the various roles and functions of this art form, and what Jesus is understood through the art from various times and places. A 2001 Voyager/WNET co-production.)
The Gospel of Judas, in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2 (44 min. and 43 min., a new look at this ancient Gnostic text and the role of Judas, as well as the way the Canonical Gospels were historically constructed; National Geographic 2006)
The Secrets of Mary Magdalene (48 min., provides an historic overview of the many roles Mary played – a sinner and prostitute, or the secret wife of Jesus and leader of his church? This fascinating documentary strips away the veils of history to reveal the flesh and blood woman who may have served as Jesus' foremost apostle and possibly the love of his life. A 2006 Koch Vision documentary.)
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trail, in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2 (55 min. and 55 min., a 2007 Nova production; an overview of the current discussion on evolution and intelligent design theories. An insightful example of how people can distinguish or merge literal, metaphor and anagogic ways of knowing.)
Jesus Film (produced in 1979, this docudrama about Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospel of Luke, is credited as the most effective evangelical tool available for Christian missionaries. Note, under Film and Media, the number of languages this film has been translated into!)
Sharon Kehoe March 10
The Source Gospels and the Words of Jesus
The Stages in the Development of Early Christian Tradition
Christian Love as articulated by C. S. Lewis
Music of the Passion: Tallis and Allegri
Rapture Ready (web site indexing the "prophetic speedometer of end-time activity")
There Is No Tomorrow, article by Bill Moyers on the Apocalypse, Rapture Index and the environment
St. Boniface Church - Uniontown, WA, March 7 (leave 9:00, west side, parking lot, Towers) The oldest consecrated church in Washington State. See images.
March 16 - 20 - Spring Recess
March 30 - Advising for Fall semester begins
March 31 - Proposal due for your Personal Quest - Participatory Paper
April 3 - Last day to withdraw from a class
April 9 - Second Exam - See Study Guide
April 14 - May 5 Class Topics: Islam, The Qur'an, and the Pilgrimage to Mecca
Muhammad, Ibrahim, and the Qur'an.
Basic Theology - God-Allah, Sin, Atonement.
The Five Pillars of Islam.
Theology: Landscape, Goal and Means
"Islam," from Smith's Illustrated World's Religions, pp. 145-177
Passages from the Qur'an:
various Surahs on the Prophets and Jesus
Surah 53 The Star (on the divine visionary experience of Muhammad)
Surah 2 The Cow (on nature of Allah)
Surah 4 The Women and 17 The Night Journey (some key Islamic Values)
Surah 90 The City (on social justice),
various Surahs on Jihad and war
"Pilgrims at Heart" by Ebrahim Moosa
The Qur'an and the Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad Sohaib Sultan and Yusuf Ali
The Qur'an and the Sayings - Groups 5 and 6 on April 23
Inside Mecca (56 min., a great overview of the Hajj, from the perspectives of three pilgrims, an Indonesia, a South African, and a Texan, National Geographic 2003) By April 15
Islamic Mysticism - The Sufi Way (25 min., an insightful introduction to Sufism. A 1971 film by Huston Smith and Elda Hartly on Sufism) By April 24
Rumi: Poet of the Heart (56 min., one of the most translated poets, the poetry of Rumi is a wonderful introduction to the esoteric dimensions of Islam and to Sufism. Magnolia Films 1998, 2004)
Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain, in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2 (57 min. and 58 min., a Robert Gardner 2007 film. An examination of a time during the Middle Ages when Christians, Jews and Muslims peacefully coexisted in southern Spain; and then what led to the disintegration of that society. Included are reenactments, as well as a wonderful glimpse into the region's Islamic architecture.)
Jay Drage and Noridah Osman on April 21
Moscow Islamic Center (316 S Lilley Street, Moscow) on a April 24 Friday 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (for sunset prayers)
April 20 - Fall registration begins
April 28 - Outline draft due for your Personal Quest - Participatory Paper
May 5 and 7 - Final Topic: Returning to the Questions:
A. Who are you? Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where are you going?
B. What are you going to do with that which you have gained along your journey?
Activity: Reflective Write Prepare your responses prior to coming to class on the 7th
May 8 - Personal Quest - Hard Copy of your Participatory Paper is due, my office, Phinney 116, by 5:00 pm
May 15 - Final Exam - Friday from 10:00 to Noon - See Study Guide
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