God(s): An Inquiry

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Winter 2018
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

comparative religion

Important Note: This program is taught by Sarah Eltantawi. An intermittent error in the catalog incorrectly displays Terry Setter. 

This program will take students on an exploration of the persistent human quest to locate, identify, describe, ascribe power to, and/or worship deities or phenomena outside ourselves. We take as a point of departure that this impulse has been with us as a species since the beginning of recorded human history. As such, by investigating extant sources that document this, we can ask why and how this instinct developed—and why it continues to sustain itself. We begin with ancient Chinese, African, Mesopotamian, Indus (Hindu and Buddhist), Greek, and Egyptian religions (all the while problematizing the meaning of the word "religion"), and move on to the development of monotheism begun by Hebrew tribes, to the development of Western philosophies rooted in these traditions, to the present where the insistence on no (sure) God(s) (atheism and agnosticism) has gathered steam and developed its own ideologies, including scientism.

Students will develop analytic skills in critical historical method, history, philosophy, critical theory, and the study of religion. Readings will include primary sources from each tradition we study, in addition to secondary sources that come to terms with them. Readings include, for example, selections from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Homer, the Upanishads, the Hebrew Bible, Kant, Islamic exegesis, and readings in the New Atheist movement.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: consciousness studies, history, religious studies, critical and cultural theory, philosophy, and further studies in the liberal arts

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

Final schedule and room assignment:

2017-02-23This program has shifted to winter quarter (formerly spring).