Sp12-IHUM-73B-14 : Ultimate Meanings: Decoding Religious Stories from around the World. 2012 Spring
- Type of resource
- Place of creation
- Stanford (Calif.)
- Digital origin
- born digital
- 1 text file
Is there more to life than survival, or does it have some higher purpose? Why is there suffering, death, and evil in the world, and is there some way to overcome them? Religious communities often answer such questions through the art of story-telling, through history, myth, biography and other forms of distilling human experience into narrative. These stories have shaped the world we live in, helping people to cope with difficult aspects of experience, influencing the way we love, suffer and die, inspiring the imagination, and helping to ignite conflict and violence. This course introduces you to some of the great stories of the world?s religions?the sacred narratives of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We will read these stories to learn something about the religious cultures that produced them, and how they have shaped human experience. In the winter quarter, students will be introduced to stories drawn primarily from the Buddhist tradition in the many forms which it developed as it spread across Asia from India to Japan and beyond. We will look at the biography of the founder, the Buddha, the tales of his previous lives, the stories of his disciples, and of later saints and heroes, religious practitioners and ordinary folk. Students will learn to read these stories to see how they elaborate a persuasively constructed world of meaning in terms of which people can make sense of their own personal histories. In the spring quarter, the focus will shift to the foundational narratives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam?the stories of the Israelites? exodus from Egypt, the suffering Job, the life and death of Jesus and the calling of the prophet Muhammad. Do these stories have only one meaning, and who determines what that meaning is? Can a story?s meaning change over time, and if so, what do such stories mean today, in a partially secularized culture very different from the ones that produced them? We will address these questions by exploring how these ancient stories have been re-imagined by recent thinkers and writers who can help us understand how their meaning has changed?or is changing?in the light of modern experience.
- Finding Aid
- Stanford University Syllabi (SC1454)
- Course ID
- Stanford University. Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
- Use and reproduction
- The materials are open for research use and may be used freely for non-commercial purposes with an attribution. For commercial permission requests, please contact the Stanford University Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org).