Day #4 - Introduction to Religion

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Welcome back.  I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend, whether you were at the State Fair or protesting the RNC or protesting the protesters or whatever...

Here are the articles for today.  As you might guess, ritual will be our focus.

  • "The Other National Conversation"
  • "Two Worlds of Rituals Are Joined in the Operating Room"
  • "In Hispanic Ritual, a Place for Faith and Celebration"
  • "Pilgrims at Heart"
  • "Is Ritual Circumcision Religious Expression?"

We didn't get to this activity the last two times I posted it, so we'll start today with it...

Religion ScholarsAs you would probably imagine, a number of influential thinkers and scholars have studied religion over the years.  You can take entire courses in the philosophy of religion or on theories of religion.  Today, we'll take a very cursory look at the work of a handful of these scholars, both past and present.

You'll get a slip with one of seven names on it, as well as a little bit of information on them.  Use that as a starting point to do a little Internet research on your figure.  3-4 of you will have each one.  We're not asking for a book report or anything here.  Instead, simply tell us who the person was and how they contributed to the study or religion.  

Emile Durkheim
Sigmund Freud
Rudolf Otto 
Mircea Eliade
Wilfred Cantwell Smith
Karen Armstrong
Diana Eck


Rituals and Ritual Behavior in World Religions:
We'll turn our attention today to the behaviors and actions that comprise the component of "ritual" in our worlds, both religious and secular. As with "symbol," we'll attempt to derive a working definition of the concept. We'll also take about a wide range of examples with the goal in mind of categorizing them into four groups.

If time permits, we'll do a quick activity with sacred literature.  Otherwise, we'll get that next time.


Homework for Day #5 - Introduction to Religion 

Please read the articles from the packet that are assigned for Day #5.  Our focus will be on the roles stereotyping and prejudice play in the way people look at world religions. We'll also continue to ponder the role of sacred literature as we move into creation stories.

I've posted a separate blog entry for the initial chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. You are required to post an answer to one of the three questions listed before the start of class next Tuesday, September 9th.

Your first of the "Independent Assignments" is also due by the start of the class on Thursday, September 11th. Remember that you can do them in any order that you choose, and you'll post a response on the appropriate blog page.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Vergin published on September 3, 2008 8:00 AM.

Blog Entry #1 - The World's Religions - "Point of Departure" was the previous entry in this blog.

Day #5 - Introduction to Religion is the next entry in this blog.

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