This class builds on RELI 500 and 564, now including more challenging material in Tibetan, and continuing the trajectory of gaining familiarity with Buddhist philosophical systems as these touch on epistemology, ontology, and contemplative practice.
This course will closely read the classic text of Judeo- Muslim thought, Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed, in its historical philosophical and literary context. It will draw upon additional Jewish and Muslim sources as well.
Buddhism is a performing art engaging both mind and body. Our course investigates Buddhist and other literature, epistemology and rituals with an eye to how they speak to contemplative practice. Contemplative practice itself, in class and out, supplements our exploration of the interplay between traditional Asian and contemporary Western perspectives.
An historical survey of the History of Religions School that emerged in the 1960s and 70s at the University of Chicago and came to play such an important role in the comparative study of religion. Graduate Students will have twice the reading and will require a longer paper.
Literary and artistic creativity, religious experience, and textual interpretation often draw on focused states of consciousness made possible by contemplative practices. The practicum will provide historical information about such practices and offer opportunities to participate in techniques ranging from meditation and observing breath to freeform writing and T'ai Chi. Graduate students would be expected to write a longer paper and/or to include a segment on contemplative practice in connection with whatever course they are taking.
The GEM Research Forum meets regularly throughout the academic year to share and engage the ongoing research of the GEM faculty and students. The annual capstone experience of the Forum features an invited speaker. Evaluation is based on student participation, research and presentations.