Lecture 3 - RELIGIOUS STUDIES 90A Professor Nicklaus...

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RELIGIOUS STUDIES 90A Professor Nicklaus Largier 09/03/09 Lecture 03 ASUC Lecture Notes Online is the only authorized note-taking service at UC Berkeley. Do not share, copy or illegally distribute (electronically or otherwise) these notes. Our student-run program depends on your individual subscription for its continued existence. These notes are copyrighted by the University of California and are for your personal use only. D O N O T C O P Y Sharing or copying these notes is illegal and could end note taking for this course. LECTURE The Importance of Commentary . I want to reiterate what I said last time about the importance of commentary and how all of what we are reading developed through a process of successive commentaries, which is common in religious traditions based on sacred texts; it is also common in many philosophical traditions. In the religious and philosophical traditions that evolved from late antiquity to the Middle Ages to the early modern period there is a strong tradition of commentary. People would read Plato or Aristotle and offer commentary. The philosophical traditions often intersect with religious traditions. Augustine was strongly engaged with Plato and the tradition that had already grown out of Plato; it was his dominant paradigm. How We Are Proceeding in the Course . In an introductory course on religion there are many ways to proceed. We can take a theological focus and look at the history of religious doctrines and how they change over time. We can take an anthropological approach, which can have many dimensions. Part of the anthropological approach might entail doing scientific research and looking at religious phenomena like ritual or the formation of community of believers. We can view it as something shared by human beings as a fact of human life. The word “religious” implies that there is something called “religion” that is the same in all cultures; this is a modern fiction more than a historical or anthropological reality. There are many forms of religion. Other approaches are more psychological and look at what role religious phenomena play in the life of individuals. Do they offer consolation for what we would today call depression and anxiety? This is always an important part of Christian spirituality. Religion offers something that can be analyzed psychologically. It offers hope and meaning in life; it offers community. One can take a more sociological approach; there is a field called the sociology of religion. The focus is more on religion as community; this if often the core of religious practice. It might look at origin myths and how they provide identity to a society. Many communities are defined by religion; the beliefs and practices of a religion are exercised in a community. I chose to historicize for this class. What do we
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2010 for the course CHEM 21234 taught by Professor Frechet during the Spring '10 term at UC Davis.

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Lecture 3 - RELIGIOUS STUDIES 90A Professor Nicklaus...

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