Day 1 rels 2001 fall 2011 Intro%2c Virtues%2c and start Eliade

Day 1 rels 2001 fall 2011 Intro%2c Virtues%2c and start Eliade

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1 Day One: Introduction, The Academic Study of Religion, and start Eliade Critical Thinking Skill: “The mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.” -Aristotle
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2 Day One: Introduction, The Academic Study of Religion, and start Eliade I. Go over course syllabus II. Attempts to define “religion” (Suggestions : the material you are about to cover is included in the first midterm exam question, and students’ notes should include the following definitions, as well as their strengths and weaknesses Note that “strength” does NOT mean “truth” (based on our own personal view of religion) but academic usefulness. How does a particular definition of religion help students to study data? What does it help them see? What might it obscure?) A. Etymological definition (this kind of definition traces a concept back to its earlier meanings): the Latin term religio referred to “the fear and awe one experiences in the presence of a spirit or god.” 1. What might be a strength of this definition? Where might it be helpful? 2. What might be a weakness of this definition? B. Paul Tillich’s (1886-1965, Harvard, a 20 th century Protestant theologian) definition: “that which is of ultimate concern”; that which we value above all other things. 1. Strength: This definition is quite broad, and thus may well capture all religious traditions. Note that it could perhaps apply to Zen Buddhism. 2. Weaknesses: Might this definition may be so broad that it capturesmore than what we typically think of as religion?
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3 Day One: Introduction, The Academic Study of Religion, and start Eliade II. Attempts to define “religion” (cont’d) C. William James’ (1842-1910, Harvard, a 19 th and 20 th century philosopher) definition: “belief in an unseen order, with which we should work to harmonize ourselves” 1. Strength: Again, applies well to various forms of religion, such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism; for these traditions, humanity must work to obey the commands of a creator deity. 2. Weaknesses: But what about traditions for which there is no “unseen
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course RELS 2001 taught by Professor Daley during the Spring '11 term at Georgia State University, Atlanta.

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Day 1 rels 2001 fall 2011 Intro%2c Virtues%2c and start Eliade

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