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Great Intro to the Subject
Not too easy. Not too difficult.
This course is designed to introduce students to the core academic disciplines of the humanities, specifically philosophy, literary criticism, and religious studies. We will use these three disciplines to explore the history of Western Civilization’s understanding of the human condition, examining classic texts from the Ancient Greek, Roman, and Medieval European eras. Students will learn to interpret these classic texts in their original context and also to trace their influence on later eras, including our own culture in contemporary American society. Students will also learn to apply the lessons of classic texts to their own personal lives. Thus this class is not simply a set of facts about old books; rather this class is designed to inspire students to undertake the “the art of being human” and to begin to acquire the skill of living well. To this end, the course focuses almost entirely on reading “great books” and discussing their meaning and application. The final paper will ask students to illustrate the relevance of the humanities for modern society by interpreting and applying one of the texts from the course. Students are expected to spend a significant amount of time reading prior to participating in discussion and to use the discussion forums to prepare themselves for the final paper. Journal assignments are designed to allow students to practice applying the readings. Ungraded “self-check” quizzes are also provided to help students assess their comprehension of the readings. In addition to the final paper, there will be a cumulative final exam that will assess students’ comprehension of the readings. The exam questions will be drawn entirely from the self-check quizzes.
Distinguish religious, philosophical, and aesthetic approaches to understanding the human condition.Identify ancient and medieval sources of modern values and beliefs about the human condition. Discuss the development of humanistic inquiry over time. Apply critical thinking skills to philosophical and religious questions. Explain the continuing relevance of classic works of philosophy and literature to contemporary society.
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An interdisciplinary introduction to the humanities, focusing especially on classic texts of the ancient and medieval period as a way to understand our lives today. The course will explore various ways human beings have expressed their understanding of the human condition through such cultural forms as mythology, religion, philosophy, and the arts.