R S 302 • History of Religions of Asia
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
This course offers a survey of the major religious traditions of Asia. It focuses on the historical development of the beliefs, practices, rituals, and customs in social context. The course will combine lectures with discussions about readings of original texts in translation. We shall start with South Asia and the long standing religions of Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. The spread of Buddhism from India to the rest of Asia will take us into Tibet and China. Besides Chinese Buddhism, we shall also examine some of the religious traditions that are of Chinese making, such as Daoism and Confucianism. Japan is another country that has adopted Buddhism and developed it according to its own understanding and needs. We shall study the Japanese forms of Zen and Pure Land Buddhism and the indigenous Japanese religions subsumed under the name Shinto. Throughout the course, we will come across similar themes as well as striking differences within or between the religious traditions. This enables us to discuss Asian religions not only in a historical, but also in a comparative perspective.
Oral presentation/paper 20%
Two quizzes 10% each
Oxtoby, Willard G. (ed.) World Religions: Eastern Traditions.
Other readings TBA