Life: Then and Now
Questions about the meaning and purpose of life are central to human existence. The Life: Then and Now (“Life”) and The Search for Values in the Light of Western Religion and History (“Search”) programs help students think about these issues and provide the foundation for the entire Rhodes curriculum. Students who choose the Life: Then and Now program complete a three-semester sequence of courses. The first courses are taken in the fall and spring semesters of the first year. The third course may be taken at any time in the remaining three years of the student’s college career.
The first two courses in the Life sequence are Religious Studies 101-102, “The Bible: Texts and Contexts.” These courses introduce students to the academic study of the Bible and the traditions of interpretation and reflection based upon it. This two-semester sequence follows a basic chronological development, from the earliest biblical sources to modern interpretations. The first semester of the course is taught by members of the Department of Religious Studies with primary competence in the study of the Bible and the second semester by members with expertise in theological reflection and the disciplines of the history of religion. Both courses emphasize careful textual analysis, clear and effective writing, and active discussion with peers. Complete descriptions of these courses are found in the Religious Studies section of the catalogue.
The third Life course is chosen from a variety of offerings in Religious Studies and Philosophy. These courses build on the skills and base of knowledge developed in first-year Life and further refine and augment them. The third Life course is selected from an array that includes advanced study of the Bible, theology and ethics, philosophy, and the history of religions. The spectrum of upper-level Life courses will change periodically to reflect student and faculty interests but includes staples such as “Archaeology and the Bible,” “King David,” “Sex and Gender in the New Testament,” “Paul,” “Contemporary Theology,” “Holocaust,” “Islam,” and “Religious Traditions of Asia,” “Religion in America,” “Medieval Philosophy,” and “Ethics.” With a wide variety of choices, students may select a third Life course that suits their interests and best complements their overall academic plan. A complete listing of the courses approved for the Life: Then and Now program is given in the section of the catalogue entitled Interdisciplinary Study.