Western Philosophy and Religion Series

Search for Values in the Light of Western Philosophy and Religion Series

Search for Values in the Light of Western Philosophy and Religion Series
Drs. Rhiannon Graybill, Joseph Jansen, and Brooke Schedneck
Courses will be taught by faculty drawn from the Search Program and will introduce Meeman students to some of the texts and cultures at the heart of liberal arts education.

Tuition for all 7 sessions in the series listed below: $350; 1.4 CEU

Visit our registration form to signup for any course or any series offered this fall.

Dr. Joseph Jansen, PhD University of Texas at Austin, Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Studies

Herodotus has long been considered the “father of history,” an epithet that many, even today, would be hard pressed to contest. His account of the Persian Wars was a groundbreaking and monumental work of global history that provided a detailed narrative of that conflict and perhaps more importantly, the reasons for it. As the Roman annalist Sempronius Asellio understands correctly, the task of the historian is “not only to pronounce what was done [in the past], but also to demonstrate the reason and plan by which events came to be.” In these two important respects, Herodotus’ History is largely successful. But Herodotus has also had his fair share of detractors. Some readers have taken issue with his historical methods and more fanciful accounts of foreign peoples and customs, with a few even calling Herodotus a “liar,” whereas others have charged him with inventing and propagating the myth of the superiority of the West over the East, the ur-source for what has become the “clash of civilizations” thesis, which has been embraced by Europeans and now Americans to legitimate their domination of Asia and the Middle East. This course will introduce students to some of the major currents of Herodotean scholarship but will focus predominately on Herodotus’ portrayal of the “barbarian other” and suggest that his work is not a triumphalist history but a thoughtful critique of imperialism and a warning to the Greeks of the perils of domination.  
Text: Robert Strassler, The Landmark Herodotus, ISBN 1400031141

Two Wednesdays: October 3 and 10 | 5:30-7:30 pm | Tuition: $110; .4 CEU
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Power, Politics, and Passion in the Books of Samuel
Dr. Rhiannon Graybill, PhD University of California at Berkeley, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

The books of Samuel describe the rise of the Israelite monarchy and its three kings: Saul, David, and Solomon. The texts contain a number of famous stories, including Saul’s rise and fall, David and Goliath, Jonathan’s love for David, David and Bathsheba, the rape of Tamar, the death of Absalom, and Solomon’s encounter with the Queen of Sheba. The narrative that unfolds is equal parts “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones,” filled with political intrigue, forbidden passion, and family drama of all sorts. In this class, we will study the books of Samuel from a variety of perspectives. The focus will be the literary interpretation of the text, but we will also discuss history, archaeology, and new methods of biblical reading.
Required text: 1 and 2 Samuel, from any Bible. We will read 1 Samuel for Week 1, and 2 Samuel for Week 2.

Recommended translation: Robert Alter, The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel, ISBN 0393320774, OR Robert Alter, Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings: A Translation with Commentary, ISBN 0393082695 (Note: the translation and notes are the same in both; Ancient Israel also includes the books of Joshua, Judges, and 1 and 2 Kings). Other recommended translations: New Revised Standard Version, New Jewish Publication Society translation.

Two Wednesdays: October 17 and 24 | 5:30-7:30 pm | Tuition: $110; .4 CEU
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Dr. Brooke Schedneck, PhD Arizona State University, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

This course introduces the major doctrines, practices, and historical developments of Buddhism. We will focus on key Buddhist ideas, practices, roles, and institutions, paying particular attention to the monastic life. 
Readings will be provided as PDF’s.

Three Wednesdays: November 7, 14, and 28 | 5:30-7:30 pm | Tuition: $165; .6 CEU
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