Angels in the Architecture
RLGS 3701 - 4 credits
|Dates:||November 28 - December 2, 2016|
|Days:||Monday - Friday|
|Location:||On-campus, Denver & Co. Springs|
|Times:||9 am - 4 pm|
The world's religious traditions have been described and distinguished from one another in numerous ways over the centuries. Some place primary emphasis on deeds; one's afterlife can be determined by the ways in which this life is lived. Others place emphasis on belief; holding correct doctrinal positions helps ensure life in the age to come. Some are more exclusive; "it's our way or the highway!" Others are more "generous" in spirit. And, of course, there are combinations and overlaps, not surprising since most of the major religions emerged from something else (e.g., Buddhism emerged from a Hindu worldview; Judaism, Christianity and Islam all trace much of their traditions to a common ancestor, Abraham).
One way, therefore, to be introduced to the religions of the world are through those similarities and differences: How do Muslims practice? What do Buddhists believe? Yet, within each of these traditions there are variations, some based in history (e.g., Sunni vs. Shi'ite Islam), others in geography (e.g., Zen vs. Tibetan Buddhism), and still others arising from doctrinal disputes (e.g., the many denominations in Christianity).
This class, however, will take a very different approach. We will explore many of the religious traditions, and sub-traditions, through the way they have designed and/or utilize their physical surroundings. Why does a Quaker Meeting House look different from an Episcopal Church, for example, and how do those differences reflect their different theological tenets? Or, what is it about their theological constructs that may explain certain similarities between the "richness" of space shared by Hindu temples and Roman Catholic churches. One of the primary theses of this class is that individuals are drawn as much (if not more) by the material nature of religion than by its intellectual draw.
Each day of the course, we will visit two or three different worship sites in Denver, its suburbs, finishing with a trip to Colorado Springs. At each site, we will meet with a member who will give a brief overview of their tradition, and then give a tour of their building, pointing out how the building and its appointments support (or not) their belief structure, and enrich their approach to the Divine.
Approximate Travel Costs*:
Students are responsible for their own transportation.