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REL 253

Religions of India

This course provides an introduction to the many religious traditions which have found a home in India. In this comprehensive introduction we survey the history, thought, and practices of the major Indian religious traditions in order to come to a better understanding of the ways in which people in South Asia have found meaning and purpose in their lives through religion over several millennia. India (by which we mean not just the present-day nation-state of India but the cultural complex of South Asian civilization from Sri Lanka to Tibet and from Afghanistan to Myanmar from 2500 BCE to the present) gave birth to the three great religious traditions which now blanket Asia: Hinduism in modern-day India, Nepal, and Indonesia; Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos; and Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. So, too, the religions of Jainism and Sikhism were born on Indian soil. And in the present day, the majority of the world's Muslims live in South Asia, thus making Islam a thoroughly 'Indian' religion by adoption. In this introductory class we concentrate on the practices and worldviews of Indian religions classical and modern.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course