RELG 114. Love and Religion

The course will explore the concept of "love" and many of its ramifications in several western traditions and in Hindu traditions of ancient and contemporary India through a careful reading of both primary and secondary texts. We will focus primarily on the uses of erotic love (along with the body and the "passions") in religious discourse- in poetry, commentary, and prose narratives-the many ways passionate love and/or sexuality are used cross-culturally to describe the relationship between the human and the divine. We will also explore other emotions and attitudes evoked by the word love: devotion, affection, friendship, "charity" (caritas), parental love, and the tensions of these forms of "love" with erotic love. Along with primary texts from the Greek, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, secular troubadour, and Hindu traditions, we will explore the theoretical writings of Martha Nussbaum, Peter Brown, David Halperin, Julia Kristeva, David Biale, Daniel Boyarin, Caroline Walker Bynum, Henry Corbin, Michael Sells, A.K. Ramanujan, Wendy Doniger, David Shulman, and Margaret Trawick. Such a thematic treatment of what we in the English-speaking West call "love" brings to the fore many important theoretical questions concerning the cultural construction of emotions, particular love and "ennobling virtues," the erotic life, the body, and religion.
2 credits.
Eligible for ASIA, GSST, MDST
Fall 2018. Hopkins.
Catalog chapter: Religion  
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