RELST/MART 204: PEACE AND THE WORLD RELIGIONS–SPRING, 1995
REQUIRED TEXTS: Chapple, Non-Violence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions;
Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace; Carmody, Peace and Justice in the Scriptures of the World
BOOKS ON RESERVE: James Aho, Religious Mythology and the Art of War; John Macquarrie,
The Concept of Peace; Paul Cooey, et al., After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World
Religions; John Cobb, The Structure of Christian Existence; John Kelsay, Islam and the Gulf War.
Jan 18 INTRODUCTORY LECTURE: VIOLENCE AND THE WORLD RELIGIONS
Jan 20&23 WAR & RELIGION–EAST & WEST: WHY THE
Synopsis: Oral revelation; purity of revelation and religious
syncretism; God as omnipotent and interventionist; God as
transcendent “Other.” Do these theological features generate conflict
Assignment: Chapple, chap. 5.
Jan 25&27 THE ORIGINS OF NON-VIOLENCE (AHIMSA) IN INDIA.
Synopsis: the principle of non-injury to all living things may have
originated in the Indus valley as early as 3,000 BCE. Definitely found
in Jainism, adopted by Buddhism, and then later by Hinduism.
Assignment: Chapple, chap. 1; Reserve reading.
Jan 30- NON-VIOLENCE IN BUDDHISM
Synopsis: The Buddha is less extreme and more pragmatic than
Mahavira the Jain. Four Noble Truths and summary of Buddhist
ethics. Class focus on the Zen Buddhist approach of Thich Nnat
Assignment: Carmody, chap. 3. Read all of Being Peace.
Feb. 8 Slide show on Shiva in UCC 335 at 9:30AM
Feb 6-10 NONVIOLENCE IN HINDUISM
Synopsis: gradual switch from animal to fruit/flower sacrifice and
change to vegetarianism, especially in high caste Indians and
Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu). Class focus on the Hindu epic the
Assignment: Aho reading (reserve); Chapple, chap. 4 Carmody,
Feb. 10 TAKE-HOME EXAM (50pts.) Due Feb. 13.
Feb 13-17 THE CONTRIBUTION OF CHINESE THOUGHT
Synopsis: the relation of nonviolence to concepts of the self.
Buddhist and Confucian social/relational self is contrasted with Jain
autonomous self and Vedantist monism. Peace as cosmic harmony of
humans, earth, and heaven.
Assignment: Carmody, chap. 4. Gier material and handouts for
Feb 22-27 PEACE AS SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE HEBREW PROPHETS
Synopsis: New reading of Hebrew prophets by the “liberation”
theologians. They claim that the Hebrew God Yahweh has a
preference for the poor and the oppressed.
Assignment: Carmody, chap. 6. Reading from liberation theology.
Mar 1-8 CHRISTIANITY: LOVE (AGAP�) AND COMPASSION
Synopsis: John Cobb’s idea of Christian love as unique. Christian agap� and
Buddhist equivalents compared and contrasted.
Assignment: Sermon on the Mount.; Cobb, The Structure of
Christian Existence; reading from MacQuarrie’s The Concept of
March 8 Slide Show on Vishnu in UCC 335 at 9:30AM.
Mar 10-15 ISLAM: PEACE AS UNIVERSAL HUMANITY
Synopsis: Background on Mohammed and the origins of jihad.
Assignment: Carmody, chap. 7; Kelsay, Islam and the Gulf War,
chaps. 2 & 3.
Mar 17, THE GOSPEL OF WEAK BELIEF
Synopsis: Religious fundamentalism as threat to world peace and
“weak” belief as antidote.
Assignment: The Buddha’s “Questions that Tend not to Edification”
Mar 27 IN-CLASS EXAM (50pts.)
March 29 GROUP WORK
March 31 FILM. Five minute writing on film on April 3.
April 5 Slide show on the Goddess in UCC 335 at 9:30AM.
Apr 5-10 WOMEN, PEACE, AND RELIGION
Synopsis: Are women inherently peaceful? The dangers of this
“essentialist” view. Survey of women and peace in the various
Assignment: Readings from After Patriarchy and other texts.
Apr 12-17 MOHANDAS GANDHI
Synopsis: Gandhi’s adaptation of ahimsa and problems for its
implementation. Historical survey to see how it worked.
Assignment: Readings on reserve.
Apr 19-21 MARTIN LUTHER KING
Synopsis: Influence of Gandhi and Christianity on King.
Assignment: Readings on reserve.
Apr 24-26 THE VIRTUE OF NON-VIOLENCE
Synopsis: “Rule” vs. “Virtue” Ethics. Substantive vs. Enabling
Virtues. Virtue ethics in Aristotle, the Buddha, and Gandhi.
Nonviolence as an enabling virtue.
Assignment: Reserve Reading.
Apr 28- PEACE WITH THE ANIMALS
Synopsis: The animal “rights” movement. How to the religions view
the value of animals?
Assignment: Chapple, chap. 2.
May 3-5 PEACE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Synopsis: How do the religions see nature as a factor in world peace?
Nature as intrinsically valuable or simply a means to an end? Taoism
as nature religion par excellence.
Assignment: Chapple, chap. 3; Carmody, chap. 5.
May 8-12 CLASS PRESENTATIONS
May 17 FINAL EXAM (100 pts.) We will meet at 10AM in our regular room. Study questions given out on May 10.
REQUIREMENTS: Two exams worth 50 pts. and final worth 100 pts. Five-minute writings (5 pts.
each) for a total of 50 pts. Group work for a total of 50 pts. Paper presentations worth 50 pts.
OFFICE HOURS: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:30; Fridays 2:30-3:30. Phone: 885-6284;