Kenyon College homepage Department of Religion
Vernon Schubel 

Religion 32 (Spring 1999)

Vernon Schubel

Office Hours M. 9:30-12:30

Ascension 311

Tues. & Thurs. Period E

PBX 5801 / E-Mail SCHUBEL

Ascension 311

The Course:

This course is a historical and topical survey of the complex religious traditions of South Asia. While focusing on Hinduism, the course also treats Jainism, Buddhism and Islam as they relate to the Hindu tradition. It examines the development of South Asian religious ideas and institutions against the social, cultural, and historical backdrop of the Asian sub-continent. The objectives of this course are:

(A) to provide the student with a basic grounding in the essential aspects of religious thought and practice in South Asia as they have developed over the course of history.

(B) to help the student to think through some of the basic questions of human existence in light of the answers provided to those questions in the literature and ethos of South Asian culture.

(C) to examine the ways in which a complex and diverse culture comes to grip with the problems of meaning and values over time in the crucible of history and the role of religion in that process.

Course Requirements:

(1) Class attendance and participation. Excessive unexcused absences will result in a lowering of the final grade.

(2) Completion of reading assignments both from the required texts and supplemental materials.

(3) Two hour examinations and one final exam (75%).

(4) A critical and analytical essay (8-10 pages) on U R Anatha Murthy's novel Samskara making use of secondary and classical sources chosen in consultations with the instructor. Papers must have proper documentation and citations. (25%) The paper will be due on April 27th.

Required Texts:

Diana L. Eck, Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India

Ainslie T. Embree, ed., Sources of Indian Tradition, Vol. 1
Donald S. Lopez, ed., Religions of India in Practice
David R. Kinsley, Hinduism: A Cultural Perspective
U R Anantha Murthy, Samskara.

Course Outline:

(1) Introduction (January 19)
Readings: Kinsley, 2-10

The Indus Valley Civilization and the Vedic Aryans (January 21-28)
Readings: Embree, 1-28. Lopez, 1-12. Kinsley, 11-13, 117-122.

Jainism and Buddhism (February 2-9)
Readings: Embree, 41-72, 93-113. Lopez, 14-21, sections 19, 26, 28, 42.

The Upanishads (February 11-16)
Readings: Embree, 29-48. Lopez, 12-14. Kinsley, 13-15.

FIRST EXAM, February 18

(5) The Varnashramadharma system (February 23-March 2)
Readings: Embree, 203-274. Lopez, sections 31, 37. Kinsley, 47-54, 83-96, 152-186.

The Epics and The Bhagavad Gita (March 4-March 23).
Readings: Embree, 274-296, 319-341. Kinsley, 15-18, 25-34. Lopez, pp. 21-24.

Devotional Theism (March 25-April 1)
Readings: Embree, 341-378. Lopez, pp. 26-31, sections 1,2,13,17. Kinsley, 18-22, 39-47, 111-117, 123-128.

Vedanta and Philosophy (April 6)
Readings: Embree, 296-319. Kinsley, 96-102.


(9) Islam (April 13-15)
Readings: Embree, 379-403. Lopez, pp. 31-38, sections 8,22,34,35,36,39.

Later Bhakti, Kabir and the Sikhs (April 20-22)
Readings: Embree, 447-510. Lopez, pp. 38-44, sections 2,5,9,18,30,41.

Discussion of Murthy's Samskara (April 27)
Readings: Murthy, all.

Essay on Murthy is due April 27.

(12) Discussion of Darsan. (April 29)
Readings: Eck, all.

Modernity and Hinduism (May 4-6)
Readings: Kinsley, 22-25, 102-110. Lopez, 44-52.