Religion-Stephen Prothero

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Around the world in eighty religions. Well, maybe not eighty, but Prothero does have quite a list–including unbelievers–to help his readers grapple with the particularity of religious belief and practice. Difference matters–as he will be at pains to point out.

You will be keeping and posting notes for each of the tradition–you are doing that for two reasons: to demonstrate mastery of the material and to be building toward your final paper.

In discussing these traditions and keeping notes on them , keep Paden’s categories in mind: do these traditions have a myth, a way of ordering the world, time? What about death? pain? life? What is the cultural and material form that this system take–does it rituals, a calendar, a sense of sacred time

The student will read a chapter a week in Prothero, beginning with Islam and finishing with A Brief Coda on Atheism. At the end of each week, for each tradition, the student will present a concept map, showing the presenting features of the tradition.

In the discussion for each of the tradition, we will be using Paden’s categories to provide details about how particular traditions organize time, what myths are central to the world. The student will also develop a “catalog” of visual material for each of the traditions, calendars and celebrations to see what holds over all traditions and what it particular to each. The central question for each tradition is: how does this tradition “see” the world of human experience? A concept map and discussion notes for each of the traditions explored by Prothero; the student is expected to use Paden’s analytical categories in laying out the key features of the tradition.

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