This course could in all likelihood be the most fun you will ever have in a one-unit college course. We will combine traditional teaching methods with the exciting potentials of cyberspace to literally straddle at least two worlds
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Before there was religion, there was sex. Then came religion and a remarkable diversity of opinion and practice. This one unit course provides an introduction to and an overview of the role of sex, gender, and sexuality within the major world religions throughout their historical and cultural developments. We will examine the various traditions in terms of their attitudes towards sex, appropriations of Sacred Reality through sexual acts/abstentions to sexual ethics, and the expressions of that Reality in symbol, ritual, technique, authoritative scriptures, and theological diversity and debate. Among other issues we will focus upon the ancient paradigms and their transformations in contemporary debates about such issues as polygamy/polyandry, serial monogamy, open marriage, the role of women, the ordination of women, and same-sex unions. A vast variety of traditions will be surveyed with emphases on questions of sexual human identity and purpose. By necessity this course is inter-disciplinary, aims for multi-cultural lucidity, and emphasizes empathy and understanding of the other and cautiousness in interpretation of otherness (epoche), hence, critical thinking. Since there is much that appears as exotic and esoteric to the uninitiated, this course will serve as an initiation into the mysteries of the scientific study of religion as well as an invitation to self-scrutiny and personal quest.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: a few minimal web assignments (i.e. BulletinBoard postings, online quiz, internet scavenger hunt, ), class participation, and, of course, good mental hygiene. You may avail yourself of the opportunity to peruse the book, but, there are no preliminary assignments per se since the class will be self-contained and hopefully self-fulfilling. The lab is optional...
Text: Sex and Spirit: An Illustrated Guide to Sacred Sexuality
(by Clifford Bishop, Seastone Publishing, ISBN 1-56975-212-5)