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REL 312 Spiritual Practices in Comparative Perspective (3 credits)

Throughout the world’s religious traditions we find a variety of spiritual disciplines pursued by individuals in the hope of transforming an existence experienced as sinful, delusory, fragmented or otherwise unsatisfactory into one that is graced, enlightened, whole. The specific methods employed vary widely, as do their specific goals. Nevertheless, when viewed from a comparative perspective many of these practices share elements in common. This course will examine a number of such spiritual disciplines, drawn from the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Greco-Roman Hellenism, and Christianity. Attention will be given to issues of their historical development, diversity of form, points of similarity and contemporary relevance. Religious Difference