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FIF 104 Afterlife and the Soul in World Religions

Course Description

This course surveys the concepts of the soul and afterlife in a number of religions with reflections on philosophy and modern science. Become familiar with the notions of the soul developed by great thinkers including Socrates, Plato, Epicurus, Jesus, Buddha, and in sacred writings like the Vedas, Torah, Koran, and Bhagavad-Gita. Explore views on death in animistic societies. Investigate the images of the Mesopotamian Underworld, Greek Tartarus, and Nordic Valhalla. Compare the answers to death in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Understand what is eschatology and apocalypticism. Examine Hindu doctrines of karma and Sansara. Trail the age-long East-West controversy between resurrection and reincarnation. Learn more about Buddhist nirvana, Taoist cult of immortality, the deification of humans in Shinto. Look at the fascination with death in past times and today. Look at the interpretations of afterlife and discuss the soul in the mirror of modern science.

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