After a year of leave, Professor Thomas Dale will be teaching AH 103: Religion and Art, TR 11:00–11:50am in Elvehjem L140. First year friendly, no prereqs, counts toward religious studies certificate, satisfies humanities breadth and L&S credit. Enroll here.
Description: What makes a particular place such as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem both sacred and contested space among Jews, Christians, and Muslims? Why do Catholic Christians and Buddhists venerate sculpted images by burning incense or lighting candles as they direct their prayers to the divinity? By contrast, why do other religious groups including Muslims and certain Protestant Christians destroy or condemn figural images as idols? Why do so many religious traditions build commemorative monuments for the dead ranging from the pyramids in Egypt to Indian burial mounds on our own campus? These are some of the questions we explore in an introductory course focused on material aspects of religion around the world, from antiquity to the present. A fundamental premise is that all religions, even if they deny the use of figural images of the deity, mediate sacred and divine presence through material means, aimed to stimulate the human senses.