Undergraduate Course: Religions of Ancient India: Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism (REST08020)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Religions of Ancient India explores the religious history of the Indian subcontinent, including Vedic, Brahmanical and Classical Hinduism, and the origins and development of Buddhist and Jain traditions.
This course aims to give students a strong foundational knowledge of early Indian religion, including Vedic ritual traditions, developments in Brahmanical and early classical Hinduism, and the emergence and development of Jainism and Buddhism, up to around the end of the first millenium CE. The focus is on connections between the different religious systems, and on the shared themes they address, such as ritual, deities, good and evil, duty, karma, renunciation, and liberation. The course involves reading a range of ancient Indian religious scriptures and narratives in English translation, equipping students with skills in analysing and evaluating primary sources.
The course has a broadly chronological frame, beginning with Vedic religion and working through some Brahmanical ideas before exploring Jainism and Buddhism, then returning to later developments in what becomes known as Hinduism. However, throughout the course key themes and concerns that are shared across traditions are highlighted and discussed. Themes include the role of ritual, the tension between worldly duty and personal religious quests, the function of deities, the opportunities for and capabilities of women, monasticism as an individual path and an institution, scripture and sacred knowledge, karma and rebirth, liberation and the competing ideas about how to achieve it.
Student Learning Experience Information:
The course has three one-hour lectures plus a one-hour tutorial per week. Lectures include interactive content as well as presentations from the lecturer, and background readings are set for each week's topics. Tutorials are student-led discussions of set readings, which are all taken from primary sources (i.e. ancient Indian religious texts in translation) and provided in a course reader. Through tutorial and lecture activities, as well as the preparation of an essay and the completion of an exam, students will demonstrate their completion of the intended learning outcomes. In particular, the essay will involve assessing points of intersection between two or more traditions, as will one half of the examination. The other half of the examination will ask students to provide responses to primary source extracts taken from the course reader.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Outline the history and main features of religions of South Asian origin
- Identify and assess points of intersection, influence and dialogue between the different traditions
- Confidently analyse textual and historical sources for the study of early Indian religions
- Berkwitz, Stephen C. South Asian Buddhism: A Survey. Routledge 2010.
- Dundas, Paul. The Jains. 2nd edn. Routledge 2002.
- Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. CUP 1996.
Supplementary works, including sources for seminar readings (which will be provided in a course reader):
Basham, A.L. History and Doctrines of the ¿j¿vikas: A Vanished Indian Religion. Motilal Banarsidass 1981.
Bronkhorst, Johannes. Karma. University of Hawaii Press 2011.
Crosby, Kate and Andrew Skilton (trans.) ¿¿ntideva: The Bodhicary¿vat¿ra. Oxford World¿s Classics 1995.
Doniger, Wendy (trans.) The Rig Veda. Penguin Classics 1981.
Doniger, Wendy. Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism. University of Chicago Press 1988.
Flood, Gavin (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Blackwell 2005.
Granoff, Phyllis. ¿Life as Ritual Process: Remembrance of Past Births in Jain Religious Narrative¿ in P. Granoff and K. Shinohara (eds) Other Selves: Autobiography and Biography in Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Mosaic Press 1994.
Jaini, P.S. Gender and Salvation: Jain Debates on the Spiritual Liberation of Women. University of California Press 1991.
Johnson, W. J. (trans.) The Bhagavad Gita. Oxford World¿s Classics 1994.
Khoroche, Peter (trans.) Once the Buddha Was a Monkey. University of Chicago Press 1989.
Kitagawa, Joseph M. (ed.). The Religious Traditions of Asia. Routledge Curzon 2002.
Lopez, Donald S. Jr (ed.) Religions of India in Practice. Princeton University Press 1995.
Mittal, Sushil and Gene Thursby (ed.) The Hindu World. Routledge 2004.
Olivelle, Patrick (trans.) The Law Code of Manu. Oxford World¿s Classics 2004.
Richman, Paula (ed.) Many R¿m¿ya¿as. University of California Press 1991.
Roebuck, Valerie (trans.) The Upani¿ads. Penguin Classics 2003.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||This course contributes to the development of the following graduate abilities:
- Collect and synthesise evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources applicable to the study of religion;
- Evaluate and critique the work of scholars who have studied religions, both in the contemporary period and in the history of the discipline;
- Formulate questions emerging from the study of religions and structure an argument to express resolutions to the questions critically and analytically.
- Read and interpret a range of different sources for the study of religions within their historical, social and theoretical contexts and be able to differentiate primary from secondary sources.
- Engage and draw on an understanding of religious traditions and cultures to inform the approach taken when dealing with views different from one's own;
- Analyse and explain how cultural assumptions impact on the interpretation of religions;
- Express clearly ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing and in electronic media;
- Develop oral presentation and participation skills during seminars and group-work, and in written form through essays.
- Collaborate efficiently and productively with others in the process of learning and presenting conclusions - this includes those with a range of backgrounds and knowledge bases about religion, such as fellow-students, tutors and supervisors;
- Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable;
- Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods and theoretical considerations relevant to Religious Studies; and
- Work independently on the creation of essays using the standards current in the academic field of Religious Studies.
|Course organiser||Dr Naomi Appleton
Tel: (0131 6)50 8976
|Course secretary||Ms Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900