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Oriental Beliefs: Between Reason and Traditions

Université catholique de Louvain via edX

2 Reviews 148 students interested
Found in Religion
  • Provider edX
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate $50 Certificate Available
  • Effort 2-3 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 8 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

This course takes a journey through the world of beliefs as they have developed in a great variety of cultures, ranging from Ancient Egypt, the Near East to Central Asia, India, China, and the Far East. We will discuss where these beliefs, theories and practices originated from, how they were passed on over the ages and why some are still so central to large communities of believers across the world today, whether it be amongst Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists or Shintoists.

We'll be dealing with everything from gods and spirits, to angels and demons, to afterlife and the netherworld, as well as the great cycles of the universe and the tremendous power of lunar and solar eclipses. The interpretation of dreams and all sorts of magic and miraculous deeds will also be covered during this course.

Students will have the opportunity to travel extensively in time and space. The comparative, critical and contextualized approach of this course will allow for a valuable and thought-provoking experience.

We are a course team of about twenty-five specialists working at, or in close interaction with, the Department of Greek, Latin and Oriental Studies (GLOR) at the University of Louvain. We are all historians or philologists, all passionate about our respective fields of expertise, and all fully determined to help you as much as we can as we progress through this course. Most of all, we're looking forward to "meeting" you and to having lively discussions with you on the forums.

If you're curious about the cultures of this world, past and present, this course is definitely for you. Put your wings on and get ready to ride on our “GLOR-ious” dragon and to enjoy the whole adventure with us!

Syllabus

Week 1: Overall presentation

  • Modalities of course
  • Team
  • Geographical introduction 
  • Historical introduction

Week 2: Gods and Spirits

  • Nature in Japanese Daily Life
  • The Power of Chinese Hybrids
  • The Gods in Buddhism
  • Egyptian Gods, Cult Centres and the Cosmogony of Heliopolis

Week 3: Angels and Demons

  • Angels in the Hebrew Bible
  • Angels in Islam
  • Demons in Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Fighting the Demons in Egypt: from Texts to Religious Practices

Week 4: Netherworld and Afterlife

  • Concepts of Afterlife in Ancient Egypt
  • The Netherworld in Ancient Mesopotamia
  • The Netherworld in Ancient Anatolia and Iran
  • Underworld and Afterlife in Ancient Greek Epics 1: Tartarus/Erebus
  • Underworld and Afterlife in Ancient Greek Epics 2: Hades
  • Buddha, the Man Who Refuses to Talk About the Afterlife • Ancestor Worship in China

Week 5: Astrology and Heavenly Cycles

  • Eclipses: Beliefs and Theories in the Ancient World 1 - Superstitions
  • Eclipses: Beliefs and Theories in the Ancient World 2 - Theories
  • On World Cycles 1: The Great Year Doctrine in Antiquity
  • On World Cycles 2: The Great Year Doctrine in the Middle Ages
  • Arab Astrology in the Medieval Latin West
  • Astrology and Love in Romance Literatures

Week 6: Magic, Dreams and Miracles

  • The Miraculous Portrait of Jesus
  • The Science of the Letters
  • Alchemy throughout the Ages
  • The Varieties of Magic in Islam
  • Dreams and Meditation in Tibet
  • Forbidden Directions in Japan

Week 7: A Case Study

  • The Miracle of the Moving Muqattam Image

Week 8: Summing up

Taught by

Godefroid de Callataÿ, Johannes den Heijer, Kanako Goto, Marianne Michel, Sébastien Moureau, Andrea Schmidt, Jan Tavernier and Secondary Instructors

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Reviews for edX's Oriental Beliefs: Between Reason and Traditions
4.0 Based on 2 reviews

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  • 1
Karen C
4.0 a year ago
by Karen completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Enjoyable survey course, covering a broad range of interesting topics with a couple of deeper dives towards the end. It's arranged by topic - gods, angels, netherworld - rather than by culture or region, but cross-cultural comparisons and links are oddly lacking. Twenty-four instructors are involved; the great diversity of disciplines (archaeology, historical analysis, textual criticism) is briefly mentioned in the introduction, but only explicitly related to the material in the last three weeks. As a result, I found the course a bit thin initially, but the later material was very much worth sticking around for.

FMI see my personal blog post at https://sloopie72.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/demons-and-angels-and-gods-oh-my-mooc/

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Alyson C
4.0 2 years ago
by Alyson is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I enjoyed this course immensely however it is a lot of information to take in. I went slightly slower than recommended when taking it, which seemed to help with taking in all of the information provided. Very fascinating.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
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