This course offers students a general introduction to six of the world’s major religions with a special focus on the way in which their specific laws and customs impact upon the behaviour of their adherents. The religions studied are Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Each week a specific practical theme will be traced across the six religions. The themes include sacred images; scriptural texts; ethics; the three life-cycle rituals of birth, death and marriage; food and clothing customs; the calendar; religious architecture and popular places of pilgrimage.
An objective, comparative approach will be taken and little prior knowledge of any religious tradition is required. A major focus of the course is the social relevance of religion in today’s society. Its aim is to deepen the student’s appreciation of the rich mosaic, which characterises the practical and legal dimensions of the world’s great religions.
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