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Title: HUM 201-12, The Search for Values in Light of Western History and Religion, 2004 Fall
Authors: Tolero, Maria
Keywords: Humanities;Syllabus;Curriculum;Academic departments;Text;2004 Fall
Issue Date: 22-Aug-2004
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Abstract: Though our readings will begin near the final days of the Roman Empire, this course is in many ways about the emergence of the modern world, as that showed itself in philosophy, literature, visual art, religion and politics. The sacking of Rome (410 and 485 A.D.) and the occupation of the Roman Empire by the Germanic peoples (the so-called "Barbarian Migrations") marked the end of the millenium of Greek and Greek-inspired civilization in Europe. The initial result of this change was a general disappearance of advanced culture in Europe (the so-called "Dark Ages"). These changes corresponded with the rise of Christianity in Europe, and our study will begin with a consideration of the "Rule" of St. Benedict (from around 500 A.D.), probably the most important document for the founding of Christianing monastic culture in this period. It was not until the 1100s that there was a substantial resurgence of a flourishing culture in Europe, and as representatives of this period (the "High Middle Ages") we will study the philosophical writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, who remains probably the most important philosopher within the Catholic Church, and the Inferno from Dante's Divine Comedy, one of the greatest literary works of Western culture. Aquinas's works seek to unite the teachings of Christianity with the insights of the ancient Greek philosophers. Dante's poem is very much rooted in this same comprehensive vision of human life. The culture that was emerging at this time, however, was revolutionary, and soon rejected this Christian vision and the attempt to retain ancient Greek philosophical ideas. With Machiavelli we see the spirit of a new world--the modern world--bursting onto the scene. This new world is the world of the scientific revolution, of capitalism and ultimately of democratic government. With Machiavelli, and then in Luther, Hobbes and Kant, we will witness the birth of this world and then its development through various internal conflicts. In general, our study of these materials is designed with the intention of facilitating contact with the most impressive, most valuable and most insightful ideas that people have had in the past, and making sure that those ideas continue to live on, nourishing people and helping them to live their lives. Specifically, this is a philosophical approach to this goal. We will look at ideas that offer philosophical challenges to the way we live and offer philosophical arguments for different ways of seeing reality.
Description: This syllabus was submitted to the Rhodes College Office of Academic Affairs by the course instructor.
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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