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 A&H 266 - Wisdom of the East – the religious traditions of Asia


​In this comprehensive introduction we will survey the history, core ideas and practices of the major Asian traditions, with a specific focus on the philosophical outlook behind each tradition. As the vast majority of the most well-known Asian traditions have their origins in India, most of our time will be spent examining Indian traditions. We will look closer at Hinduism and Buddhism, which are also discussed in the 100 level course World Religions, but we will also study two Indian traditions which are not part of the 100 level course – Jainism and Sikhism. Two classes within the course will focus on the philosophy and physiology of yoga (for which, if possible, we will participate in a yoga class at the Padma center in Middelburg). The last classes of the course will be spent discussing Daoism, which has its origins in China. Because all of the Eastern traditions discussed in this course are highly philosophical in nature, the course will appeal strongly to students interested in philosophy (particularly ethics, metaphysics and the philosophy of mind). Students interested in psychology will also find many dominant themes in the course of great interest, as particularly Buddhism has a highly refined outlook on psychological issues (for this reason, Buddhist ideas and techniques are increasingly used in therapy nowadays).







One of the following courses is required in order to take this course:

  • A&H 165 World Religions
  • A&H 166 The Bible in the Arts 

Additional information about entering the course

​Students without the required prerequisite but who are highly motivated to take the course and already have some background knowledge of Western philosophy and/or Asian religions may contact the instructor. Permission of the instructor should be gained before registering for the course. Some extra reading may be required in order to be able to participate.

Students who have taken AH 166 but not 165 may also be asked to do some extra reading to make up for the lack of background knowledge about Asian traditions. It is possible to take the course without AH 165, but in order to make the most sense of the material, 165 does serve as the best starting point.