Japanese Religions (RLST 235.3)

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This course provides a historical and thematic overview of the principal religious traditions of Japan. We will initially focus upon the practices, rituals, world-views, institutions, and teachings related to Buddhism and the worship of the indigenous gods (kami) in early and medieval Japan. Next, we will explore how the people of Japan, from early modern to contemporary times, share a common awareness of religion that provides worldly benefits. This course will therefore place a particular emphasis on the understanding of religion as it has been, and continues to be practiced in everyday life for individuals, families, communities, and the state. This means we must consider religion and culture not as abstract, monolithic and ahistorical phenomena, but as expressions of the social realm. Class readings will center on primary materials in English translation and selected secondary scholarship so that each student will consider for themselves the sectarian categories of Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, New Religions, and so forth.

Permission of the Department.


3 credit units RLST or 18 credit units at the university level.

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