Meditation: East and West

REL835
Fall 2017
T 6:00-8:45p.m.
Area: 
Area IV
MDIV Requirements: 
Diversity
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

This seminar, just as easily named Christian Contemplative Practice, explores in a practical and theoretical manner the Christian tradition’s rich heritage of prayer complemented by selected meditation practices from Eastern religions. Also included is a unit on Buddhism within its own world-view

Background Expected: 

Willingness to engage in the practice element of the course and to fulfill the course requirements as well as the willingness to experiment with practices from other religious traditions: Zen sitting, chanting, ecstatic dancing, embodied practices working with breath, movement, or postures.

Course Requirements: 
  1. Reading of assigned texts
  2. One guided practice in class and one with a prayer partner or group as well as two additional private prayer periods per week minimum. (4 experiments with each practice)
  3. A written prayer journal, loose leaf format, to be turned (3) accounting for experience with guided             practices, periods with prayer partners, and personal prayer.
  4. One written book Review, 5‑7 pages, of a major treatment from the tradition on prayer.  Or a 5-7 page reflection/ response essay on Ulanov or Thurston focusing on the section(s) that were most evocative for you.  Identify the topic: describe how it answered a question for you; discuss its implications; identify further questions. Include material discussed in class relevant to this topic or essay. Due: mid-semester
  5. One Take Home Exam due Dec. 6th or 12th covering the theology and classical teachings on prayer and contemplation and Buddhist teachings and meditation practices. 
Basis of Evaluation: 

Evidence of having read and understood the texts based on class discussion. (20% of the grade)

The comprehensive quality of the mid-term Book Review. (40% of the grade)

The quality of the synthesis of the core teachings on Prayer and Meditation in the Take-Home Exam that          integrates readings, class presentations, and discussion, (40% of the grade)

Three sets of Journal entries (12 accounts each (4 per week) of practices minimum). These will not be graded, but the account and the practices themselves are required in order to receive credit for the course.

More than two unexcused absences will result in no credit for the course.