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Spirituality and Nature in the Late Middle Ages
RELI 473
Spring 2009 not offered
Crosslisting: MDST 373

In premodern Europe, the Book of Nature was believed to be a supplement to God's Book of Scripture, a supplement available to everyone, even the underprivileged and illiterate. This course will examine a variety of medieval constructions of nature as reflective of the word of God, of landscape as a sacred language. We will begin in the 5th century with Augustine's first articulation of nature as God's book and end in the 15th century with European encounters with the New World, which catalyzed a schism between nature and God's word. This course is situated within contemporary developments in ecocriticism, the theoretical movement examining cultural constructions of nature in their social, religious, and political contexts. As such, we will juxtapose primary source readings from the Middle Ages with modern formulations of the experiential and spiritual aspects of nature. The medieval Book of Nature and its modern resonances will allow us to explore a variety of themes including analogies between natural and social order, whether one can know an objective nature apart from human values, the relationship between nature and nation, and nature's authority as a standard of goodness, beauty, and justice.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS RELI
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (RELI)

Last Updated on MAY-30-2024
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