Course Memo

The first part of this seminar (meant for the MA/MDIV level) will center around a careful reading of Richard Tarnas' The Passion of the Western Mind, a one-volume narrative intellectual history of the West which stresses the discovery, loss, and recovery of the concept of form; the goal is for you to attain a broad, synthetic understanding of the western intellectual tradition from its origins in ancient Greece to the present, and for you to critically ponder Tarnas' theory of the religious, cultural, philosophical, and archetypal dynamics that have shaped this history.
The second half will consist of an introduction to the thought of Charles Taylor, centered on major themes from his A Secular Age (and also from Sources of the Self); the goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the modern (“secular”) era that Tarnas introduces in Passion.
The requirements are regular attendance and two “synthetic” or “reflection” essays totaling 2500 words. [Auditors excluded]