Nature and the Divine in Myth, Literature, and Art
MET IS 350
Over time and throughout cultures, human understanding of a divine presence, of a god or gods, has been intimately connected to our relationship with nature. In some myths, the divine is thought to be inherent in the forces of nature; in others, God stands outside, controlling nature and passing that control to human beings. Still another world view suggests that humans, nature, and the divine are all one thing, as represented in metaphors such as the circle or web of life. This course introduces students to some of the world's mythic traditions, applying them to the enduring cultural issues surrounding humanity's relationship to nature and our role as stewards of the environment. We will follow a roughly chronological syllabus, with readings from the Bible and classical mythology through the writings of Emerson and modern works such as Ceremony by Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko. Students will also be exposed to visual art (including Celtic Christian and Native American design) and some film.