Buddhism and Judaism: Online Course Videos

In this post I’ve uploaded two more videos for my World Religions philosophy course: Buddhism and Judaism.

symbols-judaism-buddhism-hinduism-taoism-christianity-islam

In my previous post I introduced the World Religions course that I’ve been teaching for a couple of years. I’ve restructured it and want to make the content available for motivated and self-directed readers to participate. I provided links to the first three videos:

Video Outline

The structure of these videos follows the pattern I established for the Hinduism video:

  • A vocabulary list that identifies the distinct terminology of the religion. These are the terms and concepts unique (usually) to the specific religion.
  • A set of questions to guide students through identifying how the religion describes the human predicament.
  • Another  set of questions about the religion’s solution to the human predicament.
  • A final set of questions that explore the religion’s conception of the supreme good, or higher life, that results from the pilgrimmage out of the human predicament.

In the three questions sets that track the structure of the analytical Model, I highlight a “challenge” question that appears on that module’s quiz. It requires a short paragraph response and so demands that the student access more insightful meaning than standard recall questions.

Buddhism and Judaism Videos

As I mentioned in my initial post, I’m publishing the key content so that any of my readers can lurk in the course. Just grab the course syllabus from my Faculty page and stay tuned for the remaining videos.

The Buddhism video covers the ideas, beliefs, and practices of “original” Buddhism, and points to four of the major sects or traditions within Buddhism as a whole: Theraveda, Mahayana, Zen, and Vajrayana, or Tantric. Here’s your guide to Buddhism:

I’ve also completed the video for Judaism. This one is a little longer for a couple of reasons. It is the first of the monotheistic and Western religions we cover. I’ve also learned from previous classes that prior knowledge of Christianity, whether the religion itself or the cultural markers familiar to those who are not on its quest, often distorts the comprehension and interpretation of Judaism. So at a couple of key points on the way I digress to raise these issues. As Barney Fife recommends, “Nip it in the bud!” So here’s your guide to Judaism:

I’ll be updating with two more videos as I complete the productions: Christianity and Islam. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get notified conveniently when those updates are posted.

Online Course Videos: World Religions

I’ve been in the process of updating my online course videos for the World Religions philosophy class this summer.

world-religion-solitary-monk

This post and the next few will give you everything you need to lurk in this Summer’s course! I’ve updated the video that goes over the analytical Model we use as a heuristic device to capture the key ideas and practices of each religion. I had intended this update to be shorter, but…alas. My excuse is the novelty of the Model and the assignments to which it is attached require a more thorough discussion to explain. I also included a lengthy section about how to define religion effectively so that we can distinguish the genuine article from pseudo or ersatz religions. Truth is, I enjoy talking about it!

Always Learning

I’ve taught the World Religions course about four times so far. This is the first semester I’ve implemented some much-needed updates to my approach. Whether in the traditional classroom setting or fully online, pedagogy is an iterative process: you experiment, test, and revise based on the successes and failures, the errors and omissions.

Starting this summer semester and going forward, I will be providing a broad overview of each religion in screencasts. The structure of these videos will be consistent and predictable:

  • A vocabulary list that identifies the distinct terminology of the religion. I need students to research and know these terms and concepts in order to “speak” the language the religion itself uses.
  • A set of questions to guide students through identifying how the religion describes the human predicament.
  • A set of questions about the religion’s solution to the human predicament.
  • A set of questions that explore the religion’s conception of the supreme good, or higher life, that results from the pilgrimmage out of the human predicament.

The Course is Open for You

I’ll be uploading each video on my blog so that these are available to anyone who’d like to lurk in the course. I think there’s enough content that you could work through the course by doing your own research into credible sources to answer the questions and compiling research notes. But if you’d really like to shadow the course, you can obtain our two texts.

huston-smith-world-religions

Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions is a classic text, eminently readable, and liberally sprinkled with erudite allusions that enrich his commentary. If I had to name one fault, I would say that it is probably too charitable in overlooking or brushing aside the rational and conceptual difficulties of each religion’s beliefs and practices. But that’s only a criticism that results from the use to which I’ve employed his book: it’s not a work of philosophy nor a philosophy of religion textbook. But its merits far outweigh this drawback, and besides, it’s my job to do the philosophical work with claims, concepts, and judgments.
philip-novak-world-religions

Philip Novak’s The World’s Wisdom is a collection of primary texts from each of the religions discussed in the Smith book. It is a natural and excellent companion to Smith and provides the critical element of primary texts that must be engaged if one is to hear and taste the language and, well, wisdom, of the religion. The selections are brief, arranged sensibly by topic, text type, and chronologically. Novak also includes a “Grace Notes” appendix to each of the core texts – these include non-canonical texts of the religion, important historical commentary from prominent figures in the religion, and more modern voices that establish a continuity of thought and experience with the primary texts.

You can grab the course syllabus from my Faculty page for now. Once the semester is over I’ll be uploading here on the blog as well as to my Academia.edu site.

The Videos

Here are the course videos currently available.

You can start with the semester introduction:

Defining religion and introduction to the analytical Model:

And lastly, the overview of Hinduism, our first religion:

I’ll be updating with additional religions as I complete the productions, so stay tuned for these upcoming posts on Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In the Fall semester, I’ll add Taoism and Confucianism, too. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get notified conveniently when those updates are posted.

Philosophy Periscope

The Periscope app, that is. I’m experimenting with this live broadcast app as a tool for going over course content each week, reviewing previous work, and holding Q&A sessions. I need to tweak settings for capturing comments as they come in, but overall I think this will enhance the experience of an online course and distance learning. I’m posting them on Youtube so that anyone can replay a broadcast. I’d be glad to hear from anyone who’s had experience with this as a tool in education, suggestions for best practices, and so on. Post a comment or send me a message with your tips, observations, etc.

Introduction to Ethics – Week 1

Course overview, syllabus, assignments, close reading and annotations. Link.

World Religions – Week 1

Course overview. Link