AMP: Scriptures and Cultural Traditions: Text & Traditions


Certain books, "sacred scriptures," shape U.S. society and culture in powerful and complex ways. Many religious communities believe that Scriptures are ancient texts that are ever-flowing sources of timeless truths. Often the truths advanced by one faith conflict with those to which another subscribes, and one of the great challenges that the human community faces involves reconciling these conflicting messages and learning to respect the faiths of others. Some religious movements, of which Mormonism has been the most prominent example, have claimed to have uncovered or revealed new scriptures as a means of explaining their cultural authority. This course will therefore consist of three parts. First, we will describe how the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian New Testament informed and were used in the English settlement of North America and the creation of the United States. Second, we will track how scriptural motifs helped to define the United States through the nineteenth century, and how new religious groups created their own scriptures. Third, we will discuss the uses of scripture in popular culture from the mid-twentieth-century to the present, with particular attention to the presentation of scripture in popular culture and politics.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Eth; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM