Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark

University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Religious Studies (RL ST)

RL ST 103 (GH;US;IL) Introduction to Hinduism (3) Historical development of Hinduism to the present.

RL ST (ASIA) 103 Introduction to Hinduism (3)
(GH;US;IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

This course provides a historical overview of the development of ideas that provide the foundation of the south Asian religious culture. The course begins with a discussion of the Vedic ritual tradition, tracing the emergence of the idea of civic responsibility or Dharma. It then proceeds to analyze how the Vedic ritual tradition may have given rise to the philosophical concepts like that of Karma or (individual action and its underlying motives), Samsara (the cyclical view of life), and the Atman (nature of the individual) during the Upanishadic/Vedantic era. The first half of the course concludes with selected readings from the Bhagavadgita, and the Mahabharata. The readings will all be in English. Class discussions focus on how the classical Hindu worldview may have emerged from the philosophical foundation of the Upanishads, and later built the groundwork for the Hindu devotional Bhakti tradition. The second half of the course focuses on the various regional or little traditions from the middle ages analyzing how the local religious cultures (both in the Hindi and non-Hindi speaking areas) may have played out against the great classical Brahmanic tradition. The course concludes with a discussion of how Hinduism has been historically influenced by other religious cultures (both indigenous and foreign) like Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Christianity.


General Education: GH
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures and Humanities
Effective: Summer 2005 Ending: Fall 2014

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.