Designing Life REL 377 (Spring 2022)

Today there is much discussion of striking an appropriate work/life balance, finding happiness in life, and pursuing a life worth living. These are by no means new conversations. In fact, these questions have been of perennial and global interest. Situating ourselves historically in medieval Christian and Muslim worlds, and drawing on their theological and intellectual traditions, we invite you to discover how our medieval predecessors answered these questions. You will then apply these medieval lessons to designing their own lives in the 21st century. In the process, you will also discern the challenges and gaps in implementing lessons drawn from the past in a different religious culture and historical period. While mostly about the contents of Christian and Muslim understanding of a good human life, our journey inevitably involves a humanistic inquiry into the Christian and Muslim understanding of ‘designing’, ‘life’ (including afterlife and exemplary life), the ‘Middle Ages’ (therefore of Age, History, Time & Eternity), and finally what it means to be ‘IN’ an age such as the Middle Ages. Every study (aka class) with us usually involves conscientious reading of texts, and entail speaking from within the text, speaking with it, and speaking to/about it as well.