• Angels and Aliens: First-Year Seminar

    M. Dillon (see profile)
    Angels, Religions, Science--Social aspects, Popular culture, Science in popular culture
    Item Type:
    Religious studies, Comparative religion, Science and popular culture
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    Throughout recorded history, human beings have claimed to make contact with supernatural powers from beyond this world. In the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions these beings are known as angels. Angels play an enormously important role in these traditions. They help create the first human beings. They reveal sacred scriptures and help found religions. They procreate with women. They transport prophets and seers, like Muhammad or Enoch, through the heavens to receive secret wisdom. And these angels become warriors in the apocalypse, battling demons and helping to create a new earth. Since 1947, a new extra-terrestrial power has appeared in literature, film, comics and religious scripture: the alien. Abductees, artists, and religious visionaries claim that aliens perform all of the same actions historically attributed to angels. Aliens today found religions, transport humans to distant worlds, conduct genetic experiments, and, in films such as Independence Day, attempt to destroy human civilization. How do we make sense of these uncanny parallels? In this writing-intensive course, we will use the tools of comparative religions to understand the puzzling parallels between angels and aliens. Students will conduct close readings of scriptures from the ancient world and compare them with contemporary depictions of aliens in film, literature, and abductee reports. We will utilize historical, philosophical, and sociological methods to analyze this material.
    sample syllabus
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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