Fall 2020 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course will focus on the relationship between magic, science and religion during the period of the Scientific Revolution, and will analyze the role played by each of these sets of ideas in early modern European culture and society. The focus on magical and occult beliefs will allow for a deeper understanding of the roots of modern science and religious theories and practices. Topics of the course will include: sociological, psychological, and anthropological roots of magic, science and religion; the medieval Christian roots of science and magic; the medieval Jewish roots of science and magic; the Kabbalah and the Golem; the rise of the Hermetic philosophy; Neoplatonism; the chemical philosophy; the occult philosophy in Elizabethan England - the role of Shakespeare; the role of gender in science, religion and magic; the rise and fall of witchcraft; the role of alchemy in Newtonian philosophy; magic and science in the Enlightenment - the Rosicrucian and Masonic movements.
Readings may be drawn from the following:
Carl Jung, "The Psychic Nature of Alchemical Work" (Handout)
C. Levi-Strauss, "The Sorcerer and His Magic" (Handout)
Betty Jo Dobbs, The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy (Handout)
Mircea Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible
Valerie Flint, The Rise of Magic in Medieval Europe
Gershom Scholem, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism
Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno & The Hermetic Tradition
Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age
Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution
Frances Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Students will be required to attend class regularly and keep current with the readings.
One research paper will be required. The paper could be suitable as a portfolio paper. Students may also have the option of doing a creative project.