Journeys Within and Without: The Theme of Journey and Quest in Religion and Literature

April 9, 2010

The Fourth Fay and Alfred C. Grosse Seminar on Religion and the Literary Arts
4/17/2010( 8:30:00 AM – 1:45:00 PM )
Northway Christian Church, Dallas

Stephanie Paulsell, Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School

St. Augustine once famously named restlessness as central to what it means to be human. “You have made us for yourself,” Augustine writes to God in his Confessions, “and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” In this course, we will explore how literary artists from many times and places have explored the deeply human, deeply religious enterprise that emerges from this restlessness—the enterprise of making journeys and embarking on quests. We will read and discuss excerpts from great journey narratives such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, Abraham and Sarah’s journey in Genesis, The Quest of the Holy Grail, Dante’s Inferno, Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Stephanie Paulsell is the Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School where she regularly teaches a course on the literature of journey and quest. Author of Honoring the Body: Meditations on a Christian Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2002) and editor of The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher (Eerdmans, 2001), she is at work on a commentary on the Song of Songs.
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