Syllabus Update

Course Information

Limited Enrollment:
Dept Web Page:

Additional information/Expanded description:

Religion, Nonviolence, and the Meaning of Peace
William Werpehowski
Haverford College
Spring, 2010

Texts Available for Purchase (Tentative)

Gandhi, The Essential Writings of Mahatma Gandhi (Oxford, pb)
Washington, ed., Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Harper, pb)
Jones, Rufus Jones: Essential Writings (Orbis, pb)
Merton and Zahn, The Nonviolent Alternative (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, pb)
Ellsberg, ed., Dorothy Day: Selected Writings
Heschel, The Sabbath (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, pb)
Thich Nhat Hanh, Love in Action (Parallax, pb)

Course Requirements

Approximately 75-100 pages of reading assignments per week.

Attendance and participation in seminar discussions (20% of final grade).

Postings on Blackboard discussion board. Each student will post once per week. In 300 words or less, this post should critically respond to class readings for in advance of our discussion of them in seminar. (10%).

Two short papers of 5-6 pages. The instructor will suggest topics for your consideration, and no outside research for these essays is required or expected. One of these papers will be due before spring break, and the second following same (40%).

A longer essay, 12-15 pages, on a topic relevant to this course, and drawing on independent research. Students will be required to submit a statement of topic, outline, annotated bibliography, and at least some draft at selected times prior the end of classes (30%).

Tentative Syllabus

Week One. Introduction to the Course: A Case Study in Goodness
�Weapons of the Spirit� (documentary)
Philip Hallie, �From Cruelty to Goodness�

Part One: Gandhi, King, and the (Religious) Problem of Nonviolent Resistance

Weeks Two-Three. M. K. Gandhi, Satyagraha, and Swaraj
Gandhi, Essential Writings, selections
Orwell, �Reflections on Gandhi�
Niebuhr, �The Preservation of Moral Values in Politics�

Weeks Four-Five. M.L.King, Jr. and Nonviolent Struggle
Washington, ed., Testament of Hope, 5-20, 35-40, 231-245, 259-67, 289-328, 491-517
King, �Loving Your Enemies�
Malcolm X, brief selections (on King) from The End of White World Supremacy
Cone, Martin and Malcolm and America, 244-71

Part Two: Approaches to Holiness in the World

Week Six. The Quaker Vision of Rufus Jones
Jones, Essential Writings, selections

Week Seven. Works of Mercy �By Little and By Little:� Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker
Ellsberg, ed., Dorothy Day: Selected Writings, Introduction, 91-119, 261-80, 321-53, 187-203

Weeks Eight-Nine. Contemplation in a World of Action: Thomas Merton and Nonviolence
Merton and Zahn, The Nonviolent Alternative, selections
Merton, �The Root of War is Fear�
Merton, �Rain and the Rhinoceros�
Raboteau, �A Hidden Wholeness: Martin Luther King and Thomas Merton�

Week Ten. To Sanctify Time: Abraham Heschel on the Sabbath
Heschel, The Sabbath

Week Eleven. Interbeing and Nonviolence: Thich Nhat Hanh and Engaged Buddhism
Thich Nhat Hanh, Love in Action, Selections

Part Three: Peacebuilding and �Just War� in Contemporary Roman Catholicism

Week Twelve-Thirteen. An Emerging Peace Church?
Selections from Pacem in Terris, Gaudium et Spes, The Challenge of Peace, The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace, and from the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI

Week Fourteen. The Catholic Peacebuilding Movement
Readings TBA