Dying, Death, & the Afterlife

Few ideas have stirred the human imagination as has the question of the end of life. This course examines visions of the process of dying and accounts of a possible second life from Judaism to Hinduism, Dante to Milarepa, The Wings of Desire to the Book of Mormon, offering a wide-ranging examination of pathways to the celestial afterworld. By examining the imaginative geography of the afterlife, students learn not only about the existential fear that lingers and grows as we age, but also about how we as a species have reconciled the facts of this life with our conceptions of justice, righteousness, divine reward, and deserved punishment. The material for this course ranges across the religious, philosophical, literary, sociological, and biological, encouraging students to examine how conceptions of death and the afterlife reflect back lived concerns and the struggle to live a life of meaning in our mortal coil. 

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