NES 1923 - [FWS: Trees in Ancient Religion and Contemporary Thought]

Fall. Not offered: 2022-2023. Next offered: 2023-2024. 3 credits. Letter grades only.

First-Year Writing Seminar.

M. Westermayer.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam feature vibrant trees in their mythopoetics; without trees, these religions would look different. With the recent renaissance in tree studies, which shows that trees think and have agency, it is time to reexamine the histories of trees and their role in shaping human conceptions of regeneration, life/death, good/evil. In order to appreciate trees in both ancient and modern thought, students will study scriptural texts from antiquity and beyond, art, and contemporary writing on vegetal life from botanists, philosophers, and novelists. Students will write five essays, which will build upon each other; the essays both summarize our work but also forge new questions about the cumulative histories of mythic trees. We will also utilize Cornell's arboretum for a dynamic classroom experience.

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