REL 208

Yoga and the Ascetic Imperative

This course investigates and attempts to distinguish, identify, and understand the different modes and aspects of yoga, meditation, and ascetic disciplines in a variety of cultural contexts. The class examines the broad influence of the ascetic imperative in culture and criticism - in myth, literature, philosophy, religion, and psychology. Primary texts include Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Plato's Symposium, and Athanasius's Life of Anthony. Major interpretive authors studied include Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, and Foucault.