Wilfrid Laurier University
Religion and Culture
RE103OC: Love and its
“Do you have someone to love? We all want to love and be loved. If you do not
have anyone to love, your heart may dry up. Love brings happiness to
ourselves and to the ones we love...” – Thich Nhat Hanh 1997
Course Director: Marybeth White
Course Description: Welcome to RE103OC, “Love and its Myths.” This course is an
enquiry into the mythologies of relationship, which inform today's attitudes towards
loving. This course will introduce you to the field of religious studies, specifically to the
function of myth and the role of religion in informing cultural understandings of love.
Topics include: the theories and function of myth, understandings of love in
Aboriginal, Neo-Pagan, ancient Greek, medieval Europe, Hindu, Judaic, Christian,
Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Islam cultural and religious traditions. Themes found in the
course are marriage, romantic love, friendship, filial love, and unconditional love.
By the end of this course students should be able to:
•List different types of love (i.e. romantic, agape, metta) and provide a
short description of each
•Explain how myth is studied and used in various contexts and communities.
•Describe the connection between myths, human consciousness, and
•Compare and contrast the nature and purpose of mythic accounts or
traditional stories of what love is, what it is for, and how it works
•Explain some of the problems in thinking about love only in terms of a
feeling, emotion, or physical relationship with a significant other
•Analyze how practitioners of different religious traditions articulate their
understanding of love and apply their notion of love in their everyday
•Explain the different between contextual and allegorical approaches to
•List and define various religious studies concepts such as
eschatology, soteriological, and dualism
•Compare and contrast the role that women’s bodies play in concepts of love
Required Course Materials:
•Nhat Hanh, Thich. (1997). A True Love. Boston: Shambhala
•Von Goethe, Johann. (2012). The Sorrows of Young Werther. Translator
David Constantine. London: Oxford.
•Plato. (1999). Symposium. Translator Christopher Gill. London: Penguin.
•Online Course Reserves available through My Learning Space [ARES]
•NOTE: Books may be purchased through the WLU bookstore, in person or
online. If purchasing books through other vendors it is highly recommended