The Worldview of Thomas Berry: The Flourishing of the Earth Community

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Description

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About this course: Thomas Berry (1914-2009) was a historian of world religions and an early voice awakening moral sensibilities to the environmental crisis. He is known for articulating a “new story” of the universe that explores the implications of the evolutionary sciences and cultural traditions for creating a flourishing future. This course investigates Berry’s life and thought in relation to the Journey of the Universe project. It draws on his books, articles, and recorded lectures to examine such ideas as: the New Story, the Great Work, and the emerging Ecozoic era. The course explores Berry’s insights into cosmology as a context for locating the human in a dynamic unfolding unive…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Thomas Berry (1914-2009) was a historian of world religions and an early voice awakening moral sensibilities to the environmental crisis. He is known for articulating a “new story” of the universe that explores the implications of the evolutionary sciences and cultural traditions for creating a flourishing future. This course investigates Berry’s life and thought in relation to the Journey of the Universe project. It draws on his books, articles, and recorded lectures to examine such ideas as: the New Story, the Great Work, and the emerging Ecozoic era. The course explores Berry’s insights into cosmology as a context for locating the human in a dynamic unfolding universe and thus participating in the creative work of our times. In particular, we will examine Berry’s reflections on renewal and reform in the areas of ecology, economics, education, spirituality, and the arts. Course Rationale: Thomas Berry was an original, creative, and comprehensive thinker, especially regarding the critical nature of our global environmental crisis. His intellectual importance resides in his response to the ecological crisis by bringing together the humanities and science in an evolutionary narrative. In addition, he articulated the need for the moral participation of the world religions in addressing environmental issues. He came to this realization largely through his study of cosmologies embedded within religious traditions. Sensing the significance of these stories as “functional cosmologies” he explored the widespread influence that these stories transmitted through a tradition, for example, in rituals, ethics, and subsistence practices. Upcoming sessions May 8, 2017 - June 26, 2017 June 5, 2017 - July 24, 2017 July 3, 2017 - August 21, 2017 July 31, 2017 - September 18, 2017 August 28, 2017 - October 16, 2017 September 25, 2017 - November 13, 2017

Who is this class for: This course is introductory and aimed at an educated public, ranging from those with college education to those without. No prerequisite knowledge is needed - just an openness to learn about the complex development of the universe, Earth, and life. Within this epic story we will explore the role of humans given our present social and ecological challenges.

Created by:  Yale University
  • Taught by:  Mary Evelyn Tucker , Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar

    Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • Taught by:  John Grim, Senior Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar

    Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Basic Info Course 3 of 4 in the Journey of the Universe: A Story for Our Times Specialization Commitment 7 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.6 stars Average User Rating 4.6See what learners said Coursework

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Yale University For more than 300 years, Yale University has inspired the minds that inspire the world. Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale brings people and ideas together for positive impact around the globe. A research university that focuses on students and encourages learning as an essential way of life, Yale is a place for connection, creativity, and innovation among cultures and across disciplines.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Welcome to The Worldview of Thomas Berry: the Flourishing of the Earth Community
Learn what this course is about, who's teaching it, and other ways you can explore this topic. Meet and greet your peers as well!


1 video, 5 readings expand


  1. Reading: Course Description
  2. Video: Course Introduction
  3. Reading: Meet Your Instructional Team
  4. Discussion Prompt: Introduce yourself!
  5. Reading: Recommended Texts
  6. Reading: Books of Thomas Berry
  7. Reading: Additional Berry resources


Introduction - Thomas Berry as Cultural Historian
Mary Evelyn and John talk about their first encounters with Thomas Berry.


3 videos, 2 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: “Life and Thought: Introduction,” by J Grim and ME Tucker
  2. Video: Dialogue: Tucker and Grim, “The Worldview of Thomas Berry”
  3. Reading: Thomas Berry Website
  4. Video: “Thomas Berry Speaks,” filmed by Marty Ostrow
  5. Practice Quiz: Thomas Berry as a Cultural Historian
  6. Video: Brian Swimme's Thomas Berry intro
  7. Discussion Prompt: Discuss some of the early influences and struggles in Thomas Berry’s life and thought.

Graded: Introduction - Thomas Berry as Cultural Historian

WEEK 2


Thomas Berry’s Study of World Cultures and Religions
Thomas Berry was a scholar of Earth’s cultures; someone who inspired others to understand that the scientific story of the universe was a primary revelation, on the part with the world’s religions, and needing to be integrated with world’s cultures.


6 videos, 4 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Forum on Religion and Ecology
  2. Reading: Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community (Chapter 5)
  3. Video: Tucker and Grim, “Thomas Berry and the Encounter with World Religions.
  4. Reading: Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community (Chapter 6)
  5. Video: (Part 1) “The Universe and Religion” by Thomas Berry
  6. Video: (Part 2) “The Universe and Religion” by Thomas Berry
  7. Video: (Part 3) “The Universe and Religion” by Thomas Berry
  8. Video: (Part 4) “The Universe and Religion” by Thomas Berry
  9. Reading: Asian Art Highlights from Yale University Art Gallery
  10. Practice Quiz: Thomas Berry’s Study of World Cultures and Religions
  11. Video: Thomas Berry, a Scholar of World Cultures
  12. Discussion Prompt: Thomas expressed the need for dialogue between religious traditions and diverse cultures...

Graded: Thomas Berry’s Study of World Cultures and Religions

WEEK 3


Influence of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Learn how Pierre Teilhard de Chardin inspired Thomas Berry. Discover Special Relativity as a way of showing the omnipresence of the “within.”


3 videos, 3 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: “Teilhard in the Ecological Age,” by Thomas Berry, in Teilhard in the 21st Century. Edited by Arthur Fabel and Donald St John, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003
  2. Reading: Audio: Thomas Berry on Teilhard de Chardin at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, NYC.
  3. Reading: Teilhard Association Websites
  4. Video: (Part 1) Teilhard de Chardin in an Age of Ecology,” an interview of Thomas Berry with Jane Blewett
  5. Video: (Part 2) Teilhard de Chardin in an Age of Ecology,” an interview of Thomas Berry with Jane Blewett
  6. Practice Quiz: Teilhard de Chardin in the Age of Ecology
  7. Video: Teilhard de Chardin's influence on Berry's thoughts
  8. Discussion Prompt: Identify a major influence of Teilhard de Chardin on Berry

Graded: Influence of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

WEEK 4


“The New Story”
Thomas Berry’s Differentiation, Subjectivity, and Communion as the overall guidance the New Story provides for humanity.


3 videos, 3 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: "The New Story," by Thomas Berry, Teilhard Studies #1, Teilhard Association, Winter 1978.
  2. Video: (Part 1) “The New Story,” by Thomas Berry
  3. Video: (Part 2) “The New Story,” by Thomas Berry
  4. Reading: Chapter 1 from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  5. Reading: Journey of the Universe website
  6. Practice Quiz: Thomas Berry's New Story
  7. Video: Differentiation, Subjectivity, and Communion
  8. Discussion Prompt: Why does Thomas Berry think we need a New Story?

Graded: “The New Story”

WEEK 5


Cosmology and Ecology
Thomas Berry's notion of the human as being derivative of the Earth Community: a primary governing principle for moving into the ecological era.


3 videos, 4 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Reading: Chapter 2 in Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  2. Reading: Chapter 3 in Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  3. Video: “The Historical Mission of Our Time,” (Part I) by Thomas Berry
  4. Video: “The Historical Mission of Our Time,” (Part II) by Thomas Berry
  5. Reading: Chapter 12 in Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  6. Reading: The Age of Reptiles Mural at Yale Peabody Museum
  7. Practice Quiz: Cosmology and Ecology
  8. Video: Thomas Berry and the Earth Community
  9. Discussion Prompt: What is your "meadow experience"?

Graded: Cosmology and Ecology

WEEK 6


The Great Work and the Ecozoic Era



From a biological level, what is happening in our time is a recoding of Earth’s processes when natural selection is being overpowered by cultural selection, so that human decision has become geological in its reach. Thomas Berry summarized this by saying that the crucial task of our time is to reinvent the human species with the systems of Earth’s life by means of story and shared dream experience.


5 videos, 6 readings, 1 practice quiz expand


  1. Video: (Part 1) “Thomas Berry Speaks on ‘The Great Work’”
  2. Reading: Chapter 8 from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  3. Video: (Part 2) “Thomas Berry Speaks on ‘The Great Work’”
  4. Reading: Chapter 9 from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  5. Video: (Part 3) “Thomas Berry Speaks on ‘The Great Work’”
  6. Reading: Chapter 10 from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  7. Reading: Chapter 11 from Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community
  8. Reading: Emerging Earth Community
  9. Reading: Special Issue on The Great Work, (in Worldviews: Environment, Culture, and Religion)
  10. Practice Quiz: The Great Work of the Ecozoic Era
  11. Video: Reflections on Capacity From Marrakech - Catherine Martini
  12. Video: Brian Swimme on "The Great Work"
  13. Discussion Prompt: How does the “Great Work” capture affective reciprocity & engagement with Earth processes?

Graded: The Great Work and the Ecozoic Era
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