Origin Stories: Why is There Something & Not Nothing?

Since the dawn of consciousness, human beings have pondered the mystery of existence: Why is there something and not nothing? From this question, grounded in wonder and awe, flow the headwaters of many of the world’s religious, philosophic, and scientific traditions. Every society has an “origin” story that attempts to answer this question, and in so doing, situate humankind in the cosmos. This class will examine origin stories from around the world and through the ages: from the Hebrew Biblical story of Genesis to Pangu – a primordial being in Chinese mythology – to the Cherokee sky-world of Gälûñ’lätï, to our modern scientific origin story of the Big Bang and the birth of the universe 13.8 billion years ago. What do these stories have in common? What do they tell us about ourselves, and our place in the cosmos? We are all of us stardust, forged in the furnace of a distant stellar explosion. Or aren’t we?

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0