Course Description

Course Name

The Sanctity of Life: Selected Themes

Session: VRMS3122

Hours & Credits

3 Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Junior standing

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


This course examines the religious foundation of the idea that human life is ?sacred? and considers a wide range of historical and ethical issues associated with this central concept of Western thought. We will explore the meaning of the multi-faceted phrase ?sanctity of life,? including its implications for such ethical and legal concerns as conception, birth, and termination of life; human dignity and human rights; the quality of life; and social justice. Some of the issues considered will include bigotry and prejudice; economic and social injustice; euthanasia, infanticide, and suicide; genocide, holy war, jihad, terrorism, and violence; health care and health costs; human trafficking and slavery; martyrdom and self-martyrdom; social stratification; aging, death, disposal of the body; and the afterlife, especially in Dante?s Inferno. We will consider how ?life? is defined and described in different cultures at different times in history, and how religions have influenced these matters.

*Course content subject to change