Fear and Memory

FEAR AND MEMORY: RELIGIOUS AND ETHICAL PERSPECTIVES

HDS 2827

Professor M. Christian Green

Harvard Divinity School 

Spring 2006

Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00-11:30 (plus hour to be arranged)

Andover Hall, Room 103

 COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES

Memory has long been a topic in ethics, with Augustine’s Confessions being a prime example and reflective of earlier Greek and Roman antecedents. Fear has also been a topic in ethics, particularly in the ethics of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. The war, genocide, and other atrocities of the 20th century have spawned a variety of projects of memorialization and reconciliation. The more recent horror of September 11, 2001, and its political and ethical after-effects have highlighted the importance of fear and memory as topics for ethics. The first half of this course will examine the history of thought around fear and memory in philosophical, theological, and political ethics, as well as the emerging field of neuroethics in bioethics, as prelude to a consideration in the second half of contemporary writings by Paul Ricoeur, Miroslav Volf, Martha Nussbaum and others on fear and memory as topics of ethical inquiry.

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES AND READINGS

Week 1—INTRODUCTION

February 1—9/11 as Prelude to in Inquiry into Fear and Memory

  • Dr. Seuss, “What Was I Scared of?”
  • Tom Pyszczynski, “What Are We So Afraid Of? A Terror Management Theory Perspective on the Politics of Fear?”
  • Young-Ok Kim and William Schenck-Hamlin, “Reactions to 9/11 as a Function of Terror Management and Perspective Taking”
  • President’s Council on Bioethics, “Happy Souls,” Ch. 5 in Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness

NOTE:  These readings are optional, but they will be placed on reserve after class.

Week 2—ARISTOTLE AND AUGUSTINE

February 6—Aristotle on Courage, Fear, and Memory

  • Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics Bk. III, Chs. 1-9 (voluntary and involuntary, choice and deliberation, virtue of courage, vice of fear)
  • Aristotle, On Memory and Reminiscence.

February 8—Augustine on Memory and Time

  • Augustine, Confessions, Bks. 10-11 (memory and time) (Bk. XI is optional).

NOTE:  I will be using the translation of the unfortunately named R.S. Pine-Coffin (Someone actually chose to hyphenate these names?).  Garry Wills has his own translation in the book whose introduction is below and a new deluxe version of Wills’ translation of the complete Confessions was released by Penguin on January 31, 2006. 

  • Garry Wills, “Introduction,” in St. Augustine’s Memory, pp. 3-26.

Week 3—AQUINAS AND HOBBES

February 13—Aquinas on Fear, Fortitude, and Memory

Aquinas, Summa Theologica

  • I-II, Q. 41-44 (fear) (Q. 40 and 48 are recommended but optional.)
  • II-II, Q. 19-21 (fear, despair, and presumption)
  • II-II, Q. 123-27 (fortitude) (Q. 137-38 on perseverance and the opposed vices of effeminacy (!!!) and pertinacity are recommended but optional.)
  • II-II, Q. 49, a. 1 (memory)

February 15—Hobbes’ Politics of Fear the Leviathan State

  • Hobbes, Leviathan, Pt. I, Chs. 1, 6, 10-14; Pt. II, Chs. 17-18, 21

Week 4—FEAR OF GOD IN EARLY MODERN CHRISTIANITY

February 20     NO CLASS–PRESIDENT’S DAY!

February 22—The Puritan Sermons

  • John Bunyan.  A Treatise on the Fear of God.
  • Solomon Stoddard, “The Fear of Hell Restrains Men from Sin”
  • Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

NOTE:  If you wish to read this material before class to get a sense of the contents you can probably get away with reading just one.

Week 5—KIERKEGAARD’S EXISTENTIALISM

February 27— NO CLASS

March 1— Kierkegaard on Fear and Anxiety

  • Søren Kierkegaard.  The Concept of Anxiety.

Week 6— TWENTIETH-CENTURY REALISM AND EXISTENTIALISM

March 6— Mid-20th Century American Theological Ethical Realism

  • Paul Tillich.  The Courage to Be.
  • Reinhold Niebuhr.  Children of Darkness, Children of Light.

NOTE:  You may wish to pick just one of these to read.

March 8—Mid-20th Century Existentialist Psychologies

  • Rollo May.  The Meaning of Anxiety, Pt. I., Chs. 1, 3-7; Pt. III, Chs. 11-12.
  • Erich Fromm.  Escape from Freedom. Chs. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7.

NOTE:  You may wish to pick just one of these to read

Week 7—POLITICS OF FEAR AND MEMORY

March 13— Late-20th Century Neuropsychologies of Fear and Memory  

  • Marc Siegel.  False Alarm:  The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear,

Pts. I and III.

  • Daniel Schacter. The Seven Sins of Memory:  How the Mind Forgets and Remembers.
  • March 15— Politics of Fear

  • Corey Robin.  Fear:  The History of a Political Idea (Sections TBA)
  • Hannah Arendt. “Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government,” Ch. 13 in The Origins of Totalitarianism OR Totalitarianism: Part Three of the Origins of Totalitarianism  (NOTE:  The first Arendt reading listed here is on of four chapters in the second, larger work.)

Week 8—POLITICS AND LAWS OF FEAR AND MEMORY

March 20— Politics of Memory

  • Edward T. Linenthal, “Introduction,” “The Decision to Remember” (Ch.1), and “Conclusion,” in Preserving Memories: The Struggle to Create America’s Holocaust Museum

The following short news/editorial/journalistic articles will be distributed electronically or as hand-outs class the week before:

  • Marzynksi, Marian.  “Good Guilt in Germany,” Washington Post, May 28, 2005 (To be handed out in class the week before.)
  • Risen, Clay.  “Stone Cold:  Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial Fails Miserably” The New Republic, May 23, 2005.
  • Tiffany Jenkins, “Memorial Museums: Cabinets of Misery,” Spiked, May 19, 2005.

March 22— Fear, Disgust, Shame, Precautions, and the Law

  • Martha Nussbaum.  Hiding from Humanity, Chs. 2 and 4 (Chs. 6-7 optional).
  • Cass Sunstein.  Laws of Fear, Chs.1, 2, 4, 5, 9, and Concluding Note.

SPRING RECESS—March 25-April 2

Week 9—HERMENEUTICS OF MEMORY

April 3—On Memory and Recollection

  • Paul Ricoeur.  Memory, History, Forgetting, Pt. I.
  • 

April 5—The Historical Condition

  • Paul Ricoeur.  Memory, History, Forgetting, Pt. III.

Week 10—FEAR, MEMORY, AND RECONCILIATION

April 10—Theology of Memory

  • Miroslav Volf, Reconciled Memories.
  • Miroslav Volf, “Love’s Memory:  The Role of Memory in Contemporary Culture”

 

April 12—Memory and Reconciliation

  • Miroslav Volf, Reconciled Memories.
  • Miroslav Volf, “Love’s Memory: Redemptive Remembering” NOTE:  If Miroslav Volf’s new book on memory is released before this week, we will rush-order it and make it the primary reading. If not, we will work with Professor Volf’s recent articles and lectures on the topic

Week 11—ETHICS OF FEAR: TOWARD COURAGE AND FREEDOM

April 17—Theology and Fear

  • Forrester Church.  Freedom from Fear: Finding the Courage to Act, Love, and Be, Pt. I, Fear

April 19—Toward Courage and Freedom

  • Forrester Church.  Freedom from Fear: Finding the Courage to Act, Love, and Be, Pts. II and III (Courage and Freedom)

Week 12—ETHICS OF MEMORY: TOWARD HOPE AND REDEMPTION

April 24—Redeeming Memory

  • Flora Keshgegian.  Redeeming Memories: A Theology of Healing and Transformation, Section I.
  • Flora Keshgegian.  Redeeming Memories: A Theology of Healing and Transformation, Section II.

Week 13—CONCLUSION

NOTE:  These classes are being reserved at the end of the course to allow space for reflection on topics and themes that students would like to pursue in greater depth.  They may be themes that emerge from the course materials or other topics that, for one reason or another did not make it onto the syllabus.  One way that we might use the time is for student presentations or panels on these issues, and specifically presentations that might afford students to test out final paper topics and ideas.  We may also move these sessions to earlier points on the syllabus if particular issues emerge or we need an interlude.

May 1 

  • Possibility of student-led presentations and discussion.

May 3

  • Possibility of student-led presentations and discussion.
  • 

TEXTS AND RESOURCES

Books Available at the Bookstore for Purchase (“REQUIRED”)

Augustine.  Confessions.  R.S. Pine-Coffin, trans. (Penguin, 1961).

Solomon Stoddard.  The Fear of Hell Restrains Men from Sin (Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2003).

Jonathan Edwards.  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Christian Life Books, 2003).

Soren Kierkegaard.  The Concept of Anxiety (Princeton University Press, 1981).

Corey Robin.  Fear:  History of a Political Idea (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Paul Ricoeur.  Memory, History, Forgetting (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

F. Forrester Church.  Freedom from Fear: Finding the The Courage to Act, Love, and Be (St. Martins Griffin, 2005).

Flora A. Keshgegian.  Redeeming Memories: A Theology of Healing and Transformation (Abingdon, 2000).

Books Available at the Bookstore for Purchase (“RECOMMENDED”)

Paul Tillich. The Courage to Be (Yale University Press, 2000).

Reinhold Niebuhr. Children of Light and the Children of Darkness (Prentice Hall College Div, 1974).

Rollo May.  The Meaning of Anxiety (W.W. Norton, 1996).

Erich Fromm. Escape from Freedom (Owl Books, 1994).

Marc Siegel.  False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear (Wiley, 2005).

Daniel Schachter.  Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers (Houghton Mifflin, 2001).

Martha Nussbaum.  Hiding from Humanity:  Disgust, Shame, and the Law (Princeton University Press, 2005).

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