HUMS 411, Life Worth Living

Meeting Time: 
Varies per section

Course Description:

The Life Worth Living Program is an effort to revive critical discussion in universities and the broader culture about the most important question of our lives: What is a life worth living?

What does it mean for a life to go well? What would it look like for a life to be lived well? In short, what shape would a life worth living take? We will explore these questions through engagement with the lives and visions of founding figures from seven diverse traditions of imagining a good life: the Buddha, the Torah and the Hebrew prophetic and wisdom writers, Jesus of Nazareth, Muhammad, John Stuart Mill, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The course will also feature visiting lectures by contemporary individuals who understand their lives to be shaped by the traditions in question.

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Preregister here

Preference Selection opens on Friday, November 5 at 9:00 a.m.
Preference Selection closes on Thursday, November 11 at 5:00 p.m.
Decisions will be available by Tuesday, November 16 by 5:00 p.m.

Led by:

Professor Miroslav Volf is founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology at Yale Divinity School. His work focuses on a theology of forgiveness and non-violence, particularly theological understandings of work, the church, the Trinity, violence, reconciliation, and memory. His books include, among others, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World (2016), Do We Worship the Same God?: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Dialogue (2012), Allah: A Christian Response (2011), and A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor (2010). He holds a B.A. from the Evangelical-Theological Faculty in Osijek, Croatia, M.A. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his Dr. theol. and Dr. theol. habil. from the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Professor Ryan McAnnally-Linz is co-author, with Miroslav Volf, of Public Faith in Action: How to Think Critically, Engage Wisely, and Vote with Integrity (Brazos, June 2016) and author of various scholarly and popular articles on systematic theology, political theology, and humanities education in Modern TheologyThe Journal of ReligionSojourners, and other periodicals. He manages research for the Theology of Joy and the Good Life Project and co-teaches the Center’s Life Worth Living seminar. Ryan began working at the Center in 2009, as a Master student at Yale Divinity School (MAR 2010), and continued throughout his doctoral program (PhD, Religious Studies 2016), working on projects including A Public Faith and Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World.

Professor Matt Croasmun is Associate Research Scholar and Director of the Life Worth Living Program at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Lecturer of Divinity & Humanities at Yale University. With deep grounding in both the church and the academy, Matt brings to all of his work a passion for the intersection of the life of faith and the life of the mind. His main research interests lie in the Pauline Epistles, illuminated by various streams of contemporary philosophy of science, theological reflection, and critical theory. 

An advocate of interfaith dialogue, Matt has facilitated sacred text readings of the New Testament and Quran in partnership with local churches and mosques. He also serves as a faculty advisor for the Yale Humanist Community and the Life Worth Living Fellows.