The Search for Values in the Light of Western History and Religion is an interdisciplinary study of the ideas, beliefs, and cultural developments that have formed Western culture. The first two courses of the sequence are taken in the fall (Humanities 101) and spring (Humanities 102) semesters of the first year. In these courses, students examine original documents in translation from the history and literature of the Israelites, the Greeks, the Romans, and the early Christians. Selected texts from the Hebrew Bible are read and discussed in conjunction with the ideas and themes of Mesopotamian and Greek culture. Students study the Gospels and selected letters from the New Testament in conjunction with Hellenistic and Roman history, life, and thought.
In the third semester of the sequence, students trace the roles of biblical and classical heritages in the shaping of the values, character, and institutions of Western culture and its understanding of self and world.
To this end, they read and discuss selections from the works of philosophers, theologians, political theorists, scientists, and literary artists from the Renaissance to the present. Courses in the second year are organized by discipline or other theme. Choices include biology, classical studies, history, literature, music, philosophy, politics, and religious studies.