Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality





CSP 638W                                                                           Number of Credit Units: 1


Instructor: DREW DELLINGER        Instructor’s contact telephone number: (510) 653-4573


  Email address: 

Class Schedule: Fall 2003, 11/8-11/9


Course Description: The universe speaks to us, whispering stories of our origins, and science is one of the ways we pay attention. Students will explore the emergence of galaxies, stars, and life on Earth, as well as cultural implications of cosmology including art, education, ecology, and justice.


Course Objectives:


To provide an introduction and overview of the cosmology of science: the galactic story, the Earth story, the life story, and the human story.


            To explore the cosmological vision of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme.


To examine the cultural dimensions of cosmology, the root causes of the ecological crisis, and the role of cosmology in global transformation and struggles for justice.


5.       Course Requirements

Attendance, Readings, and Class Participation…….50%


Final Paper (4-5 pages)..……………………………50%

(Creative Projects are acceptable with 1-2 page papers)


Total Requirements ……………………….100%


List required reading The Universe Story, Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry


List recommended reading An additional book by Thomas Berry or Brian Swimme.


Outline of class themes, activities and assignments. Please indicate basic plan for each session, e.g. Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning. Follow-up papers/projects are due two weeks after completion of course.


Saturday Morning:

Introduction to cosmology

Einstein, Hubble, and the cosmological vision of 20th century science.

Images of the cosmos: a slideshow.

Discussion of The Universe Story, by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry.


Saturday Afternoon:

Culture and cosmology

Ecocide, extinction, and the end of the Cenozoic period.

Writing exercise: “Dear Human,”

Core reasons for ecocide

Key insights of Thomas Berry and Teilhard de Chardin

Four sources of wisdom


Sunday Morning

The Great Work

Discussion of The Universe Story, cont.

Discussion of final papers and writing

The cosmology of justice




Papers are to be 4-5 pages, and not much longer. Students should strive for clarity, concision, and craft. Lively, descriptive, personal, or poetic writing is acceptable; disorganization is not. Papers should be outlined before writing. The main points and the structure (i.e. intro, body, conclusion) should be clear for the reader. Attention should be paid to crafting smooth transitions between paragraphs. Papers should use a consistent citation style, and be proofread. Building from the essential foundation of clarity, we enable creativity, fun, and beauty to emerge. Creative projects with 1-2 page papers are also acceptable.