Religions and the Modern World

Dec 2005

I highly recommend this class ! I think the negative reviews are a reflection of frustration and not terribly fair to what prof. taylor is trying to accomplish. If you read his book "Hiding" it is essentially in a nutshell what the class is about - new ways of looking and thinking about meaning that is hiding in multiple ways. I read the CULPA reviews before taking the class and reluctantly signed up since it was a requirement for religion majors. After a month I considered dropping the class because the reading was voluminous for a 3 point class and the existentialist lectures over my head. My pride would not let me quit, and I am the better for it. When the light went off and I finally got it, it was awesome ! Orgasmic bliss. When I finally undertood Hegel, it all came together and made sense. Prof. Taylor forced me to go beyond the limits I imposed on myself, and stretch my mind way out there. that is what the college experience should be, and to top it all I ended up with a very nice grade.

Dec 2005

Forget every other review. Take this class. If you are worried about your grade, take it pass/fail. You will learn. PERIOD. Mark C Taylor might be an "imposter" or a "fake philosopher" or a "capitalist intellectual" or whatever else you want to call him. But he knows his shit. He will lead you through 200 years of european philosophy. From Schelling to Derrida (including Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Durkheim, Darwin, Smith, and many more). Seriously, for your sake: TAKE THIS CLASS.

Dec 2005

Welcome to the world of philosophy, arrogence, stupidity and c's if you are very lucky. If this is what you expect of your Columbia experiance I highly reccomend Mark Taylor. He does not seem to want to teach you anything. He seems as if he would much rather be writing another book to add to his twenty others. Think about it. If the guy is spending that much time writing, how much time can he have to prep for class? you want to study religion take this class with someone else or take it last because afterwards, if you take it first, it will be the last religion class you take. And that be a shame becausethe department is loaded with scholers who actually are brilliant lecturers, whose intrest is not in murdering your GPA, but getting you to learn as much in how to think and infromation as possible. And FYI, I am a grad student. I took the class for R credit. My opinion is based much more on papers of the undergrad students I saw, and the final , which I took for fun . It was inpossible. I felt horrible for the class. Aviod this class at all costs.

Aug 2005

Mark Taylor has been given a national teaching award. This does not mean that teaching awards know everything, but it might suggest that Taylor has been helpful to his students. To say that he was helpful to me would be an understatement. Taylor is a cowboy and a nerd and most fundamentally, a passionate person who does not find answers to his own questions and yet continues to ask his questions nonetheless. He is inspiring as a teacher and as a middle-aged human being because he is so rife with enthusiasm that his body jerks when he talks, as if it cannot contain the existential energy arising within it. You will likely not get an A in his class. Get over it and figure out what's really important.

Jan 2005

Before taking this class, or any other with Prof. Taylor, ask yourself this question: Why are you here at Columbia? Are you here to get a truly amazing education that will challenge all of your pre- conceived notions and force you to challenge everything to come,, or are you here to get your 3.97 and coast through to get your MBA, MD, etc. If you answered the former, then you will love this course. It was by far the most challenging course I have ever taken, but every class was enlightening and challenging. The readings were challenging, and Prof. Taylor held us to a very high standard in every class, expecting us to be fully prepared with the readings. But the bottom line is that this class was incredible, and it was the only class that I've never cut. Granted, Prof Taylor can be a little bit arrogant at times, and he definitely uses the biggest words possible whenever he can, in order to impress himself mostly. But as far as I can tell (from googling him, etc) he is very very well respected in his field, and while this is not an excuse for his arrogance, it is a "reason." All in all though, as long as you kept up with the readings, and showed Prof Taylor that you were putting forth a good deal of effort, you will be rewarded appropriately. I know that this review is kind of full of hyperboles, but Prof Taylor is an absolutely incredible and amazing professor. Sorry for the lack of objectivity, I know that some people hated the course as much as I loved it. But if you truly have a passion for learning, and not just getting good grades and breezing through college, then this is the course and the professor you've been looking for.

Jan 2005

Best Prof ever!

Dec 2004

As a result of Mark Taylor and the thread of religion he pulled out of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, and Derrida--among many brilliant others--my life is forever changed. Though his lectures may seem scatterbrained on the surface (my dear friend called this class "edjacutainment" for Taylor's ejaculatory teaching style), they are, in fact, brilliant, focused, and thorough. He is a secular intellectual, so you won't find any real reverence for organized religions, but over the course of the semester you will see his humility in the face of the unknown, which, for a scholar like Taylor, is simply a placeholder for God. I wrestled with my own faith in this class and came to find peace with it through postmodern readings and Taylor's own apparent comfort with that sacred unknown that allows us to know what we know.

Apr 2004

Avoid this man at all costs. The Religion department changes the prof. on this class every semester, so do yourself a favor and wait a semester or even a year to take this with anyone else. Schorsch assigns books he seems to not have read, and doesn't check into the price of the books when he is assigning them. Had I not bought over half my books used from Amazon, I would have had to spend over twice as much on this class as I did on any other. While the readings are occasionally interesting, they are completely disconnected and useless. The class itself, in fact, has no coherent theme, the lectures are mostly summaries of the books with some discussion, and the essays are completely superfluous. The only thing that made this class bearable for me was a good TA, who admitted to me that she couldn't find any organization or theme to the course either, and that she and the other TA's had to talk Schorsch out of giving us a final. In her words, "what did he think he was going to test you on?" Schorsch is new in the religion department, he's actually a historian, and in my opinion he had no business teaching a class on Religions and the Modern World. This class was a waste of three credits which I could have used to take something interesting or useful.