Courses

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  • CAS RN 243: Shamans and Shamanism
    Shamans in global and theoretical perspectives. The origins and construction of the category of shamanism. Modern theories and debates about the category and the appropriateness of applying it cross-culturally. Also offered as CAS AN 243.
  • CAS RN 245: Religious Thought: The Quest for God and the Good
    Introduction to religious thought, exploring the aims of human life, the place of God in the good life, and the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Bible, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Augustine, Maimonides, Ghazzali.
  • CAS RN 301: Varieties of Early Christianity
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing. At least one prior course in biblical or New Testament literature recommended.
    Surveys the many different and often competing forms of Christianity that arose and flourished in the second to the seventh century, from the "apostolic period" to the Arab conquest in the Middle East.
  • CAS RN 307: Medieval Christianity
    Explores Christian beliefs and practices in medieval Europe within and outside formal church structures. Topics include accommodation of pagan culture, constructing identity, clerical and lay piety, heterodox practice and institutional response, and encounter with non-Christian traditions.
  • CAS RN 308: The Open Heaven: Apocalyptic Literature in Early Judaism and Christianity
    Examines literary and historical roots of "apocalypticism" in early Judaism and Christianity. Attention to literary genre, symbolism, metaphor, heaven, hell, angelology, demonology, attitudes toward the end of the world. Examines relationship of apocalypticism to shamanism, mysticism, magic, gnosticism, liturgy.
  • CAS RN 309: Theology and Piety in Catholic Christianity
    Roman Catholic Theology, tradition and piety, with additional reference to the Orthodox Churches and to the Anglican Communion. Dogmas, a sacramental view of reality, a vision of human nature, forms of devout life. Catholic inspiration in art and music.
  • CAS RN 310: Christendom Divided: Reformation and Religious Conflict in Early Modern Europe
    Religious change in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the origins and causes of the Protestant Reformation; the Catholic Reformation; the resulting civil wars in the Germanies, France, and the Netherlands; pertinent aspects of Tudor and Stuart England. Also offered as CAS HI 209.
  • CAS RN 312: Buddhism in America
    The transplantation and transformation of Buddhism in the United States. Time period ranges from the eighteenth century to the present, but the emphasis is on contemporary developments, including the new Asian immigration, Jewish Buddhism, feminization, and engaged Buddhism.
  • CAS RN 314: Religious Thought in America
    Surveys many of the strategies that American religious thinkers have adopted for interpreting the cosmos, the social order and human experience, and the interaction of those strategies with broader currents of American culture. Also offered as CAS HI 308.
  • CAS RN 316: Modern Islam
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: one course in RN or PH, or CC101/102, or consent of instructor.
    Focuses on formations of Islam in colonial and postcolonial periods. How modernist and Islamist thinkers have negotiated the encounter between tradition and modernity.
  • CAS RN 317: Greek and Roman Religion
    Survey of ancient Greek and Roman religions and their development from earliest beginnings to the eclipse of paganism. Theories and practices of these religions, comparisons with other religions, and relationships to Judaism and Christianity.
  • CAS RN 318: Religion and American Foreign Policy
    Introduction to the historical roots and contemporary relevance of religion for American foreign policy. Uses conventional chronological approaches to explore key themes that illustrate the role of religion as input and object of American foreign policy. Also offered as CAS IR 318.
  • CAS RN 322: History of Judaism
    Major trends in post-biblical Judaism; academy and synagogue; Mishna and Talmud; Babylonian diaspora; medieval poetry, philosophy, and mysticism; codes of law; organization of the Jewish community "in exile", the land of Israel; Jewish, Islamic, and Christian civilizations.
  • CAS RN 323: Classical Jewish Thought
    Basic human and religious issues as they have been understood within the classical Jewish framework of God, the people of Israel, and Torah: good and evil, creation, the relationship of human beings to God and to one another.
  • CAS RN 324: Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
    Chronological exploration of rabbinic Judaism's major documents, using a modern scholarly anthology. The Mishnah; legal and legendary selections from the midrashim and both the Jerusalem and Palestinian Talmuds. Themes: monotheism, sin and atonement, heaven and hell, conceptions of gender, the impact of rabbinic texts on medieval and modern Judaism.
  • CAS RN 325: Jewish Mysticism I: Formative Traditions
    Analysis of the development of Jewish mysticism from the biblical to the early medieval era. Emphasis on the forms of mysticism--and the texts in which they are embedded--from the rabbinic era. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.
  • CAS RN 326: Jewish Mystical Movements and Modernization, 1492–2000
    Mysticism, spiritual, and social influences. Early modern, modern periods. Focus on "conservative" and "revolutionary" tendencies. 1492 and Iberian, German, Polish Jewry; leadership of "third generation" of survivors; Christian and Islamic influences; Kulturkampf precipitated by popularization of Kabbala, antinomianism, Hasidism, magic, science.
  • CAS RN 327: Jews and Christians in Italy: A Historical Perspective
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: enrollment in the Padua Language & Liberal Arts Program.
    A social history of the relationship between the Jewish and Christian communities in Italy, from early modern times to today. Fosters an understanding of this relationship in cultural, economic, social, and religious contexts. Includes site visits. Taught in Italian.
  • CAS RN 330: American Jewish Experiences
    Traces the achievements and reputations of Jews, shaped by stereotypes of wealth, power, intellect and sexuality. Students examine film, literature, art, popular music, attitudes towards Israel, religious practices, and intermarriage rates for evidence of changing trends.
  • CAS RN 331: Zionism and the State of Israel
    Introduction to the development of Jewish nationalism from its traditional and European origins through its culmination in the modern state of Israel. Readings from Zionist and Israeli literature on political, religious, and philosophical implications.