Courses

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  • 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 329: Modern Jewish Thought
    Reading Jewish thinkers from the radical Enlightenment to twentieth century existentialism and Zionism, this course introduces some of the great philosophical debates on religion and secularism, revelation and scientific reason, and ethnic particularism and universal ethics.
  • 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 334: Dead Sea Scrolls
    Examination of the ancient Hebrew documents discovered in the Judean desert. Their authorship; the theological significance of the Scrolls; their relations to Ancient Judaism and early Christianity; the controversy over their release and publication.
  • CAS RN 337: Gender and Judaism
    Explores the role of gender and sexuality in Judaism and Jewish experience, historically and in the present. Subjects include constructions of masculinity and femininity, attitudes toward (and uses of) the body and sexuality, gendered nature of religious practice and authority.
  • CAS RN 338: Mysticism and Philosophy: Jewish and Islamic Perspectives
    Thematic introduction to mysticism and philosophy, with a focus on dynamics of religious experience. Readings from medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy; Sufi mysticism and philosophy; Kabbalah, Biblical interpretation, Sufi poetry, Hebrew poetry from the Golden Age of Muslim Spain.
  • CAS RN 339: The Modern Jew
    Explores Jewish modernity through attitudes toward place (migration, diaspora, land of Israel) and history (utopian, pragmatic, secular, religious), as well as individual and collective modes of Jewish self- expression, including literature, art, music, and film. Credit toward minor in Jewish Studies and major/minor in Religion.
  • CAS RN 340: The Quran
    The emergence of the Quran as a major religious text, its structure and literary features, and its principal themes and places within the religious and intellectual life of the Muslim community.
  • CAS RN 341: Islamic Mysticism: Sufism
    Rise and development of the mystical movement in early Islam; analysis of the thought of leading Sufi brotherhoods, their organization, liturgy, and religious life; the impact of Sufism on classical and postclassical Islam.
  • CAS RN 345: Islamic Law
    A survey of major trends in Islamic jurisprudence from the seventh century to the present; the structure of Islamic law, its regulative principles, its place in Islamic society, and the mechanisms by which it is elaborated and applied.
  • CAS RN 348: Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
    Introduction to the Persian Sufi poet Rumi's narrative and lyric writings. Beginning with an introduction to Islamic mysticism, studies the innovative aspects of Rumi's poetry and the problem of profane vs. sacred love. All readings in English translation. Also offered as CAS LZ 281.
  • CAS RN 360: Daoist Religion
    A historical survey of the Daoist traditions in China. The philosophy of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu and Han dynasty religion. Early Daoist movements, as well as the heyday of the religion in the Six Dynasties and the Tang. Modern Daoism as it was first formed in the Tang dynasty is also discussed.
  • CAS RN 361: Confucian Religion
    Religious aspects of Confucianism, with attention to the Analects. Topics include ceremony, song and poetry, morality and sagehood, ancestral sacrifice; establishment of Confucianism as state religion; role of women; and modernity. Also offered as CAS LC 280.
  • CAS RN 363: Zen Buddhism
    A study of Zen teachings and practices as a sect of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, as a philosophic system, and as a pattern of culture.